We all know Kissimmee, Florida is well known for the main attractions – Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. But there is so much more to the area than just that famous mouse. I had a chance to experience some fun new adventures first-hand during my recent trip – and they are a must if you head to the state…

1. Don’t stay in a hotel.

Hotels are expensive, cramped, and can be unsafe for kids to wander around. An alternative? Stay in a vacation home. Kissimmee is known as one of the top vacation home capitals of the US, but nobody really seems to know about it. When you stay in a vacation home you are getting all of the comfort of your own home and then some. Rentals with Jeeves Vacation Homes offers sizes to accommodate every group.

2. Zipline through the trees.

Orlando Tree Trek offers 4 courses for your to do some crazy climbing, ziplining, and walking across tightropes high in the trees. Sounds dangerous, but don’t worry – the safety harness will keep you from falling! The courses are not for little kids but older children and adults will have an amazing time acting like a monkey and swinging through the trees!

3. Kayak with the alligators.

The Paddling Center offers single and tandem kayaks (plus canoes and paddle boards) for a quiet and relaxing float down Shingle Creek. Here you will find all sorts of wildlife – including alligators! You may also see other animals such as cranes, egrets, turtles, and the North American river otter. The creek is very calm so newbies can kayak with no problems (you will get a quick lesson in paddling before heading out). The more experienced can try paddle boarding!

4. Visit Disney Springs.

Disney Springs is a great place to go if you don’t necessarily want to go to Walt Disney World but still want to have a bit of a Disney experience. Shops and restaurants line the walk – including LEGO Store, Kate Spade, and House of Blues. If you head there visit Chef Art Smith’s Homecookin’ where you will find many house-made flavors of moonshine and farm-to-table dining. Be sure to try the specialty of Chicken and Doughnuts – you will not be disappointed!

5. Bike ride through Celebration, Florida.

A fun activity is visiting the small town of Celebration. When you head in, you will notice that every lawn is well manicured, every store is quaint and adorable. The reason for this is because Walt Disney designed Celebration with a small-town theme in mind. Celebration Bike Tours offers rentals of bikes, 3 wheelers, and electric surreys to see some of the sites. The bike tour will take you all over the town and through several neighborhoods where you will see the charm that Disney wanted to portray. You might see some alligators in the man-made lakes but they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them!

BONUS – check to see if Alaska Airlines flies from your local airport to Orlando/MCO. Just last week Alaska Air started offering non-stop flights from my home in Portland, Oregon to Orlando. Alaska Airlines is adding new flights to their schedules regularly so be sure to check them out first when booking your trip.

See? There is so much more to do than theme parks in Orlando that you would never see in many other places. When you book your travel make sure you give yourself and extra day or two to check out these excursions before heading back home.

Thank you to Experience Kissimmee and Alaska Airlines for providing travel and adventure. All opinions are 100% my own.