Best Bets Orlando Attractions Named by Orlando Sentinel 2012

Disney World and Universal Studios have helped turn Orlando into one of America’s top family vacation destinations year-round. While the area’s action-packed theme parks are sure to be on the vacation list, Orlando offers many other attractions as well.

To help visitors decide what to do, Orlando Sentinel published its annual list of Best Bets, featuring everything in central Florida from places to eat to things to do. Orlando and central Florida offer so many activities that families may want to schedule several extra vacation days to enjoy non-park activities, including these Best Bets Orlando attractions.

Best Bets Orlando Attractions Not Amusement Parks

Best beach: When the beach beckons, head for New Smyrna where miles of gorgeous white sand provide the perfect setting for building sand castles, hunting shells, picnicking and relaxing in the sun. New Smyrna Beach is about an hour’s drive from Orlando and serves as an area surf hub.

Best shop ‘til you drop mall: The whole family will enjoy a trip to The Mall at Millenia. With more than 150 stores, visitors will find everything they need — from bathing suits and beach fashion to toys and souvenirs. Shop department stores and upscale brands, then stop by a restaurant for a fresh meal.

Best place to tee off: Dubsdread Golf Course has the oldest public layout in central Florida and was renovated in 2008. For over 90 years, this 18-hole course has welcomed novice players and legends alike. Dubsdread’s course offers narrow fairways, lakes and bunkers suited for a challenging game.

Best concert venue: Get great food and hear great music at House of Blues Orlando. Doubling as a venue and restaurant, visitors receive the best of both worlds. Featured acts include blues, rock, soul and gospel.

Start planning! Book spacious Orlando vacation rentals and surprise the family with a magical vacation this year.