It is almost impossible to think of Orlando without Central Florida’s ubiquitous theme parks coming immediately to mind. There is much more to experience here than Disney and Universal, however, and with cooling weather accompanying the arrival of September, fall is a great time to visit the Villas at Regal Palms and sample Orlando’s lesser known – but no less fun – attractions. Book a stay today!
Here are 10 of our fall favorites for your consideration.
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY’S DISNEY WILDERNESS PRESERVE
This 11,000-acre property is home to more than a thousand species of native flora and fauna. A 2.5-mile trail allows visitors to explore, learn and experience natural Central Florida, making for a lovely, serene break from the frenetic pace and scenery at the parks. Special note: Trails here are open but limited due to high water in some places due to Hurricane Irma.
ORLANDO WATERSPORTS COMPLEX
Wakeboarding, paddleboarding and the area’s very first Aquapark – a wonderland of bouncy, floating inflatables on which to climb and play – are all on tap at the Orlando Watersports Complex. Wakeboarding – an amalgam of surfing, waterskiing and snowboarding – is an enticing and potentially high-adrenaline way to pass time in the Florida sun. Visitors of all ages are sure to enjoy the color and bounce of the Aquapark.
CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDENS
From goats at the petting zoo to the super cool insect zoo (your enthusiasm will depend on your comfort level with creepy-crawlies), this Sanford Zoo is home to more than 500 animals representing roughly 200 species, including elephants, llamas, cheetah, apes and a whole house full of reptiles. Active visitors may want to take a turn on the onsite aerial adventure course, and everyone enjoys the weekend Keeper Chats. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about the zoo’s colorful, beautiful residents?
CENTRAL FLORIDA OKTOBERFEST
This authentic German festival has gotten so popular over the years that the German American Society of Central Florida has had to start selling tickets to keep the place from overcrowding. With two October weekends in which to get your oompah on, this resplendent celebration of German beer, food and music is family friendly, festive and a great way to usher in the start of fall.
WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK
Explore Florida’s natural beauty at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Hike through wild, diverse ecosystems, paddle the famous Wekiwa River or camp beneath the stars. Wekiwa Springs offers nature lovers the opportunity to experience a part of Florida that is all too quickly vanishing. Be sure to bring your picture taking device to capture images of the wild turkey, black bear, deer and many species of birds that call this park home. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent, and guided tours are available. Those interested in exploring the area on horseback may do so on weekends.
COWS `N’ CABS
This annual Winter Park food and wine festival features gourmet fare along with fine wine, craft beer and cocktails from more than 25 locally lauded restaurants. Held in the West Meadow of the city’s resplendent Central Park, the event features live music and fosters a sense of community that brings everyone together. And who can resist the tantalizing aromas that fill the air? All proceeds from this event benefit local charities.
REVOLUTION OFF ROAD
If you think theme parks are all there is to do in Central Florida, not only are you sadly mistaken, you’re way overdue to get outside and see what locals enjoy all year long. Revolution Off Road has the ATV adventure to suit every rider level. You’ll get dirty, you’ll laugh, and you’ll breathe fresh air over acres and acres of beautiful natural-Florida landscape. If rough riding isn’t your cup of tea, Revolution has loads of other pursuits to pursue, including archery, clay shooting and fishing.
LONG & SCOTT FARMS
Sure, the December holidays are great but why skip the fall harvest?! The folks at Long & Scott Farms have been growing since 1963, and its charming Country Market sells Zellwood Sweet Gourmet Corn, crisp Kirby cakes and other local produce. They are probably best known for their amazing annual corn maze, open every weekend in the fall. Admission includes the six-acre maze, one-acre mini maze (super fun for kids!) and access to the kids’ zipline, rock maze, cooling mist maze, a playground and covered picnic areas. Lots of vendors are on hand with eats, refreshments and of course hot buttered corn.
COME OUT WITH PRIDE ORLANDO
Come Out With Pride, Inc. is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization inspired to make an impact in Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community. Celebrated in October and featuring an all-day festival and a downtown parade, Come Out With Pride welcomes everyone from Central Florida and beyond to come together and #KeepDancingOrlando!
EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
Arriving like clockwork with the fall holiday calendar, Walt Disney World’s renowned Epcot International Food & Wine Festival brings the foodies out in full force. Why? How about tens of international food and beverage marketplaces from which to sample? How about a concert series with nightly performances by popular acts? How about an array of culinary demonstrations and beverage seminars by celebrity chefs and TV personalities? Best yet, it’s all included in the regular admission price to Epcot!