Located in central Florida’s Osceola County between Orlando and Kissimmee, St. Cloud is perfectly positioned to offer guests easy access to many of the state’s most popular tourist attractions.
With a population of just 35,000, St. Cloud is less urban and chaotic than many of its big-city neighbors and is particularly well-known for the three large lakes nearby that offer a variety of outdoor recreation activities.
The area is known for its world-famous theme parks too, so staying occupied and entertained won’t be an issue.
Below are 14 things to see and do in and around St. Cloud, Florida.
1. Reptile World Serpentarium
With its moist, subtropical air and abundant rainfall, central Florida is the perfect habitat for a variety of reptiles, and Reptile World Serpentarium is a premier destination for those who’d like to see them up close and personally.
The serpentarium features dozens of varieties of snakes, lizards, gators, and turtles, and though not are all dangerous to man, many of them are capable of killing by venom, constriction, strong jaws, and sharp teeth.
The regularly scheduled snake venom extraction show is a big hit, and for those feeling squeamish, there is a nice gift shop and plenty of seating areas away from the action.
2. Royal St. Cloud Golf Links
Located on Michigan Avenue in St. Cloud, the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links is a favorite local destination for golfers of all ages and abilities.
The course features four distinct tee boxes and plays about 7,100 yards from the blues.
Previous guests have noted that not all of the holes are the same as they are on many courses, and that it had a nice mix of treed and open areas and water and sand hazards that made things challenging without being overly frustrating.
Tee times go quickly during peak season, so plan ahead and reserve yours in advance.
3. Gatorland Orlando
Gatorland is central Florida’s premier destination for all things gator. For many visitors, it’ll be the only opportunity they’ll ever have to get hair-raisingly close to these massive, toothy predators.
Gatorland sits on more than 100 acres of land and is known as ‘The Alligator Capital of the World.’
Activities include zip-lining, croc and gator shows, and guided swamp walks.
To use a well-worn cliché, there’s a little something at Gatorland for everyone; though it’s not the cheapest attraction in town, it’s one of the most entertaining and educational.
There are onsite food and drink concessions and plenty of shaded seating areas as well.
4. Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides
Featuring rumbling engines with massive propellers loads of horsepower, airboats are the most exhilarating way to experience the swamps and glades for which the Sunshine State is famous.
Located on Neptune Road in nearby Kissimmee, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Ride’s excursions are manned by trained captains with gobs of experience, so you’ll not only see many denizens of the swamps, but you’ll do it safely.
It’s a good idea to pack some insect repellant, sunglasses, and long clothes to avoid the notorious bugs and brutal sun.
Tours can book quickly in peak season, so reserve your spot in advance if possible.
5. All Hitched Up
All Hitched Up is a locally owned and operated St. Cloud business that provides full-service horse tours and other equine-related services.
The staff at All Hitched up offer riding lessons for those of varying levels of experience. For those who’d rather not take the reins themselves, there are carriage tours available as well.
If you’re inexperienced but brave and willing to take the plunge, rest assured that you’ll get a patient horse and all the training you need to have a safe and fun experience exploring the area’s varied landscapes under the guidance of an experienced rider and guide.
6. Legoland Florida
More than just the world’s largest Lego construction site, Legoland Florida is really an amusement park, science center, and playground all rolled into one.
Most of Legoland’s rides, programs, and activities are geared toward pre-teens, but older kids and parents usually end up having a blast as well.
Be warned that admission to Legoland Florida can be a significant drain on those hard-earned travel dollars, but with so many activities to choose from, you may decide it’s good value.
Shuttle service to the site is offered from nearby towns, so check it out as it’ll save you a drive and the price of parking.
7. Crayola Experience
Crayola crayons have been staples of creative children for generations, and for those visiting central Florida, there’s no better place to celebrate the iconic brand and create a masterpiece or two than Crayola Experience in Orlando.
Crayola Experience is smaller than some other similar attractions, but it features more than two dozen interactive exhibits and activities that are all about interaction and creativity. In addition, guests will have the opportunity to sign up for a tour and learn how crayons are made.
