Located in central Florida’s Seminole County, Oviedo is a city with only about 33,000 residents, but it has one of the most robust growth rates in the region.
Relatively equidistant between Orlando to the southwest and Daytona Beach to the northeast, though it’s not on the coast, it’s just an easy drive to some of the Sunshine State’s most beautiful beaches.
In recent years, the city has ranked highly in the most livable city category in many travel magazines. Its proximity to universities and research facilities means a higher than average level of education and household income.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Oviedo, Florida.
1. Center Lake Park
Oviedo’s Center Lake Park is chockfull of recreation activities, and along with its convenient location, it’s a big hit with locals and visitors who want to enjoy the great outdoors without spending hours in the car.
The park’s amenities include an amphitheater, a dog park, playgrounds, and a splash pad that’s the perfect place to cool off and have fun with the little ones when the summer temps are near the triple digits.
The lakeside promenade is a popular walking area in the morning and afternoon when the sun isn’t so blistering, and there are paddle boat rentals available at the marina.
2. The Black Hammock Restaurant and Airboat Tours
No trip to Florida is complete without an airboat tour, and for those staying in the Oviedo area, the Black Hammock is the place to make it happen.
Black Hammock is a popular restaurant that also offers guests a variety of swamp excursions including eco-tours, sunset tours, and perennial favorite combo-options that boast adult beverages and dinner. These are great date night ideas or just a pleasantly unique way to spend an evening with your significant other.
Regardless of when you go, you’ll likely see a number of swamp denizens like gators, snakes, turtles, and wading and predatory birds as well.
3. The Artistic Hand Gallery and Studio
The Artistic Hand Gallery and Studio is one of the area’s most unique art destinations and is a nice departure from most of its gallery and studio contemporaries that tend to be a bit stiff and structured.
Artistic Hands is open from Monday through Saturday and features a variety of locally created art including pottery, paintings, jewelry, and several mixed-media pieces that truly defy categorization.
In addition to its exhibits, the gallery offers a selection of educational and instructional events; one of the most popular is the introduction to glass blowing course.
It’s a great place to pick up a unique keepsake to remind you of your trip.
4. Pappy’s Patch U-Pick Strawberries
With its abundant year-round sun, warm weather, and ample rain, Florida is one of the country’s largest agricultural states, and particularly well-known for its winter berries.
Located on Florida Avenue in Oviedo, Pappy’s Patch U-Pick Strawberries is a fun, family-oriented destination that gets visitors up close to the foods that most of us take for granted.
U-Pick means guests grab a basket and head out into the fields to pick their own ripe fruit, so dress accordingly.
Strawberry season typically lasts from December until late March or April. Remember, berries freeze well, so if you can get them home safely, buy extra.
5. The Pinball Lounge
Located inside the Oviedo Bowling Center on East Broadway Street, the Pinball Lounge is pretty much what you’d expect from its name: a lounge with lots of pinball machines.
The lounge boasts nearly 20 pinball machines, some of which are new and others that are vintage classics, like Indian Jones and Batman.
Be warned that a visit to the Pinball Lounge may trigger long trips down memory lane. Once you’ve had your fill of the machines, you’ll find some dining tables and a complete food and drink menu.
It’s a great place to chill out when the excitement and noise of the bowling alley gets to be a bit much.
6. Orlando City Soccer Club
The Orlando City Soccer Club is one of the newest teams in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Division, and with the popularity of soccer finally catching on in America – as it has been in the rest of the world for ages – the future is looking pretty bright for the team.
Many of the team’s players are from Mexico and Central and South America and are wildly popular with Florida’s diverse population of immigrants.
Soccer matches at the stadium are exhilarating even for those who don’t have a favorite team, and the tickets are a fraction of what you’d pay for a major league football or baseball game.
7. Ride The Wheel At ICON Park Orlando
Rumor has it that the Wheel At ICON Park Orlando was constructed with top-secret technology that gives passengers the smoothest ride of any Ferris wheel in the world.
Though that’s a claim that hasn’t been substantiated, most guests are thrilled with the smooth ride, air conditioning, and amazing views provided by the wheel’s gondolas.
