Sitting on a little creek that marks the beginning of the tropical Everglades, Kissimmee holidays can be the starting point of your wetland adventures. It’s also home to a retro amusement park styled on the America of the 1950s, called Old Town. And of course, not far away is the famous Walt Disney World Resort and other Orlando amusements. Here’s our selection of things to do in Kissimmee.
A retro experience at Old Town
Step back in time to the 1950s at Kissimmee’s Old Town. Actually built in 1986, it’s a recreation of turn-of-the-century Florida which features historical architecture and kitsch store-fronts, including the old-fashioned General Store offering back-in-the-day novelties to take home. This theme park is pleasingly different from the typical Orlando experiences.
An all-round fun family day out, try out an old-fashioned fairground attraction, enjoy some live entertainment or head to one of the classic car shows. You’ll walk past classic American Cadillac cars as you take your seat in one of the many diners such as TexMex or Southern Breeze.
Motor enthusiasts will love the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise, where pre-1980s hot rods, street rods and antique cars are on show. If you prefer to spend your Saturday nights dancing, you can find a good jiving spot to 1950s doo-wop music, or for something a bit livelier, the huge Sun On The Beach nightclub just might be the place.
Walt Disney World and Universal Studios
Kissimmee is a great spot to stay for access to neighbouring Orlando and its many theme parks. Firstly, there’s the most famous amusement attraction in the world, the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s home to many fantasy areas that will leave all the family enthralled. Meet Cinderella at the Magic Kingdom, say hello to Mickey Mouse and join animated parades. Or there’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you can live out your favourite film in the Hollywood-inspired attractions. For animal lovers, check out Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the largest animal-themed park in the world.
Disney aside, there’s the lesser known alligator-themed Gatorland. This 110-acre attraction is home to a nature reserve that boasts a unique zipline, where you’ll soar 350 feet above the alligator breeding marsh with its 150 alligators. For something a bit less adrenaline-infused, you can visit them up close at ground level.
Let’s not forget Universal Studios too, which is also in Orlando. Here you can ride on the Hogwarts’ Express in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or head to all-new Volcano Bay to experience the thrill of a lifetime on volcano-inspired rides such as the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. Here, four-person canoes slide upwards, twisting and turning around Krakatau volcano before finally plunging into a waterfall. Family holidays to Florida bring you to a wealth of great days out, so plan your trip and make sure you see as much as possible.
Immerse yourself in the wetlands of the Everglades
Kissimmee River is where Florida’s Everglades begin – the largest sub-tropical park in America. The Everglades are home to a diverse array of wildlife including alligators, turtles, storks and a myriad of water birds such as herons, plus the beautiful cypress swamp forest. Head to Steffee Landing for a paddling centre where you can hire a kayak or canoe as well as bikes.
Kissimmee’s Shingle Creek forms the headwaters of the Everglades and from here you can go on an Airboat Tour, exploring the waters in a vessel big enough for the whole family.
A lovely feature of the 456-acre Shingle Creek are the narrow channels that are lined with palmetto palm and cypress trees. The Shingle Creek Regional Park also has a fishing dock, hiking trails, and a picnic and play area. Outside of the wetlands and marshes, cattle ranches and citrus groves add diversity to the stunning scenery.