Whether you’re chasing sunshine this winter or planning a family-friendly summer vacation, make Central Florida your destination in 2023. In Orlando North, Seminole County, there’s something for everyone with outdoors thrills for adventurers, world-class cuisines for foodies, and more unique attractions for visitors of all ages. What are the can’t-miss spots to add to your travel bucket list this year? Keep reading for our top recommendations!
If there is a quintessential Orlando North bucket list item, it’s Wekiva Island. In the heart of Seminole County, but tucked away like its own city oasis, Wekiva Island sits right on the Wekiva River, where you can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard the day away. You can even rent a cabana for your group for a resort-like experience surrounded by pure nature. Grab food and a drink at the on-site restaurant in between paddling sessions and soak up the sun!
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly experience, we’ve got just the spot for you! The Central Florida Zoo is home to more than 300 animals representing 100 species, with plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with these residents. You’ll find a larger-than-life rhino, friendly giraffes, tiny creepy crawlers, not to mention a petting zoo area where you can feed pygmy goats, llamas, and more! There is also a splash park with fun water features to cool off during the hot summer months. Tickets are available online or at the gate—and be sure to check out the events page before you go to see if any special happenings are taking place!
Sanford Ghost Tour
Sanford, Florida is one of Seminole County’s most haunted spots and now you can learn about some of the most famous spirits on the Historic Sanford Ghost Tour. Stroll the streets of Historic Downtown Sanford after dark as your guide tells stories of local hauntings, murders, and other mysterious events from the town’s past.
Hollerbach’s German Restaurant
Hollerbach’s German Restaurant is a little slice of heaven right here in Sanford, Florida. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends or family—and it has all the charm you’d expect from a café located in the heart of a historic downtown. The menu is full of scratch made, authentic German cuisine, beer, and even vegetarian and vegan options! As if it couldn’t get any better, the staff is always super friendly and helpful and will even remember your name if you come back! Try this place once and we guarantee you’ll be back for seconds.
Hike The Black Hammock Wilderness Area
Located along the shores of Lake Jesup in Oviedo, FL, the Black Hammock Wilderness Area has miles of trails for you to explore and stretch your legs while you experience the diverse ecosystems that call this shoreline home. With a beautiful oak hammock, multiple boardwalks, and lush scenery, this hike has everything you need to reset, relax, and soak in the natural wonders of Orlando North, Seminole County.
When hunger strikes, head over to Henry’s Depot, where everyone in your group can grab a bite that satisfies their cravings. This family-friendly spot is equal parts food hall and events venue, with something exciting happening nearly every weekend. From seafood to southern comfort food, you can take your pick between your favorite dishes (or cocktails!) before kicking your feet up with friends and enjoying the welcoming atmosphere of this downtown Sanford staple.
Unfurl Collective is a brand-new community space in Sanford, Florida, dedicated to promoting the arts and culture of the local community. This one-of-a-kind gathering spot offers unique shopping with handmade gifts, home décor, furniture, and clothing, as well as workshops and special events. They also host open mic nights and live music performances. The space itself is decorated with local art from both emerging and established artists. Don’t miss your chance to experience this celebration of the arts and the community as you support local artists who are honing their craft and pursuing their passions.
The future of VR gaming and e-sports has found a home in Central Florida at Huvi GG. If you’re into gaming, you’ll find live tournaments, pro-gamer classes, exclusive streams and more, all at one of Huvi GG’s two locations in Orlando North — in the Seminole Towne Center and Oviedo Mall. This unique attraction even hosts “camps” for leveling up your skills or learning new things, with scholarships available. Book your visit or host your next event at this cutting-edge gaming hot spot, with thrills for gamers of all ages and skill levels.
Axe Throwing at Elev8 Fun Sanford
For your group’s thrill seekers, Elev8 Fun Sanford’s axe throwing experience is the perfect stop for heart-racing fun. Whether you’ve tried it before or you’re a first timer, take aim at a good time as you compete against your friends and family for the top spot and bragging rights! Once you’ve crowned a winner, you can celebrate by checking out Elev8 Fun’s Go Karts, VR arenas, ropes courses, laser tag, and mini golf.
Put this at the top of your to-do-list for an unforgettable trip in Orlando North, Seminole County.
Arcade Monsters in Lake Mary
Calling all gamers! Arcade Monsters in Lake Mary is the place to be if you’re into anything from retro-style pinball machines to the latest consoles. As the fourth location for this Central Florida favorite, the Lake Mary arcade lounge features over 50 games, an outdoor patio, full kitchen and bar seating. Whether you’re bringing the kids or making this a couples’ outing, plan to spend a few hours working your way through all the treasures you’ll find in this glow-in-the-dark paradise.
Planet Obstacle – Lake Mary
If you’ve been looking to tackle the world’s largest indoor obstacle park, the search is over — Planet Obstacle holds the title as the biggest facility of its kind around and for good reason. Test your strength on American Ninja Warrior-inspired courses, giant rock-climbing walls, zip-lines, and aerial ropes. For the kiddos, there are less intense but just as fun trampolines, bungees, ball pits, and bumper cars.
There’s no shortage of amazing locally owned craft breweries in Orlando North and one of the newest to hit the block is Alestone Brewing in Longwood. Try a handcrafted ale or lager, paired with a pizza or sandwich from their scratch kitchen, and you’ll be in for a treat. They also brew their own seltzers in house, and you can order a flight to try them all! For a refreshing sip, we recommend the Rind & All, their sour tangerine pale ale, but you really can’t go wrong, they know how to brew some delicious beer!
Sushi happy hour anyone? Voted Orlando’s best for its $1 happy hour menu, Bayridge Sushi serves up classic rolls and creative creations. And the deals aren’t exclusive to happy hour. Their lunch special deserves its own shoutout, with options including Hibachi Bento Boxes and roll combos, you can basically get a 3 course meal for only $20. If you have room for dessert — we suggest trying the tempura banana!
Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge
After a long day of exploring, eating, and excitement, settle in for an evening of live music at Tuffy’s. This spacious Sanford staple has beers on tap, cocktails worthy of a spot on your Instagram Stories, and hefty portions of the comfort foods you’ll want to round out your experience. Come grab a brew (or two) and toast to a great time of trails, thrills, delicious dishes, and more!
While we’ve told you about some of our favorite spots in Orlando North, Seminole County, there is so much more to explore. Follow us @DoOrlandoNorth for more ideas and use our hashtag, #DoOrlandoNorth, so we can see if you try out any of our recommended spots — or if you want to shout out your hidden gems and hot spots for us to include on our next bucket list!