Lake Mary is a suburban city in central Florida’s Seminole County and has a population of just more than 15,000 residents.
It’s a northern suburb of Orlando and a key center in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area.
In many ways, its location is perfect in that it’s close enough to the Atlantic coast to make day trips a convenient option, and just a short drive from many of the area’s world-famous theme parks too.
There’s definitely no shortage of recreation activities, dining, or lodging options nearby, and many of them are surprisingly affordable.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Lake Mary, Florida.
1. Lake Mary Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are as abundant in Florida as golf courses and beaches, and they’re perfect places to visit first for those exploring an unfamiliar area.
Not only are they chock-full of locally grown and produced products, but the vendors are local farmers, artisans, and entrepreneurs who’ve usually lived and worked in the area for ages, making them great resources for those who aren’t sure how to fill their time.
Lake Mary Farmer’s Market takes place in the downtown area on Saturday mornings. In addition to produce, there are a variety of prepared foods, arts and crafts, baked goods, and even fresh flowers.
2. Lake Mary Museum
For those looking for an interesting historic destination that’s easy to find and won’t cost an arm and a leg, there’s no better attraction than the Lake Mary Museum.
It’s not the state’s largest museum, but it’s full of fascinating exhibits and interesting tidbits of local history, many of which date back to the time before the area was officially settled prior to the Civil War.
The museum features permanent exhibits and often hosts temporary ones from other institutions as well.
They often display art from local artists, and there are a variety of events throughout the year that include festivals, guest speakers, and holiday celebrations.
3. Trailblazer Park
Lake Mary’s Trailblazer Park is part of a larger sports complex that offers guests a wide variety of recreational activities.
The park is open every day from 8 AM until sunset, and during the hot summer months, there is a splash pad and water park that are the perfect places to beat the oppressive Florida heat at its own game.
The park’s amenities include playgrounds, walking trails with exercise stations, pavilions, and covered picnic areas with plenty of restrooms.
Some of the park’s amenities are only open seasonally, so check online before making a special trip. Expect a crowd during peak times, especially on weekends.
4. Emil Buehler Planetarium
Located on Weldon Boulevard on the campus of Seminole State College in nearby Sanford, the Emil Buehler Planetarium is an engaging, educational, and inexpensive attraction that provides a lot of bang for traveler’s hard-earned vacation dollars.
Featuring comfy seats, cool air-conditioning, and a host of live and interactive space-related shows, it’s a rare community resource gem that’s often overlooked by many travelers.
The planetarium features laser and light shows in addition to their more traditional ones. Parents who’ve visited with their kids have noted that it was both entertaining and informative for everyone in their group regardless of age.
5. Graffiti Junktion
Located on Lake Mary’s trendy Market Promenade Avenue, Graffiti Junktion is a no-frills destination for those who like their meals hearty, hot, and made with fresh ingredients.
Graffiti Junktion is particularly known for its classic American burgers; they come in a variety of mouth-watering varieties sure to tempt even the most finicky eaters.
Previous guests have noted that the restaurant had a pleasant vibe that was both relaxed and comfortable as well as trendy and contemporary.
They’ve got plenty of adult beverage options, play an eclectic mix of music, feature indoor and outdoor seating, and have lots of kid-friendly menu items too.
6. Planet Obstacle
For aspiring Ninja warriors, rock climbers, bumper car drivers, and all-around adrenaline junkies, there’s no better place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours than Planet Obstacle in Lake Mary.
With more activity options than it’s possible to list here, Planet Obstacle is a perennial favorite of travelers with kids – it’s especially popular when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside.
Most visitors typically spend a few hours on-site and consider the cost of admission good value considering all that’s included.
Though the facility is primarily for kids, active parents will have ample opportunity to join in as well.
7. Timacuan Golf Club
Located on Timacuan Boulevard in Lake Mary, Timacuan Golf Club features an 18-hole, par-72 course that’s considered by many savvy golfers to be one of central Florida’s best values.
