Magic lives in Kissimmee — and we’re talking way more than Walt Disney World. Orlando’s southern neighbor is a special slice of Central Florida, a city that puts visitors in the epicenter of the ultimate vacation destination, at a pace that feels like home. It’s where everyone can gather, regardless of age or ability or interest, and find their thrill and their chill.

From your coworkers and college buddies to your cousins, your children, and those you’re trying to get closer to, Kissimmee caters to whoever is in your crew. Here are five reasons to round up your circle and cruise to the Kissimmee corner of sunshine-y, action-packed Florida.

This post is proudly produced in partnership with Experience Kissimmee.

Life Like a Local

Photo: Experience Kisiimmee

Renting a vacation home in Kissimmee is the ultimate way to experience the best of Central Florida’s theme parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and exciting entertainment venues — like the locals do. And the options you’ll find here are unmatched: Kissimmee sports the largest collection of vacation home rentals in the world.

Easy access to everything

With a vacation home in Kissimmee, you can plan an unforgettable vacation on the fly...

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Easy access to everything

Roll out of bed, hop in the car, and you’ll be in the heart of Kissimmee’s Main Street before the engine gets warm.

Only a few minutes farther are the area’s legendary theme parks, outlet malls for retail therapy, and gut-busting eateries—shout out to Orlando Premium Outlets for both retail and foodie therapy—allowing your crew to plan an unforgettable vacation on the fly.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


An effortless escape to nature

Kissimmee offers a ready-made escape plan...

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An effortless escape to nature

Kissimmee offers a ready-made escape plan to avoid the crowds and congestion inherent in larger cities. Head a few miles in any direction and you’ll find quiet hiking trails, picnic-perfect lakes, and critter-filled swamps that’ll make you feel miles from the metropolis.

Lake Kissimmee State Park is a local fave, where you can practically do anything, from hiking, horseback riding, and boat tours to primitive camping and scouting for sandhill cranes. 

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Room to spread out

Give everyone the safe space and privacy they need...

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Room to spread out

It’s hard to social distance in a hotel room—especially when you’re rolling into Kissimmee with the whole crew.

Give everyone the safe space and privacy they need in a vacation rental—Kissimmee’s got loads. Plus, nothing beats the Central Florida heat like a dip in a private pool...in the courtyard of a Spanish-style villa or 12-bedroom mansion, perhaps.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Vacation like a (luxury) staycation

Home-sweet-home vibes and creature comforts...

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Vacation like a (luxury) staycation

A vacation rental offers your crew the home-sweet-home vibes and creature comforts y’all need while allowing you to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Resorts on a whim—just like the locals do. All with a bit more luxury, if that’s how you like to roll.

Want views of a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course? Expansive lagoon-side pools? Game rooms with sit-and-drive racing machines? It’s all possible.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


A Screaming Good Time

Photo: Experience Kissimmee

Look beyond the roller coasters, and you’ll find excitement in every nook and cranny of Kissimmee. From hang-gliding to ATVing, here’s how get your adrenaline pumping on the ground, in the treetops, and through that Sunshine State sky.

Soar through the skies at Wallaby Ranch

No experience—or wings—necessary...

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Soar through the skies at Wallaby Ranch

No experience—or wings—are necessary to learn how to hang-glide at Wallaby Ranch. Technically a hang-gliding school, the ranch was founded by Malcolm Jones, arguably the most experienced tandem hang-gliding pilot in the world. Expect to scream with joy from 2,000 feet in the air during your 15-minute flight.

 

Photo: Wallaby Ranch


Zipline at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

Feel like monkeying around? They’ll show you the ropes...

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Zipline at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

Feel like monkeying around at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park? They’ll show you the ropes—literally. Zipline across six different ropes courses and see who in your crew can complete 100 unique challenges in record time. Expect to tackle Tarzan swings, nets, ropes, hanging bridges, trapezes, and more. 

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Get muddy at Revolution Adventures

Ripping through 230 acres of muddy, off-road trails...

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Get muddy at Revolution Adventures

Tag with bow and arrows? Shooting clays and fishing for bass (at a private lake)? Ripping through 230 acres of muddy, off-road trails on an eight-wheeled amphibious vehicle? Crews of all ages and abilities can get down and dirty at Revolution Adventures—just don’t forget to bring a towel.


Sail over Central Florida with Bob’s Balloon Rides

We’re not sure what’s cooler at Bob’s Balloon Rides...