The facility features playgrounds, baby changing areas, and plenty of comfy seating.
It can be a noisy and chaotic place, so if you’re after peace and quiet, consider other options.
8. Island of Adventure at Universal Studios
Universal Orlando is jam-packed with activities that cater primarily to families traveling with children.
It’s a one-stop destination for those who’d rather not spend half their vacation in a car traveling from one side of the state to the other.
Island of Adventure at Universal Studios was first opened in 1999 and includes a variety of distinct areas and features rollercoasters, games, and movie-related exhibits full of fun and recognizable characters.
With so much to see and do and so many admission options, it’s best to spend a bit of time on their website to get an idea of what’ll be best for you before heading out.
9. Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the iconic brand’s first theme park, and after all these years, it’s still one of the most popular.
It’s estimated that the Magic Kingdom hosts more than 20 million guests annually, and many of them are families that keep coming back year after year.
Featuring fireworks, parades, coasters, and a variety of action-packed simulators, the park is a high-speed dose of fun and activity like few others. Since there are a variety of onsite lodging and dining options, it’s a place that many families choose to spend their whole vacation.
Check online and in travel magazines for special offers and coupons before heading out.
10. Kennedy Space Center
Since the beginning, the Kennedy Space Center has been ground zero for America’s space program, and it’s one of Florida’s most visited tourist attractions.
The center is located on Space Commerce Way in nearby Merritt Island and is open from 9 AM to 7 PM daily.
Though it’s a bit of a drive from St. Cloud, many guided tours to the center begin in Orlando and include round-trip transportation.
The areas open to the public include a control room, launch site, and up-close views of the massive Atlantis Space Shuttle and Saturn V rockets.
Most tours include stops at nearby outlet malls as well for those who’d like to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.
11. The Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens
Located on Highland Avenue in nearby Melbourne, the Historic Rossetter House Museum and Garden grounds include a cemetery as well as pioneer-era homes and beautifully cultivated gardens.
For those looking for unique and thorough insights into the area’s past, there’s no better place to spend a few hours, and the preferred method of taking it all in is as part of a guided tour.
The homes are full of era furniture, art, and housewares, and guests will learn about the interesting and challenging lives of many of the home’s residents over the years as well.
Check out the gift shop before heading off to your next adventure.
12. The Liberty Bell Memorial Museum
Melbourne, Florida is a long way from Philadelphia, but it’s still a top destination for those interested in getting a refresher course in this iconic piece of American history.
A portion of the museum is dedicated to the entirety of American history; though it isn’t too long by world standards, it includes significant markers along the way.
The museum’s second portion is centered on the replica Liberty Bell and its role in the founding of the nation.
Best of all, the museum is free to visit, and it’s conveniently located close to other area attractions that you’ll likely want to check out too. Most guests spend about an hour on site.
13. Good Natured River Tours
Not to be confused with its evil twin that goes by the name Bad Natured River Tours, Melbourne’s Good Natured River Tours provide relaxing and scenic cruises along the coastal estuaries around the Banana River and Indian River Lagoon.
It’s not uncommon to see a variety of wildlife, including wading and predatory birds, gators, and even manatees and dolphins.
Tours generally last two hours and are guided by a Coast Guard licensed captain. Historic narration is included, and for many guests, their Good Natured River Tour experience was one of the highlights of their trip.
They’re conveniently located just off U.S. Route 1 in Melbourne.
14. Viera Wetlands
Viera Wetlands are one of the area’s most popular natural attractions and draw bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and all-around nature enthusiasts who come to escape the hustle and bustle of the nearby cities.
The wetlands include a number of trails; for those unfamiliar with the area, it’s wise to take a few minutes and check out the map posted near the trailhead.
The longest of the park’s trails stretches for nearly three miles and winds its way through a variety of habitats. It’s common to see lots of interesting animals, especially in the low light early morning and afternoon hours.