The Best Aquatic Adventures Near Disney World

Do you have a water lover as part of your vacation crew? The next time you are planning a trip to the Disney World area, be sure to consider adding some of these aquatic adventures to your vacation itinerary. From natural wonders to fantastic waterparks, Central Florida has an abundance of water-themed attractions that are sure to add a splash of fun to your next vacation. (Note: Be sure to check days and hours of operation in advance of your trip as water parks close throughout the year.)

Theme Parks

The major theme parks each offer their own water attractions. Universal Orlando Resort has Volcano Bay which features a winding river, water slides, a wave pool, and cabana suites that hold up to sixteen guests, all centered around an erupting volcano. Disney’s water park offerings include Typhoon Lagoon, with nine water slides and the world’s largest artificially made waves, and Blizzard Beach, with its melting outdoor Florida ski resort theme. Both parks can be bundled into your other Disney park visits as part of the Park Hopper Plus pass. SeaWorld brings to the table its classic park, which is all about sea life and conservation, as well as Aquatica park which has a host of thrill-seeking rides including dueling raft race slides and in-park sandy beaches and heated pools.  

Natural Wonders

If a calming natural setting is more your speed, you’ll find one just 45 minutes outside Orlando in Orange City, Florida. Blue Spring State Park hosts hundreds of manatees that can be viewed from mid-November through March for a cost-effective entry fee of only six dollars per car. Other aquatic adventures here include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, SCUBA diving, and swimming.

North of Orlando, in Winter Park, the Winter Park chain of lakes is composed of six lakes connected by channels. This area is another great opportunity to enjoy nature on the water by kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding. Another distinct area of adventure can be found in nearby Silver Springs state park where you can take a glass-bottom boat tour to view the crystal clear springs and naturally occurring aquatic life from the comfort of a guided vessel.

Sticking close to Orlando, Discovery Cove offers a unique balance of theme park amenities and exciting animal encounters. Here, you can swim with the dolphins, snorkel with fish and rays, and lounge in a lazy river all while enjoying unlimited food, drink, towels, and sunscreen in an elegant environment with a strict capacity limit. 

Whatever water attractions you choose to take in, make your downtime as restful and restorative as possible by lodging at a comfortable and convenient area hotel. If your vacation plans center around Walt Disney World, consider staying at the Crowne Plaza Lake Buena Vista. Other area choices are the Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration, and Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc. Near the always-happening International Drive, great options include the Comfort Inn International, Element Orlando International Drive, or Best Western International Drive.