The city of Orlando is a place made for families and couples. With a history rich in Native American, early American and modern culture, Orlando is a city of metropolitan charm with heavy roots in its past.
Originally named Orlando's Grave when pioneers found the name carved into a tree and assumed it to be a grave marker for Orlando Reeves, a sugar mill operator, the area shortly after took on its current name.
Orlando was the site of numerous important Civil War and Seminole War battles. Fort Gaitlin, established in 1838, would later become the area Orlando would center near as settlers flowed in to raise cattle. It was in the late 1800s Orlando became a region known for growing citrus.
Modern day Orlando is still known for its prosperous citrus plantations. The middle of the 20th century also brought Orlando to the forefront of aerospace and electronic fields when Martin Marrietta, a defense/aerospace company, was developed. Later, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center were established, firmly rooting Orlando as an important site in the future of space exploration. The family tourist attractions the city is also popular for began in 1971 with the completion of Walt Disney World. Now guests of Orlando villa rentals flock for the huge tourist attractions that include the EPCOT Center, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, and Universal Studios Florida, among others.
Orlando is a bustling, vivid metropolitan city with a lively night life, numerous recreational sporting activities, great shopping, festivals, fine dining, music halls and museums. The beaches and lakes make for excellent water sports activities, simply relaxing in the sun, or picnicking.Orlando Geographic Information
The Orlando area is home to over 100 lakes and is rivaled only by the Twin Cities in number of natural lakes in its metropolitan area. Some of the largest lakes are Lake Apopka, Eustis, Griffin, Harney, Harris, Jessup, Monroe, Saint Cloud, and Tohopakaliga.
Located in Orange County, Orlando is centrally situated in Florida and close to numerous popular beaches including Daytona Beach. Orlando is 127 feet above sea level, and has a total area of 2,856 square miles. The downtown area is highly developed with skyscrapers and modern architecture, and its suburbs are some of the fastest growing areas in the country.Orlando Weather Overview
Florida is known as the "Sunshine State" for a reason. And central Florida's subtropical climate has long been a big reason why Orlando vacation rentals are packed each season. The average temperature throughout the year is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and visitors to Orlando villas find the temperatures slightly warmer in the summer. However, the summer afternoons can often be tempered by short-lived showers or thunderstorms, which make for a sight themselves. For the most part visitors can expect lots of sunlight to bask in, calm breezes, and very desirable temperatures.Orlando Vacation Rentals, Orlando Villas & Orlando Vacation Homes
A wide assortment of Orlando vacation rentals are readily available year-round. Visitors have at their disposal lakeside resorts, small cozy inns, Orlando villa rentals, private rental homes, and plentiful hotels. All options provide visitors a home base from which they can explore all that Orlando and its surrounding area have to offer.Local Events of Interest to Orlando Vacation Rentals Guests
Orlando's calendar of events is filled with activities that showcase and celebrate the region's history, culture, and unique Florida charm. The Annual Florida Film Festival taking place in April is an enriching experience for the film buffs of Orlando villa rentals. The film festival takes place at Winter Park's Enzian Theater, and there are 10 days of movie premieres, film competitions, educational forums and seminars, and celebrity-studded parties. With a long history in independent film making, this Florida film festival showcases over 70 films, with 11 categories of competition.
March of every year brings the Central Florida Fair to Orlando. This big, annual event has taken place for over 90 years now, and is perfect for families. With dozens of free shows including music, animal acts, stunt shows, dance and more, guests of Orlando vacation homes are sure to find something to fill their day. The Fair houses over 100 rides and attractions, a wide assortment of food, art, and a livestock complex with hundreds of animals on display.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a month-long event taking place every year in October. Guests of Orlando vacation homes can tickle their palates with sophisticated cuisine and fine wines by taking part in daily food and wine parings and the weekly "Party for the Senses" event. Over 100 wineries are featured, and numerous professionally prepared dishes from around the globe. Featured events include live entertainment, guest chefs, culinary demonstrations and samplings, beer and wine seminars and tastings, and varied children's activities.
Throughout the year visitors will have the opportunity to view or take part in hundreds of events, including marathons, bike-a-thons, music and art festivals, harvest and food festivals, large holiday parties held lakeside or right downtown, as well as many other enriching activities.Dining and Nightlife Options in Orlando
Catfish, alligator, grits, barbecue and seafood are a few of Florida's menu staples and are prepared in many of their restaurants. Orlando's Restaurant Row is packed with a variety of restaurants featuring a wide assortment of taste and textures for both the sophisticated and casual palette. A veritable amusement park of restaurants, Restaurant Row's top 10 are often featured in many popular dining guides and receive prestigious awards and accolades.
The Crab House is among those top 10 and is known as a Florida landmark and "The Fun Place to Eat." This family-oriented restaurant is home to world famous garlic and steamed crabs, live Maine lobster, sumptuous shrimp selections, ocean fresh fish, all-you-can-eat salad, as well as a fun children's menu.
For a romantic evening of exquisite French cuisine and live jazz in an elegant atmosphere, guests of Orlando vacation homes frequent Le Provence Bistro. Also among Restaurant Row's top 10, the Bistro offers a delicate menu of seafood, meat, and vegetarian entrees, as well as delectable soups, salads, and desserts. Their Filet de Pore Roti Sauce au Curry Doux, (roasted pork tenderloin with sweet potato honey mash and sweet curry glaze) is sure to excite the senses.
For the night bird, Pleasure Island is a must see. With eight themed night clubs, and more on the way, Pleasure Island is sure to keep the night young and long. Guests of Orlando villas will find everything from 70s Day-glo decor and disco balls at clubs like 8Trax, to the elegance of the Pleasure Island Jazz Company. Also on Pleasure Island are rock 'n' roll clubs, western-style saloons, and the Comedy Warehouse featuring local and national comedians and improv groups.Orlando Attractions
The Orlando area is well known for its large tourist attractions such as the Walt Disney World resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort. The Walt Disney World resort is the area's largest draw, where families visiting Orlando really have a whole world of adventure as their disposal with the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney.
Not too far away is SeaWorld Orlando, a large adventure park featuring a variety of zoological displays and marine animals alongside an amusement park with roller coasters and water park.
Universal Orlando mirrors Walt Disney World in that it's comprised of numerous facets including Universal Studios Florida, CityWalk, and Islands of Adventure theme park.
Guests of Orlando vacation rentals can't miss Cirque du Soleil located in Downtown Disney West Side. The Orlando Cirque du Soleil features over 70 artists from around the world performing a renowned blend of acrobatics and special effects.
The list of attractions can seem endless and almost intimidating, but places like Gatorland, the Kennedy Space Center, World of Orchids, Central Florida Zoological Park (home to a butterfly garden), and Jungleland, among many other sites, are all good reasons to return to Orlando.Overview of Orlando Activities
Aside from the huge tourist attractions like Walt Disney World, Orlando is also an excellent place for outdoor activities, especially water sports. With over 100 lakes in the area, water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, sailing, and sunbathing are all prime Orlando pastimes. And in close proximity to great beaches, the ocean waves are ready for surfing. Orlando is a wonderfully romantic city with places like Lake Eola Park, where couples can have lakeside picnics or take a boat out onto the water. Serene paths around the lakes, or avenues through downtown, make bike rides and hikes choice activities. Places like Old Town keep visitors outdoors with eight restaurants, 15 amusement park rides and 75 shops along its brick-lined streets. Throughout the downtown area and Restaurant Row are hundreds of top notch restaurants sure to satisfy a variety of palettes. And shopping experiences range from outlet shopping to upscale fashion department stores. A whole world of experiences is available to the guest of Orlando vacation rentals.