Nestled on the shores of the eponymous southern Florida lake, Lake Okeechobee Resort is an ideal base camp for outdoor recreation. Popular pursuits here include bass fishing, boating, and hiking or bicycling along a segment of the 1,400-mile Florida Trail that wends around the lake’s perimeter. You can set off into the lake from the resort’s 100-slip marina. From its location on the southeastern side of the lake, the resort has a spot to watch sunsets over the water.
For those camping, Lake Okeechobee Resort has especially long lots for oversized RVs or sleeping bags designed for giraffes. An onsite restaurant, public bathrooms, and pool take the edge off of roughing it while staying at the campground or in the cabins.
In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
During 29 years of drifting through the Florida skies, Orlando Balloon Rides had already amassed an impressive fleet of gargantuan flying inflatables when a new balloon arrived. The product of an ambitious factory in Spain, the newcomer holds more than 400,000 cubic feet of hot air and stands as tall as an 11-story building. Four times the size of the average hot air inflatable, it's among the most massive hot air balloons currently flown in the United States.
Now reigning as a popular vessel for the company's sunrise tours, the mammoth balloon can fly away with a basket of 24 passengers as it commands the skies, dwarfing most clouds and giving the Goodyear Blimp an identity crisis. From any of Orlando Balloon Rides' baskets, passengers take in high-altitude views of Walt Disney World and the city's skyline, sights visitors rarely get to see from above. Each of the company's hot air balloons is piloted by an FAA-certified pilot who also serves as a knowledgeable narrator of the scenery below.
Constructed in 1886, the residence now known as Haunted Grimm House sheltered the Grimm family funeral business until a triad of unfortunate events—the stock-market crash, a Grimm son's gradual descent into insanity, and a murderous butler—brought the clan to a macabre end. Nearly 100 years after the house's construction, the Old Town council⎯afraid to tear the building down lest they rouse wrathful spirits⎯decided to open the two-story home for tours.
…Or so visitors to Haunted Grimm House are told before embarking on 10- to 15-minute treks through the spooky structure's more than 4,000 square feet. Via winding corridors, patrons peek into the Victorian-style dwelling's 20 rooms, which claim to teem with ghouls, monsters, and chiropractors extracting the chills from spines.
In 1994, owners Chris and Margie Long established Boggy Creek Airboat Rides with a single, six-passenger vessel. Today, their fleet has grown to more than a dozen boats, and the business has whisked more than one million passengers through Orlando's nearby wetlands. From two locations, Boggy Creek's fan-propelled watercrafts launch into the Florida Everglades, exploring the swampy habitats of gators, turtles, eagles, exotic birds, and exiled Frankensteins. Four different tours offer varied experiences, including a night ride, during which participants observe red-eyed gators prowling for prey. US Coast Guard–certified captains helm every ride, which are safe for explorers of all ages—even infants.
Kissimmee Ghost Tours' enthusiastic team guides specter seekers through the annals of history as they hoof it through the city's Downtown District. The otherworldly promenade passes the Hanging Tree, where some suggest spirits wreak shenanigans, as well as less famous trees possessed by squirrels in search of nonspectral acorns. Guides encourage their charges to snap photographs in case mysterious orbs of light appear; they also spin tales of the Ghost of the Lake, who lurks in fresh water in search of a dock. Groups of up to 25 people depart for their mysterious meanderings nightly at 8:30 p.m., and the all-flat terrain makes the spooky stroll both scooter and wheelchair friendly. Kissimmee Ghost Tours recommends that guests come equipped with walking shoes, umbrellas, and cassette singles of the Ghostbusters theme song.