The course is slightly shorter than many of its competitors, which means that a typical round takes from 3 to 3 ½ hours, leaving plenty of time for other activities.
Nearly every hole features a variety of sand and water hazards, and much of the course is surrounded by scenic natural habitat.
With a variety of tee box options, the course is appropriate for players of most ages and levels of ability.
8. Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park includes land in both Lake and Seminole Counties and is traversed by the Wekiva and St. Johns Rivers.
The park features a number of entrances that make it convenient to visit for those traveling from different areas. It’s particularly popular for nature lovers and outdoorsy types who prefer fresh air and wide-open spaces to congested theme parks and developed beaches.
Park activities include kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. Many visitors choose to stop at a visitors’ center to pick up a map before venturing out on their own into the wild.
9. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Located in nearby Winter Park, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is one of the country’s most complete repositories of items produced by world-famous artist and craftsman Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The items on display at the Hosmer Morse Museum include paintings, drawings, pottery, and of course, the bronze lamps and stained glass lampshades for which the man is most well-known.
Many of the items were created at Tiffany’s Long Island, New York studio, and there’s quite a bit of historical content relating to his life as well.
Admission is inexpensive, students get a discount, and they offer admission-free Friday evenings as well.
10. Universal CityWalk
Universal CityWalk is one of Orlando’s most popular attractions and is a distinct destination from Universal Studios.
CityWalk is less of a theme park and more of a self-contained town that’s full of dining, shopping, and live entertainment options, making it popular with a slightly older crowd than many other area destinations.
Featuring well-known eateries like Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Café, it’s a popular late afternoon and evening venue that often features live music and Vegas-style shows like Blue Man Group.
There’s also an IMAX Theatre, mini-golf course, and lots of chill watering holes catering to an adult-only crowd.
12. Universal’s Island of Adventure
Universal’s Island of Adventure was opened in 1999 and has since become a favorite destination, especially for aficionados of all things Harry Potter, who are magically drawn to the island’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The island is comprised of seven distinct areas that include The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, and Marvel Super Hero Island, to name a few.
From amusement park-style rides and flight simulators to stunt and firework shows and a variety of live entertainment, there’s no excuse for boredom on the Island of Adventure.
Universal’s Island of Adventure has been known to occupy visitors for days on end, but for those interested in other attractions, there are plenty nearby.
13. Magic Kingdom
Disney’s Magic Kingdom was the first of Walt Disney’s theme parks and is still one of the most popular, drawing an estimated 20 million visitors annually.
Needless to say, it’s not the kind of place that’s a good fit for those looking for a little peace and quiet, but for activity minded travelers with kids in tow, it’s the perfect place to spend a few days.
The kingdom is comprised of six distinct areas, including Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland. They include elements of history, culture, art, and technology that are engaging, informative, and downright fun.
Entrance to the kingdom isn’t cheap, and though it’s not easy parting with hundreds of dollars for a typical family, it’s one of the most memorable experiences for many visitors to Florida.
14. The Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is located on Merritt Island along the Atlantic coast east of Lake Mary.
It’s one of the state’s most iconic, non-theme park destinations, and many tours of the facility originate in Orlando, which is close to Lake Mary.
The Kennedy Space Center has been ground zero for the country’s space program for decades, and there’s no better place to learn about it in its entirety.
From control rooms and launch sites to rockets and the Atlantis Space Shuttle, it’s a behind-the-scenes look that you won’t find anywhere else.
The tours make for long days, but most include roundtrip transportation and many stop at nearby outlet centers for those who’d like to engage in a little retail therapy.
15. Gatorland Orlando
No trip to the Sunshine State is complete without a little face time with the toothy and often immense gators that call Florida’s lakes, rivers, and lagoons home.
Gatorland Orlando is home to gators and crocs and lots of other amazing animals too.
Think of Gatorland as part zoo, part theme park, and part science museum. In addition to the animal exhibits, the park’s staff offer a wide variety of activities, including guided tours, regularly scheduled animal shows, and zip-lining.
Keep in mind that general admission doesn’t cover all activities, so you’ll need some extra bucks just in case.