At its tallest, the wheel reaches nearly 400 feet high. It’s operated by the same company that built and runs the London Eye.
Though it may not be a good fit for those scared of heights, it’s a fantastic opportunity to experience Florida’s majesty from a bird’s eye view.
8. House of Blues Orlando
The American south was the birthplace of the blues. Though most people typically associate Memphis with the soulful music more than they do Orlando, for music lovers visiting central Florida, there’s still a world-class venue that’s a must-visit attraction.
House of Blues Orlando hosts a variety of nationally-known performers throughout the year, and often feature up-and-coming local musicians and groups as well, so in that respect, it’s a great way to support the local economy.
The facility is known for its great food and adult beverages too. The best way to keep abreast of what’s going on is by checking the calendar of events on their website periodically.
9. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
At nearly 150,000 acres, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest preserved areas of its kind in the state and is home to a variety of habitats and plant and animals species that have become rare or endangered in other parts of the state.
The refuge sits alongside NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the area’s largest barrier island. Not surprisingly, access to the refuge can be curtailed due to launch activity, so it’s always a good idea to check online before making a special trip.
It’s common to see turtles, snakes, gators, and even manatees and bobcats within the refuge.
10. Harry P. Leu Gardens
With such a perfect sub-tropical climate, it’s no wonder that South Florida is home to such a variety of botanical gardens. For plant, tree, and flower lovers who find themselves in Orlando with time to kill, there’s no better place to explore than the Harry P. Leu Gardens.
Harry P. Leu Gardens are really a number of distinct cultivated gardens containing some of the state’s most complete collections of flowers that bloom at different times of the year.
The grounds, home, and gardens were given to the city of Orlando by a local family in the early ‘60s, and though the gardens are currently open to the public, the historic house isn’t due to damage sustained by Hurricane Irma.
11. Orlando Museum of Art
The Orlando Museum of Art is home to one of central Florida’s most complete collections and was founded in 1924 to present the community with art that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
The museum typically hosts a dozen exhibits onsite annually. In addition, they offer a variety of community programs that focus on art awareness, education, and instruction for visitors of most ages and levels of ability.
Much of the art on display is contemporary and was created by local and regional artists, though several international influences are represented as well.
Check their website for their schedule of upcoming events.
12. The Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center and NASA are the reason the central portion of Florida’s Atlantic coast is called ‘The Space Coast,’ and it’s one of the state’s iconic attractions that shouldn’t be passed up.
Tours of the center include IMAX movies, flight simulators, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, as well as the historic control room and launch pad from previous missions.
Most tours of the space center depart from Orlando and include round-trip transportation, and many of them include stops at outlet malls along the way, where guests can grab a bite to eat and engage in a little retail therapy.
13. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Located in nearby Apopka, Wekiwa Springs State Park is a natural attraction that’s known for the cool shimmering waters that bubble from below the earth’s surface, making its pools the perfect places to cool off on a hot summer day.
For those who’d rather work up a sweat before plunging into the refreshing springs, there are many activity options in the park, like cycling, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.
The park has an abundance of wildlife as well, and many guests bring snorkels and masks to explore the sub-aquatic landscape.
The park is just a few miles off Interstate 4.
14. Orlando Brewing Company
There’s something about the combination of sea, sand, and sky that makes microbrews so refreshing in the Sunshine State.
Located just off Interstate 4, the Orlando Brewing Company features about 20 craft beers on tap at any one time. With such a variety of flavor profiles, it’s likely there’ll be one to satisfy even the most finicky taste buds.
From IPAs and wheat beers to stouts and porters, the options are plentiful. For those who’d like to get an insider’s look at how beer is made, the brewery offers free tours in the evenings from Monday through Saturday.
15. Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a world-class attraction that has perfected the art of rolling education and entertainment into one for a unique package.
The center’s engaging, interactive exhibits touch on animals, the natural world, technology, space, and dinosaurs, to name just a few. The staff offers a wide range of supplemental programs, many of which are aimed at introducing young ones to the wonders of science.
Considering the scope of the center, the cost of admission is very reasonable, and most families end up staying longer than expected.
There’s also an onsite coffee shop for weary parents.