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Hello there!<br><br>
We're thinking of heading to Orlando for a week in Nov. to visit Disneyworld and such, and we're thinking that after flying all the way out there we should probably tag on an extra week. And so I'm wondering if any of you have suggestions of where we should go! We're very much into less touristy, outdoorsy, low maintaince experiences - beach would be great, but nothing like resort area or anything. I'd love recommendations for things to see and do, and also funky, family places to stay!!!! Oh, and if people have recommendations for our week in Orlando that would be great too!!!<br><br>
THanks!
 

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If you want to stay kind of close to Orlando, my suggestion would be to go to the east coast to either New Smyrna (much less touristy than Daytona & more family friendly but VERY small). Another suggestion would be St.Augustine. Its a little more touristy but its a bit bigger of a place (still not that big though) & there is lots to see/do for families
 

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I would really reccomend St. Augustine. I was born and raised there, it is an awesome place. Some things to check out are the historical area downtown...St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and has forts, reenactments and many educational areas. The Our lady of la leche shrine is the first Christian(Catholic) mass in the United States and has beautiful sculptures and is right on the water.<br><br>
The alligator farm is really closer to a zoo with every species of croc in the world as well as a swamp boardwalk area where native birds come to roost- this time of year you can see baby herons less than a foot away from you!<br><br>
The beaches in St Augustine are great, and if you go to anastasia state park you can rent kayaks or get surf lessons!! Stay in a bed and breakfast rather than a hotel, you can stay in many in the historic area and then walk to attractions.If you can't tell I love my hometown and think it is a fab place- only about hour and a half from Orlando!!<br><a href="http://www.staugustine.com" target="_blank">www.staugustine.com</a><br><br>
I live in Orlando now and it is super generic-however the cost of living is better and there are a lot of jobs. The city of Winter Park is a nice little area with sculpture gardens, parks and a shopping area that is expensive, but fun to walk around in.
 

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ST. augustine is good for "stuff to do" touristy stuff. Cocoa Beach is due east of ORlando about 55-60 minutes and there are some cheaper hotels. There is a bird refuge/wildlife refuge on north merritt Island where you drive around on a dirt road and you can pull off and park and watch birds, alligators, wild boars etc. and there is the NASA/space shuttle etc. to tour. There are some wildlife tours given out of the "Lone Cabbage Fish Camp" which is on the St. Johns River about 45 min east of orlando. There are also charter boats around the Indian and Banana River that will give eco tours/wildlife tours and you can see manatees and such.<br><br>
There is a nice Zoo in Melbourne about 1hr and 20 min from orlando where there is a deck you can feed the giraffes and a bird house where you get a cup of fruit to feed the birds, kind of fun for the kids to interact with the animals. The enclosures aren't really big or really small so you can see the animals pretty good. There are also some great springs in or near the Ocala national forest with some good hiking and trails in the fall.
 

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If you rent a home in the area, you can hike around the Ocala National Forest. By then, all of our fires should be out<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: . I love the springs in the Nat. Forst.<br><br>
Oh, get a pool home, and maybe spend a day recooping and relaxing. There are so many options in the Orlando area, that you can find a home to rent fairly cheap. Even in the snowbird season. I like VRBO. com, and there's another that I will search for for you:)...
 

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I second renting a home w/ pool or a condo with pool complex. You can stay in and around Orlando and drive to New Smyrna Beach or Cocoa Beach for a day. At New Smyrna, the cars drive on the beach like Daytona but it is more family oriented. There are bicycle and ATV rentals. You can really pack your car wth gear and not worry about having to lug it all too far - leave a cooler in the trunk (or since you're traveling, one of those silver cold bags, maybe?)<br><br>
Check out the state parks in the area - the one we like the best is Rock Springs State Park at Kelly Park. It is maybe an hour north and well worth the drive.<br><br>
If you like to camp, instead of a house, maybe rent an RV for 5 days and spend a few at Kelly park and a few at Wekiva State Park (maybe 15 min. east from Kelly) and/or Blue Springs State Park.<br><br>
Each park is a natural wonder and a national treasure IMHO <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> They are crystal clear, icy cold and beautiful! At Rock Springs, you rent an inner-tube or bring your own rafts and tubes to blow up and float down a river to the large swimming holes. There are beach areas for the kids and trails to hike. We spend a whole day there and have such a blast. Bring goggles or a mask to really see all the little fishies and plants underwater. We even saw an otter once.<br><br>
Wekiva has a "spring" swimming hole, canoeing and lots of hiking . Blue Springs has a deeper snorkel/dive spring, and a river to float down. It's a little faster moving, more big rocks and deeper than Rock Springs, there is also canoeing and hiking. There is a neat restaurant near Blue springs that you can make your own pancakes on a griddle at your table - so fun for the kids - it's called Old Mill something or other. LMK if you go this route and I'll get you the whole deal.<br><br>
Each Spring is different and beautiful in it's own way.<br><br>
In south Kissimmee, there's Green Meadows Farm, easily a whole day with hayride, train ride, picking up ducks and chickens, milking a cow, tons of old tractors to climb on and a neat play ground. Bring your camera, hand wipes and a change of clothes.<br><br>
I completely hate Gator Land but for some reason, my son adores it. His Aunt and Uncle have taken him there several times and he loves all the gators. If you go, bring a suit and towel for the sprinkler playground.<br><br>
No matter what you decide to do, it'll be great. There are so many fun places to visit in Central FL.
 

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