Kissimmee, Florida is the perfect destination in central Florida for any family looking for thrill seeking amusement parks and sunny days spent out on the lake.
Kissimmee is located near Orlando, and has many thrill-seeking adventures and amusement parks right in town, so it’s a great getaway for those looking to ride roller coasters at their favorite theme parks.
It’s also a wonderful destination for those looking to enjoy water activities. While Kissimmee may not be on the coast of Florida, it does sit along the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga and was named for the Kissimmee River, which is the northernmost headwaters of the Florida Everglades.
Ready to learn more? Keep reading to learn the best things to do in Kissimmee, Florida!
CENTRAL TO THE SOUTH’S BEST THEME PARKS
If you’re looking for a family-friendly theme park to visit outside of Disney, head just a little ways outside of Orlando to one of central Florida’s best theme parks, LEGOLAND.
As I’m sure you can imagine by the name, LEGOLAND is a popular amusement park located near Kissimmee that features all things LEGO. This interactive branch of theme parks has over 50 rides, attractions, and live shows to enjoy every single day of the week.
It’s the perfect spot for families with young kids who want an even more interactive experience with their favorite toy.
Universal Studios Orlando has been an amusement park staple since the early 90s, and is just a short drive away from Kissimmee FL! This theme park features tons of rides and attractions, all themed to your favorite movies, television shows, and other aspects of the entertainment industry.
Seeing over 20 million visitors a year as Universal’s flagship location, it is one of the most visited resorts in the world, and for good reason! Universal Orlando features two main theme park areas, Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure. The parks feature rides from your favorite Universal films, such as Harry Potter, Transformers, and Jurassic World.
NEW IN 2023! Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast will be opening summer 2023 at Universal Studios Florida. The new attraction will combine innovative screen technology, state-of-the-art gaming interactivity and elaborate physical sets to create a one-of-a-kind, game-based adventure where guests encounter immersive environments, nefarious villains and tons of mischievous Minions from Illumination’s blockbuster film franchise.
In addition to the park rides, you’ll also find as well Volcano Bay waterpark, a nightlife area called Universal CityWalk, and many hotels, resorts, and entertainment opportunities.
WALT DISNEY WORLD
Walt Disney World is one of the largest and most visited amusement parks in the world. It is located right outside Kissimmee in Orlando, Florida. This 40-square mile theme park features four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, as well as two waterparks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
When you’re starving from a full day of riding rides, be sure to stop by Disney Springs, Disney’s shopping and dining entertainment complex. If you love sports, be sure to visit ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex or one of the five golf courses in Walt Disney World. Be sure to plan to spend at least a couple of days at Walt Disney World so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
To learn more about the ocean around you, make a visit to SeaWorld Orlando! SeaWorld is a unique zoological-themed amusement park located in Orlando, Florida. It is part of an entertainment district with two other neighboring theme parks: Discovery Cove and Aquatica.
While all three are certainly worth a visit, SeaWorld is known for their incredible marine shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, killer whales, and more. It also features several amusement park rides, including some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world.
Be sure to plan a visit to SeaWorld Orlando during your trip to Kissimmee to satisfy your dreams of swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with stingrays, or feeding exotic ocean animals.
SMALLER BUT AWESOME THEME PARKS
Gatorland is a super fun amusement park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail in south Orlando. It boasts the nickname “The Alligator Capital of The World,” as it features thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and other exotic animals, and was even used during the filming of Indiana Jones!
You can visit to feed alligators, watch them wrestle, visit the aviary or breeding marsh, or learn more about alligators and crocodiles from one of their various educational programs. Action-seeking adventurers will also love this theme park, as its main feature is its Screamin’ Gator zip line. There are other adventures too, such as an off-road swamp tour or a train ride for kids.
FUN SPOT AMERICA
Fun Spot America is a great theme park for young kids, as it features many roller coasters, including kiddie rides, go-karts, arcade games, and plenty more! It is the only family-owned theme park in Orlando, and has two locations in central Florida, in both Orlando and Kissimmee.
The Kissimmee location is smaller and sees fewer crowds than the Orlando location, but has many of the same rides and entertainment opportunities. It is the perfect place to have fun with the whole family during your trip to Kissimmee.
If you’re looking for some sweet Florida charm, head over to Old Town Kissimmee! This massive walking district recreates your classic Florida town. It features over 75 bars, restaurants, shops, rides, and other types of entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy every night of the week!
They often host free concerts, live entertainment, and other events, such as their famous Saturday night classic car cruises. Be sure to check their calendar of events and plan a visit to Old Town Kissimmee.
ISLAND H20 LIVE!
If you’re a lover of water parks, you must plan to spend at least a full day at Island H2O Live!
Island H20 Live! is a completely interactive water park located in the Margaritaville Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. It is not only an epic water park featuring water slides, rides, and different types of pools and playgrounds, but it is also one of the most technologically advanced theme parks you’ll visit. The games and experiences that you complete earn you points that you can redeem for food, merchandise, and even the ability to control the music playing overhead!