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Sail over Central Florida with Bob’s Balloon Rides

We’re not sure what’s cooler at Bob’s Balloon Rides: floating high over Animal Kingdom with champagne in hand, or flying around Kissimmee’s treetops with alligators watching enviously from below. Customize your own hot-air balloon cruise and you can find out for yourself.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Skydive at iFLY Orlando

HeFly, SheFly, you’ll all fly...

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Skydive at iFLY Orlando

HeFly, SheFly, you’ll all fly at iFLY Orlando. Swap the bumpy plane ride (and the strapping yourself to a stranger) for this exhilarating indoor skydiving experience. Lifting off in their vertical wind tunnel is totally wild yet safe and simple, meaning almost any kid or adult in your crew can take the leap. (Ages three to 103 welcome.)

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Getting to Know Florida’s Wild Side

Photo: Experience Kissimmee

Central Florida was known for its diverse wildlife long before the Mouse moved in. Get to know the original locals — from gators to furry faces from around the globe — at these wild attractions in and around Kissimmee.

Take a Sunshine State safari at Wild Florida

Choose-your-own-adventure-style animal encounters are on the itinerary...

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Take a Sunshine State safari at Wild Florida

Choose-your-own-adventure-style animal encounters are on the itinerary at Wild Florida. A relaxed pace sets the tone for airboat rides through gator-filled swamps, self-driving tours through their safari park, and VIP Sloth Encounters that will teach your crew a thing or two about taking it slow.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Meet the marine life at Discovery Cove

Strap on a snorkel and splash with otters, marmosets, and more...

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Meet the marine life at Discovery Cove

The dolphin encounters may be the hallmark attraction at Discovery Cove, but you’ll find even more incredible animal encounters in the resort’s Freshwater Oasis and Grand Reef. Strap on a snorkel and splash with otters, marmosets, fish, rays—and the occasional snowbird from Atlantic City.

 

Photo: Discovery Cove


Get some alone time with Amazing Animals

Hands-on meet-and-greets with capybara, reptiles, kinkajous...

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Get some alone time with Amazing Animals

Wild animals from afar find their way to Central Florida, and Amazing Animals Inc. is here to give them a safe, loving home. Book a private tour of the preserve to enjoy hands-on meet-and-greets with capybara, reptiles, kinkajous, bobcats, macaws, and more. The no-parents-allowed Kids Night Out treats the children to a pizza party, animal encounters, and a movie night, so you and your older crew members can get wild elsewhere without worry.

 

Photo: Purino/Shutterstock


Get to know the scaly locals at Gatorland

Get a new view of one of the state’s oldest inhabitants...

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Get to know the scaly locals at Gatorland

Get close to some of Florida’s most iconic creatures at Gatorland—and come away with a new view on one of the state’s oldest inhabitants. Real close, that is. A harness is all that separates you and 130 giant alligators on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. If that doesn’t get the kids’ eyes wide, a moonlit trek through the Alligator Breeding Marsh during a Gator Night Shine tour certainly might. (Did we mention the panthers, bobcats, and birds, too?)

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Take a red-eye ride at Boggy Creek

When the sun sets, red eyes light up the swamp...

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Take a red-eye ride at Boggy Creek

If you fancy being within arm’s reach of the gators without guardrails or safety nets, you’ll need to hop on an airboat for an adventure in the swamp. When the sun sets, red eyes light up the marsh at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Glide through tall grass with dozens of nocturnal creatures watching your progress. Gator sightings are just about guaranteed.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Drinking, Dancing & Delicious Delights

Photo: Courtesy of ICON Park

Looking for fun without breaking the bank? Kissimmee’s shopping, dining, and entertainment districts offer hours of enjoyment for all budgets and all appetites. Double down with a quick trip to Disney Springs or Universal CityWalk, only a short drive away.

Dine at Disney Springs

Indoor entertainment centers, live music, and dozens of waterfront shops...

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Dine at Disney Springs

Indoor entertainment centers, live music, and dozens of waterfront shops will certainly draw you to Disney Springs, but you can’t leave without getting a true taste of Central Florida. Come hungry for smoked meats at The Polite Pig, Wondermade’s marshmallow treats, and Gideon’s irresistible cookies, the size of your fist.

 

Photo: Disney Springs


Stroll the Promenade at Sunset Walk

Sunset Walk is the best place to beat the heat...

