The best weekend destinations within a few hours of Orlando

Orlando is situated in the perfect location within Florida. Residents can easily drive to most parts of the state, and the beaches of either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico are very accessible. Homes for sale in Orlando are conveniently located within driving distance of some spectacular attractions, and many owners spend a weekend at some of the following fabulous locations.

Tampa

The large city of Tampa is accessible by driving about 84 miles west on Interstate 4. This metro area is situated right on the Gulf Coast, and while the weather here can be slightly cooler than southern Florida, there are still many beaches to visit. Additionally, although the Magic play in Orlando, Tampa is a great place to enjoy professional sports in the major leagues. The Buccaneers play in the NFL, the Lightning in the NHL and the Rays in the MLB. Grab a ticket to see one of these professional teams in action and then spend some time at the beach afterwards.

Kennedy Space Center

The section of the Atlantic about 55 miles east of Orlando is known as the Space Coast for a reason. Cape Canaveral - now called the Kennedy Space Center - has been the site for shuttle and space launches for the past few decades, and NASA has a number of buildings and museums on Merritt Island. The rusted shells of the previous space programs may be seen at the Space Center, which holds many artifacts and memoirs from the Apollo days.

If you can, plan your weekend around a rocket launch!

Ocala National Forest

This national park is the second largest in Florida, and the southern tip lies only about 50 miles north of downtown Orlando. Residents often choose to camp here during the cooler winter weather, and in the summer, enjoy anything from canoeing to hiking.

Water sports are the dominant leisure activity in the park, and exotic options like scuba diving and snorkeling are also available. Also, off-road vehicles are extremely popular, and there are miles of trails that stretch through the forest's interior. People looking for a day hike will also be satisfied, as there is an extensive network of wilderness paths here.

Horseback riding and cycling trails are also available for those who enjoy such niche hobbies. If you'd like to spend some time outdoors with your family, there is no better place in the nearby area.