Belle Isle is located in central Florida’s Orange County and had a population of slightly fewer than 7,000 residents at the time of the last census.
The city of Belle Isle sits among the Conway Chain of Lakes just to the south of Orlando. It was home to the Timucua Native American people for thousands of years before the area was first explored and officially settled.
Outdoor recreation options abound, and there are a variety of state and national parks, as well as cultural, historical, and entertainment options in the nearby urban and rural areas.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Belle Isle, Florida.
1. Conway Chain of Lakes
The Conway Chain of Lakes are one of the area’s most prominent natural features and provide a wide range of recreational activities for nature lovers and all-around outdoor enthusiasts.
Popular lake activities include waterskiing and swimming, and the largemouth bass fishing is nothing short of world-class.
Guided fishing tours are available from several local providers, and boat rentals are available nearby for those who’d rather hit the water on their own.
Remember that regardless of whether you’re a Florida resident or an out of state visitor, you’ll need a valid Florida fishing license to be in compliance.
2. The Florida Mall
Though they often get a bad rap and don’t rank high on many traveler’s itineraries, malls can offer tons of dining, shopping, and activity options. They’re the perfect places to spend a few hours when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside.
The Florida Mall attracts nearly 20 million visitors every year. Its proximity to the downtown area and the Orlando International Airport make it a convenient attraction for those with limited time.
There is also a hotel and conference center on-site, and they often feature live entertainment, especially on the weekends, so even for those who aren’t interested in shopping, there’s a lot going on.
3. Warren Park
Belle Isle has many small parks spread around town, and Warren Park is one of the most convenient and often visited, especially for those with kids.
The park offers guests easy lake access, paved walking paths, and a playground for little ones. There are plenty of covered seating areas for those trying to get out of the oppressive Florida sun.
The park is free to visit. It’s a popular picnic and exercise destination, especially during the cooler fall and winter months. It’s within walking distance of the city’s other parks, lakes, and a number of restaurants.
4. Cork & Fork American Grill
Farm to table restaurants are a new craze that have become popular with food lovers who prefer to support local farmers. They’re a great way to minimize the environmental impacts that result when food is produced on mega-farms far away from local communities.
Cork & Fork American Grill is located just a stone’s throw from Belle Isle on South Conway Road in Orlando. They are known for their fresh local ingredients, ample serving sizes, and environmentally conscious sourcing practices.
Their hearty American fare includes burgers, steaks, soups, and salads, and they have a popular happy hour from 3 until 7 PM during the week.
5. Universal City Walk
Universal’s City Walk is the perfect option for those who’d like to have access to abundant dining, entertainment, and activity options without spending a day in a kid-filled theme park.
The City Walk is distinct and separate from Universal’s iconic central Florida location. It’s home to restaurants, theaters, and live entertainment venues that are appropriate for visitors of most ages and interests.
Margaritaville, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and the IMAX Theater are popular attractions. For those who’d rather take a leisurely stroll as the sun sets, it’s perfect for that too.
City Walk can draw crowds, so consider a morning or weekday visit to avoid the hordes.
6. Lake Baldwin Trail
Lake Baldwin Trail is a paved, multi-use trail system that winds its way through many Orlando neighborhoods and features plenty of convenient access points.
The trail is open to walkers and bikers and is appropriate for those of most ages and levels of physical ability. It’s okay for strollers and wheelchairs too.
The trail is most popular in the cool morning and afternoon hours and offers visitors a wide range of sights, including natural and developed areas. It’s common to see a variety of birds and other local wildlife.
There’s ample parking near the trailheads, and users claim that it’s rarely crowded.
7. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
Though it’s not huge by Florida nature preserve standards, the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve has a way of making visitors feel like they’re farther away from the city’s hustle and bustle than they really area.
The preserve is spread across more than 400 acres of mostly undisturbed land that gives guests a glimpse into the area’s past as it was hundreds of years ago before development became the norm.
The preserve includes a lake, wetlands, hardwood forests, and meandering trails that lead to each distinct area.
Most of the preserve’s trails are easy to moderate and appropriate for all ages, and it’s common to see wildlife.
8. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is located in nearby Winter Park just a short drive from Belle Isle. It’ss home to one of the world’s most complete collections of arts and crafts created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The collection includes pottery, paintings, and jewelry in addition to the artist’s namesake lamps and stained-glass lampshades. Many of the items on display were once housed in Tiffany’s Long Island home and studio.
Admission to the museum is inexpensive, and they often offer free admission on Friday nights between November and April; but not surprisingly, those nights tend to draw crowds.
9. Disney Springs
Though it was previously called Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, Disney Springs is another popular theme park alternative that’s chockfull of dining, lodging, and entertainment options to suit a wide range of budgets and tastes.
Disney Springs’ popular amenities include a bowling alley, hot-air balloon rides, movie theaters, and luxury retail shops. Previous guests have noted that though they only planned on spending a few hours, Disney Springs ended up occupying nearly a full day.
House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil shows are popular venues. It’s all located in Bay Lake, which is convenient to reach from both Belle Isle and Orlando.
10. Orlando Science Center
Located on East Princeton Street, the Orlando Science Center is a popular attraction for those traveling with little ones in need of some mental stimulation.
The center’s interactive exhibits touch on animals, the natural world, technology, aviation, and history. Though it’s definitely a kid-centered attraction, adults usually end-up having a great time too.
Orlando Science Center is open daily and offers regularly scheduled programs like light shows, movies, and guided tours that are educational and enlightening.
It’s an especially popular destination when the weather outside isn’t pleasant, so expect crowds and a loud environment if that’s when you go.
For those new to an area who are traveling on a budget, public transportation can be an inexpensive means of getting the lay of the land and compiling a list of attractions you’d like to visit.
Orlando’s Sunrail is a modern, double-decker train that’s inexpensive to ride. It winds its way through many of the city’s neighborhoods, and there are stations conveniently located in Winter Park, downtown Orlando, and at the Florida Mall.
The trail features nearly 20 stops, many of them near popular tourist attractions. Riding all day won’t put a strain on your travel budget.
12. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
For lovers of the unique, eerie, and macabre, there’s nothing like Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
Featuring nearly 600 exhibits designed to stun, shock, and entertain, it usually ends up being one of the most memorable activities on many visitor’s trips to the area. Though it’s probably not a great fit for the overly squeamish, it offers a little something for most ages.
The museum features life-size wax replicas of famous people and exotic memorabilia from nearly every corner of the globe, like shrunken heads and tales of oddities, horror, and the downright unbelievable. Most visitors spend between one and two hours inside.
13. Sea Life Aquarium
Located on International Drive in Orlando, Sea Life Aquarium is an iconic central Florida attraction that draws crowds from all over the state and country.
The aquarium features hundreds of thousands of gallons of water-filled tanks that are home to an amazing array of local and exotic marine life. There are plenty of interactive exhibits, regularly scheduled programs, and even an indoor playground to keep kids busy for hours.
Sharks, eels, and sea turtles are usually the big hits, but it’s pretty common for adults and children alike to learn about new and fascinating animals they never knew existed.
14. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
For many amateur historians and maritime enthusiasts, the Titanic disaster is a historic icon that captures their imaginations like few others.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is an interactive attraction that includes a huge variety of authentic Titanic artifacts, as well as historical photographs, first-hand accounts, and documentation relating to the doomed ship’s fateful journey.
Open daily, there are dinner and theater option combos available on Friday and Saturday nights; they’re the perfect way to spend a night for those who’d like to get the most bang for their limited vacation time and experience the Titanic in a truly unique way.
15. ICON Orlando
The ICON Orlando Ferris wheel stretches more than 400 feet into the atmosphere over Orlando and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Visitors who aren’t bothered by heights can ride in an enclosed gondola to the wheel’s apex, from where they’ll see the city and surrounding country from a bird’s eye view.
When the weather is clear, it’s even possible to see Cape Canaveral on the coast. ICON is located in a trendy shopping and entertainment district that features abundant dining options, live performances, and even lodging, making it a great alternative for those not interested in pricey theme parks.