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Stroll the Promenade at Sunset Walk

Sunset Walk is the best place to beat the heat. Island H2O Water Park will splash your cares away, while the Fat Tuesday cocktails on The Promenade will certainly cool your crew down. Rain can’t wash away your plans, either—catch a flick at Studio Movie Grill or show off your skills on GameTime’s skeeball ramps. Whenever you arrive, expect a full calendar of artisan markets, live music, street performers, and more.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Find the Epicenter of Awesome at Universal CityWalk

CityWalk’s motto is Epicenter of Awesome, so feel free to raise your expectations...

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Find the Epicenter of Awesome at Universal CityWalk

Keep it low-key with Hollywood Drive-In Golf or Voodoo Donuts at Universal CityWalk. Prefer the jazzy nightlife? Hard Rock’s live shows, CityWalk’s Rising Star karaoke, and Blue Man Group’s shenanigans will have the party going all night long. CityWalk’s motto is “Epicenter of Awesome,” so feel free to raise your expectations.

 

Photo: Universal CityWalk


Scout out thrills at ICON Park

Imagine 20 acres of foodie bliss, thrill rides, unique indoor attractions...

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Scout out thrills at ICON Park

Imagine 20 acres of foodie bliss, unique indoor attractions, and boutique shops that’ll make your credit card sweat. It’s easy to see why ICON Park is the icon of I-Drive (i.e., Orlando’s International Drive), especially from its 40-story observation wheel.

 

Photo courtesy of ICON Park 


Make time for Celebration

Brick-lined streets, buzzy restaurants, biking trails, and boutique shopping...

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Make time for Celebration

Brick-lined streets, buzzy restaurants, biking trails, and boutique shopping—Celebration is a walkable town so near-perfect you won’t be surprised to learn it was designed by Disney’s finest. An easy-breezy Sunday schedule is as simple as a stop at the farmers market, a post-lunch stroll around Lake Evalyn and Lake Rianhard, and a dreamy horse-drawn carriage ride.

 

Photo: Celebration Town Center


Your Ticket to Ride

Photo: Old Town

World-renowned theme parks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Florida’s wild rides. These amusement and entertainment centers in and around Kissimmee deliver all-ages excitement for even the tightest budget. (Yes, you can expect dinosaurs and outer space.)

Throw it back in Old Town

It’s Throwback Thursday every day in Old Town...

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Throw it back in Old Town

It’s Throwback Thursday every day in Old Town Kissimmee. Step into this recreated classic Florida town—a walking district, really—to get your kicks with classic car shows, carousel rides, and midway games. Sleight of hand at The Great Magic Hall and the bicep-busting Xtreme Ninja Challenge will do the unthinkable: keep your teen’s hands phone-free.

 

Photo: Old Town


Go old-school at Fun Spot

Go Karts, Bumper Kars, arcade games, and more...

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Go old-school at Fun Spot

Go-karts, bumper cars, arcade games, and more—the name says it all. Fun Spot America-Kissimmee is the spot for low-cost, family-friendly fun that delivers maximum ride-ability and minimal wait times. Plus, their Vortex Track saves you a trip to the coast: This four-story racetrack has the world’s steepest banking curves that make even the Daytona Speedway shudder in delight.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Launch into orbit at Kennedy Space Center

As close to an out-of-this-world experience as you can get...

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Launch into orbit at Kennedy Space Center

As close to an out-of-this-world experience as you can get without jumping in a rocket ship, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has a Shuttle Launch Experience that’ll send you wide-eyed into the (virtual) stratosphere. You’ll get a prelaunch briefing by veteran Space Shuttle commander Charles Bolden before launching into orbit for nearly 10 minutes. Afterward, scope out the brand-new Deep Space Launch Complex to look at the future of interstellar travel.

 

Photo: Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock


Meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is the newest resident of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort...

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Meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig is the newest resident of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, and she wants to introduce your crew to all of her friends. This tot-friendly theme park is ideal for little legs and leisurely days. Running around Madame Gazelle’s Nature Trail and the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad will fill the time between a treasure hunt and dancing show with Peppa herself.

 

Photo: Experience Kissimmee


Tap into your inner Cretaceous at Dinosaur World

Dig into a different experience...

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Tap into your inner Cretaceous at Dinosaur World

Dig into a different experience at Dinosaur World. This inclusive, autism-friendly theme park has life-size dinosaur statues and interactive exhibits perfect for making lasting memories—and it just so happens to be the largest dinosaur park in the world. We recommend rolling your Cretaceous crew in with a cooler, a wagon for your paleontologists-in-training, and even your pooch.

 

Photo: Konstantin Tolokonnikov/Shutterstock



This post is proudly produced in partnership with Experience Kissimmee.