Secluded Family-Friendly Resort and Golf Course Close to Orlando
Less than 15 miles from Orlando's theme parks, a palm-flanked pool with a bubbling waterfall represents the day's last attraction—and this one doesn't require a 45-minute wait in line. The pool (one of four) belongs to Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club, a family-friendly retreat situated a short shuttle ride from Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.
Furnished with plush couches, glass tables, and king- or queen-size beds, the resort's one- and two-bedroom villas feature fully appointed kitchens and whirlpool baths whose gushing water jets can eradicate any lingering vacation-based aches. The property's quartet of pools includes Dunes Lagoon, which boasts a two-story water slide and private cabanas where you can lounge and watch fellow guests dive, cannonball, and ride tractors into the water.
Mystic Dunes Golf Club's championship course was designed by PGA Tour alum and television analyst Gary Koch, who incorporated 80-foot elevation changes, rolling dunes, and scenic vistas. The front nine recalls the Carolinian Lowcountry—all wetland, marsh, and cypress forest—and the back nine transports players across the pond with British-style links punctuated by pot bunkers and lush fairways.
Kissimmee, Florida: Easy Access to World-Famous Theme Parks and Major Orlando Attractions
Located on the banks of Lake Tohopekaliga, Kissimmee sits about 22 miles from downtown Orlando and just 16 miles from the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks. The world’s most-visited entertainment resort, it spans roughly 30,000 acres, encompassing four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney® area. There’s no shortage of things to do here: begin your day by boarding a rocket-shaped three-seater that climbs to 180 feet before entering a deep black tunnel and racing past stars, satellites, and constellations. Walk across the park to sample Moroccan cuisine for lunch, or ride a dune buggy through a haunted 18th-century mansion. Before heading back to the hotel, take in the nightly fireworks, laser, and water show. As one of the most popular family destinations in the world, sunny Orlando is home to other theme parks including Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando.
Those hoping to shake up the typical theme-park-dominated itinerary can head into downtown Orlando's vibrant arts district. The neighborhood boasts venues such as the CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which holds improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north, you’ll find several cultural institutions surrounding Orlando Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art, with a collection featuring pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Science Center. Visit the Science Center to take a rover across a simulation of Mars’s red surface or race model cars down a 70-foot pinewood-derby track.
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