Visiting Orlando’s theme parks is a pilgrimage for people the world over. Disney World alone draws some 50 million fun-seekers every year.

And while we’d all love to fly into Orlando via private jet and stay in a grand resort right next to our favorite theme park, the fact is, most of us are on a budget. That’s where Orlando North, Seminole County comes in.

Let’s start with the accommodations. Although you won’t find extravagantly themed resorts here, you can choose from dozens of brand-name hotels that offer clean, comfy lodging with plenty of amenities, including the all-important swimming pool. Best of all, they’re cheaper than what you’ll find next to the theme parks — way cheaper. Pull in, park (for free), check-in and start having fun. It’s that simple. And it’s not just the hotels that are less expensive. The restaurants are, too. Our destination has plentiful dining options, from your family’s favorite chains to unique locally owned eateries (and quite a few craft breweries) — with little to no wait times.

Next up, location. Depending on where you choose to stay, you’re never more than a half-hour to hour’s drive to theme park row. Your family can spend the entire day in a theme park, then make the easy drive (or rideshare) back to the hotel, have dinner, hit the hay and be refreshed and ready for another excursion the next day.

And speaking of excursions, here’s an idea: Plan to spend a day or two in Orlando North, Seminole County. Theme parks are terrific, but let’s face it — they can be less than authentic. Get a taste of Real Florida. Even being so close to Orlando and the theme parks, Seminole County is a natural outdoor paradise. The trees are made of wood, the rocks are made of rock, and the waterways have been around for millennia.

Our destination offers a large array of lakes, rivers and crystal-clear springs that are perfect for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating. Try a thrilling airboat ride on Lake Jesup — something you’ll never forget. You can hike or bike through vast Florida state forests and protected lands while seeing plants and wildlife you can’t anywhere else (your friends back home will be so jealous you saw a real gator!) The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Sanford merits a day unto itself. And it’s located right next to Seminole Aerial Adventures, where you can test your derring-do and zip line among the trees until your adrenaline runs out.

If a bit of impromptu culture is on your to-do list, a visit to Historic Downtown Sanford is a can’t-miss. This quaint, walkable enclave, which borders beautiful Lake Monroe, strikes the perfect balance between old-Florida charm and urban hip, with its array of one-of-a-kind restaurants and bars, craft breweries, galleries, boutique shopping and more.

That barely scratches the surface of the fun you can have in Orlando North, Seminole County. Oh, and by the way? All of these activities, attractions, and adventures cost way less than theme-park admission fees. Some of them are even free! So if you’re planning a trip to the theme park capital of the world, don’t just Do Orlando.

Do Orlando North, Seminole County!