By Lea Griffin
Lea is a flight attendant and travel enthusiast.
No more coats. No more cold. It’s time for spring break; an annual event when you throw off your winter wear and prepare to soak in some Vitamin D for the first time since September. Everyone’s ready for that most welcome change of season. After all, you’ve shoveled and salted and scraped ice off every conceivable surface. Not to mention the amount of lip balm you’ve used. You deserve to enjoy your Orlando vacation and to help you do that, here’s a list of activities that will help you make the most of the Florida weather.
1. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Located at the Walt Disney World park of the eponymous name, these floral displays boast exquisitely designed topiaries designed to look like your favorite Disney characters, some of which illuminate in the evenings. The garden’s visitors can also sample a variety of seasonal dishes and check out the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Keep the young and young-at-heart engaged with such attractions as Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House and Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden.
2. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
This national park is located about an hour and a half outside of Orlando. Although there are parks closer to where you’re staying, Crystal River is the only park in the state of Florida where visitors can legally swim with the manatees. Swim with those big grey blobby things? Yes, because underneath those barnacle encrusted exteriors are hearts of gold. Give the playful, gentle manatees a chance to charm and delight as they have so many times before. Got some more timid members of the family? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of viewing platforms that require no swimming at all.
3. Harry P. Leu Gardens
Now I know you’ve already been sent to a garden festival, but these gardens have something that the festival at Disney does not: peace and quiet. Not to mention at $10 for adults and $3 for kids it’s distinctly lacking the wonderful theme park pricing. Take the time to stroll quietly through the rose and herb gardens, or learn something new at the Leu House Museum. If you visit the gardens on the right days, you may even be able to attend Date Night Movie or Story Time.
4. Enjoy a Rainstorm
…in your lovely room at Vista Cay Probably not the advice most visitors would get when visiting a new city, but there’s a good chance that while in Florida, you may be present for one of those spring rain storms. So get cozy and enjoy not having to go anywhere or do anything at all. Don’t worry about missing a day that could have been spent exploring something new. On the contrary, staying in and resting for one day will increase your enjoyment of all these outdoor activities.
5. Visit Lake Eola
If you want to make the most of your trip to the downtown Orlando area, I recommend going on a Sunday. You can enjoy an excellent brunch at one of the many restaurants in the area before making your way over to the Orlando Farmers’ Market. Held in Lake Eola Park every Sunday from 10am until 4pm, this outdoor market boast not only seasonal fresh produce, but prepared foods, a beer and wine garden, and handmade crafts sold by multiple vendors. After you’ve had your fill of food and drink, you can venture out onto the lake in a swan shaped paddle boat big enough to fit the whole family.
Whatever activities you decide to pursue this spring, don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen. Wherever you’re from, chances are it’s further away from the equator than Florida. So don’t just stick with that initial coat. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than lack of sleep because of sun blistered skin covered in aloe. Enjoy your spring into better weather!