It’s the perfect place for the entire family to have fun in the sun while staying cool in the Florida heat!
Lake Tohopekaliga, or “Lake Toho” as the locals call it, is a very popular lake to visit for many reasons. Being in central Florida, Kissimmee is not exactly right on the ocean, but it does feature a vast waterfront area for you to cool off in, especially in the humid warmer months.
Spanning nearly 4 miles, Lake Toho is the largest lake in the area, and is known to anglers as having the best bass in the country. You can boat on Lake Toho and see who can catch the biggest bass, visit the lighthouse, play at the playground, or visit the lakefront park to watch for alligators, dolphins, birds, and other wildlife.
KISSIMMEE LAKEFRONT PARK
Kissimmee Lakefront Park lies directly on the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga. It is a gorgeous waterfront park featuring two playgrounds, a splash pad, a fishing pier, picnic areas, and a wide grassy area to use as you please.
It’s the perfect place to gather for a picnic with some friends, admire the sunset, relax and read a book, or have an action-packed day out on the water.
EXTREME JET SKI ORLANDO
If you’re a thrill-seeker looking for a fun adventure on the water, visit Extreme Jet Ski of Orlando to rent a jet ski to take out on the water for the day.
Extreme Jet Ski of Orlando is located in Kissimmee, right next to Lake Cecile. They have three different types of rental equipment, ranging from regular to high power, so you can choose how fast you want to go. No matter what type of jet ski you choose, you’re sure to have an action-packed day out on the water!
SHINGLE CREEK REGIONAL PARK
Shingle Creek Regional Park is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet escape in nature away from the hustle and bustle of all the amusement parks and thrill-seeking activities.
Shingle Creek is known as being the northernmost headwater of the Florida Everglades. The creek runs for 23 miles from Orlando, all the way to Lake Toho in Kissimmee. The area surrounding Shingle Creek has many well-maintained nature trails you can explore, too.
If you’re looking for some thrills and want to spot some gators, plan a visit to Wild Florida!
Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park is a really cool and unique wildlife park located near Kissimmee that offers airboat tours, has a drive thru safari park, alligator shows, a tropical bird aviary, a petting zoo, and more. It’s one of the best adventures you could have in Florida, so I highly recommend going on at least one tour, seeing at least one show, and admiring all the exotic animals around you.
DISNEY WILDERNESS PRESERVE
If you’re looking for a quiet escape from all the amusement parks and tourist attractions in central Florida, stop by Disney Wilderness Preserve.
This 12,000-acre nature reserve is a habit restoration and conservation area in Kissimmee that was created as a way to educate the public on the conservation efforts in the area. Stop by to walk along the trails, learn something new, and enjoy some peace and quiet before heading back into the action.
TREE TREK ADVENTURE PARK
If you like rock climbing or other similar activities, you’ll certainly want to make a visit to Tree Trek Adventure Park during your visit to Kissimmee! Located within the trees, this adventure park features nearly 100 high ropes obstacle courses that you can try, each one more thrilling and challenging than the last!
It’s a great way for the entire family to enjoy a fun, unique day in the great outdoors.
MUSEUMS, CULTURE, FOOD AND ARTS
MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY
The main goal of the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee is to pay tribute to the people; the heroes who have served our country, preserve our history and educate the next generation.
Here you can see hundreds of military artifacts, relics and stories that paint a moving picture of bravery and sacrifices from those who have secured our freedom. The museum is located next to the Magic Moment Resort and Kids’ Club and is open Tuesday through Sunday.
More than just a theater, Osceola Arts is a hub for artists. Osceola Arts produces over 150 theatrical performances each year, and you’ll also find art exhibits and concerts here.
Osceola Arts also provides outreach through the ARTisNOW public mural project, and partners with the local school district to provide art education for the children in the community.
More than just a candy shop; Chocolate Kingdom is a sweet experience. Take an interactive journey exploring how a cocoa bean transforms into the most loved treats ever!
Your Chocolate Tour Guide partners with a Charming Prince and his dragon to take kids and families through a Cacao Tree Greenhouse, Chocolate Museum, River of Chocolate and Bean to the Bar Factory, utilizing old world machinery. Guests can also choose to create their own custom chocolate bar.
Open Daily. Tours begin at noon and happen every hour on the hour until 4:00. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also call for availability.
OSCEOLA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Osceola County Historical Society operates the Welcome Center and History Museum and The Pioneer Village.
At the Welcome Center, you can experience various habitats of the area and learn how nature and history are tied together in the area. The Pioneer Village is a permanent collection of authentic structures, which once stood in other areas of Osceola County. Some of the structures include a general store, post office, schoolhouse, homesteads, a cow camp and a Seminole settlement. Some actual working structures include a blacksmith shop, citrus packing plant, cane grinder and barn.
