Let there be a reason I get to come to Florida every year! I went last year and had the best time, so this year when Visit Florida asked me to come back I brought my mom along to join in on the fun. We started off in Kissimmee which was the perfect place to start. I didn’t know much about this big city, so I was majorly surprised with how many cool things to do in Kissimmee we found! It was by far my favorite places I visited in Florida, not just on this trip, but ever.
Most Epic Things To Do In Kissimmee Florida and Nearby
1. Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride With My Mom
We went up in a hot air balloon with Orlando Balloon Rides which was my second time going in one, and my mom’s first time (I did this in Wadi Rum). It’s definitely a different feeling going over a city with people waving up at you!
My mom gets motion sickness so badly that she has to take medicine even to fly by plane, but they promised her she wouldn’t get sick because the balloon goes with the wind so you don’t feel it. She was okay – so if she can do it, anyone can!
Location of Orlando Balloon Rides: 44294 US-27, Davenport, FL 33897
2. Hanging Out in Celebration, a Picture-Perfect Town Owned By Disney
Celebration, Florida has a really cool old-fashioned charm to it. This town is technically in the destination of Kissimmee and it’s probably the coolest place to stay in the area (and just 15 minutes to Universal depending on traffic).
This land was owned by Disney and it was going to be used to create an airport so that your Disney experience started the second you landed but Orlando airport was great, so that idea went out the window. Eventually, they did a lottery for people to get to build homes here. It’s so cute and the people here really love Disney! They film a lot here, too, since it’s so perfect. Desperate Housewives scenes were shot here on Wisteria Lane! How cool!
We took the Celebration Bike Tour for about 1.5 hours around town. You can tell the people who run these tours love their town and that makes you feel really at home. You can tell them your focus if no one else is on the tour (for me it was the town & homes, and less so the nature trails which were also cool).
Bike tour address: 700 Bloom Street Celebration, FL 34747 US (located by the Bohemian Hotel)
The whole time we were in Kissimmee, we stayed at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration which is an Autograph Collection boutique hotel. The hotel was great and the location was perfect. You can walk all over Celebration and it’s such a quick drive to everywhere we went. It was nice to stay in a small town outside the business of Orlando (although I love Orlando, too!).
Bohemian Hotel Celebration location: 700 Bloom St, Celebration, FL 34747
Did you spot the rainbow above?
The hotel restaurant, Lakeside Bar & Grill at the Bohemian Celebration, was pretty full all weekend and you can tell it’s really popular with locals who come here for drinks and to catch up. Please do yourself a favor and order the wedge salad with candied walnuts and bacon!
We also ran down the road to Holler and Dash to try their famous biscuits. I got their original style biscuit with fried chicken, pickles, and hot sauce. WOW. This was the bomb. I wish they had these all over the states!
Holler and Dash location: 6268 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Celebration, FL 34747
We walked down to dinner at the Columbia Restaurant and had our most memorable meal of the whole trip in Florida. They have this salad that is meant to be the top 10 salads in America so I got a half and half Cuban sandwich with the salad and it got the award for a good reason. It’s the best salad I’ve had in years! It doesn’t photograph well lol but man was it tasty. For a starter, we got pork ribs with hot sauce and hot peppers in it. All really really tasty. If we didn’t have somewhere to be after, I would have tried the Sangria as a lot of you Tweeted and IG messaged me saying to try the Sangria.
Columbia Restaurant location: 649 Front Street, Celebration, Florida 34747
3. SUP on Shingle Creek
Near the hotel (and the next location on this list) is the Paddling Center at Shingle Creek where you can do kayaking and SUP. My mom had recently cut her finger and had surgery on it so she couldn’t do SUP – so we didn’t stay too long (although the real reason was that I was terrified an alligator or python would get me which I know is crazy because I live in India.)
SUP location: 4266 W Vine St., Kissimmee, FL 34741
4. Flying In A Helicopter Over Disney for the Fireworks (so epic)
The fireworks at Epcot are at the same time every night, 9 pm. So we got to Max Flight Helicopter Services early to fill out forms. It’s just near the Paddling Center. The Epcot fireworks go for 12 minutes so the ride is just over that, around 15 minutes. Usually, the Magic Kingdom ones are randomly timed and they almost never overlap – BUT we got so lucky and they went off at the same time!
If you look at the photos, the Epcot ones are close, while the Magic Kingdom ones are the ones in the background. I was so glad I got my new lens, the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01MU3WOVP” locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Panasonic 35-100[/easyazon_link] which could zoom in on these fireworks from a shaky helicopter! No way my kit lens would have picked this up. It’s hard to believe this time last year, I was on a trip in Florida and still used my phone for pictures! My [easyazon_link identifier=”B01DOKHSH0″ locale=”US” tag=”Hipinhee-20″]Gx80[/easyazon_link] has changed everything!
Helicopter Location: Kissimmee Airport, 4010 4th St. Kissimmee, FL 34741
5. Universal, of course!
Last year, I got to go to Disney but didn’t get to go to Universal Orlando Resort so this year I was DYING to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s just down the road from our hotel and it was the BEST day of my life. I’m going to write another blog post in the future mainly to share all the pictures of Universal but also to tell you what I would do if I could do it again, so you don’t make my mistakes… and fingers crossed I manage to get back to Universal next year!
Universal Location: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819 (Universal technically falls under Kissimmee and Orlando)
We ate at Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar at Universal CityWalk and I got all my favorite things: deep-fried pickles and a burger that had jalapeno poppers on it! Like, what! That’s the best thing ever! The portions were huge, though, and we felt so bad wasting food…. I could definitely finish those pickles if someone put them in front of me right now, but maybe next year I’ll go back.
Cowfish Location: Universal CityWalk, 6000 Universal Blvd #700, Orlando, FL 32819
As you can see, there are so many cool things to do in and around Kissimmee, Florida. Have you been to any of these places? Tell me in the comments.