The second Saturday of each month is Living History Day at the Pioneer Village.
ORLANDO BALLOON RIDES
Experience Kissimmee and the Orlando area from the air, while taking in breathtaking views from a hot air balloon!
You’ll find several hot air balloon ride tour agencies in the Kissimmee area. Take a ride up in the air and see the beauty of the area from a totally different perspective. Looking for something truly amazing? Consider taking a sunrise ride!
DAY TRIP OPTIONS
Orlando, Florida is the perfect destination for family fun and entertainment of any kind, and it’s located less than an hour away from Kissimmee, making it the perfect day trip!
Orlando is best known for its theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Orlando. It also has a bustling downtown area, excellent nightlife, plenty of world class shopping and dining opportunities, and golf courses, where you can practice your swing and enjoy the sunny weather all year round.
It’s a great idea to use Kissimmee as a base when you’re planning to explore multiple theme parks in Orlando, as it’s a quieter and cheaper area to stay.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
If you’re a lover of space, the stars, and rockets, head over to the Space Coast to visit the Kennedy Space Center! The John F. Kennedy Space Center is located about an hour away from Kissimmee, on Merritt Island, Florida. It is most well known for being the most common launch and landing point for NASA’s space shuttles.
You can visit the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex for a behind the scenes tour of the launch site, learn about space through hands-on interactive experiences, view the stars on the larger than life IMAX screen, and plenty more! You could spend an entire day in this complex, but I’d also urge you to check out the beaches and other fun to be had in the nearby cities of Melbourne and Daytona Beach before heading back to Kissimmee.
Looking for online tickets to attractions or cool tours offering insider info? Get Your Guide is our family’s go-to resource for online purchases. Find Kennedy Space Center tickets here.
Daytona Beach is famous for two main things: beaches and racing. If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches during your trip to central Florida, drive about an hour and a half east to Daytona Beach!
This sunny east coast getaway is known for its endless 23 miles of white sandy beaches, intriguing history-filled museums, and the tire squealing and engine roaring of auto racing. Stop by for a relaxing day in the sand, a gnarly day of catching big waves out on the water, or get a little extra horsepower in your life by making a visit to the famous Daytona International Speedway or Motorsports Hall of Fame.
If you love European history, a day trip to St. Augustine is a must! St. Augustine, Florida is America’s oldest city, founded by the Spanish in 1565. It is officially the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States.
Visiting the downtown area is like taking a quick leap across the pond to shop along cobblestone streets and visit historical landmarks along the way. When you head toward the coast, you’ll be back on the sunny Florida beaches you know and love.
St. Augustine is about two and a half hours away from Kissimmee and makes the perfect day trip!
Crystal River, Florida is located about two hours away from Kissimmee on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is most known for its world class fishing. The abundance of fish near the shoreline makes it easy to have a fun day of scalloping and fishing, without having to rent a boat.
There are also plenty of water activities to enjoy in the bay, and areas where you can go swimming with manatees! The downtown area is a quaint historic district with shops and local restaurants to try. It’s definitely worth the day trip for a fun day out on the water.
KELLY PARK/ROCK SPRINGS
If you’re desperate for a way to cool off, instead of heading to the beach, drive about an hour north to Kelly Park/Rock Springs, Florida!
There is so much to do at Kelly Park! It has a popular swimming hole where locals go to cool off, especially in the summertime. It also features a playground and picnic tables, so be sure to pack lunch. There are also some secluded nature trails in the park, as well as areas where you can tent or RV camp overnight.
The most popular thing to do at Kelly Park though, is tubing. Tube the free-flowing natural spring that stays at 68 degrees year-round. You can either rent a tube from one of the vendors located just outside the park, or bring your own.
THINGS TO DO IN CENTRAL FLORIDA (printable)
Download this 1-page checklist of Things to Do in Central Florida to print at home or your local print shop. Perfect to keep in a binder, bring on your adventure or just put on the refrigerator!
(PS. You’ll find some of these items detailed in our article, 33+ Unique & Awesome Things To Do in Central Florida (Beyond Disney)).
Format: PDF, US Letter Size, Portrait (8.5”x11”)
You will receive one PDF file. File will be emailed and available for download up to three times upon payment. No physical item will be shipped.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA
- YOUR FLORIDA VACATION
- FREE ORLANDO: 35 Fun & Free Things To Do In Orlando You’ll Love
- ORLANDO WITH KIDS: 42 Things To Do In Orlando With Kids (Besides The Theme Parks!)
- ORLANDO FOR ADULTS: 27 Super Fun Things To Do In Orlando For Adults
- SEAWORLD: 40+ Secrets For An Amazing Visit To SeaWorld Orlando
- LEGOLAND: Secrets To Beat Lines, Save Money, and Have Fun At LEGOLAND Orlando
- ROLLER COASTERS: 9 Thrilling & Fun Disney World Roller Coasters
WHERE TO STAY IN KISSIMMEE
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