Secluded Resort and Golf Course Close to Orlando
The family-size villas at Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club lie less than 2 miles from Walt Disney World® and within a 20-minute ride from Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The resort’s complimentary shuttle service makes it easy to hop around the theme parks or to quickly head back to the resort to lounge by the pool. Set on 600 acres in a natural preserve dotted with lagoon-style pools and recreation centers, the gated resort is a scenic destination tailored for families. Here, you’ll find a range of activities that keep the vacation engaging when you’re not at the theme parks, from riding bicycles to playing a round of golf on a highly acclaimed course.
At Dunes Lagoon—one of the hotel’s four outdoor pools—kids can barrel down two-story water slides while parents look on from private cabanas. The resort also hosts weekly events such as ping-pong tournaments and treasure hunts, and there are tennis and basketball courts for quick pickup games. You’ll enjoy quieter family time back in the condo-style villas, which feature whirlpool tubs and 52-inch flat-screen TVs. Whip up a meal in the fully equipped kitchen or have hawaiian pizzas delivered to the front door. The hotel also offers a grocery delivery service for meal packages and individual items.
Designed by PGA Tour alum and television analyst Gary Koch, the course at Mystic Dunes Golf Club earned 4.5 stars from Golf Digest for its rolling dunes and scenic vistas. The front nine’s wetlands, marsh, and cypress forest recall the Carolinian Lowcountry, whereas the back nine transports players across the pond with British-style links punctuated by pot bunkers and lush fairways. Guests can take in panoramic views of the course at Kenzie’s restaurant and lounge, located inside the clubhouse. This breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot serves classic American fare such as chicken caesar salads and spaghetti and meatballs.
Orlando, Florida: World-Famous Theme Parks and Cultural Surprises
Located in the center of Florida, Orlando may be forever associated with the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, which now are part of 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® Marketplace. 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 Studios, SeaWorld, and Gatorland.
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 CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which hosts family-friendly improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north, you’ll find eight cultural institutions at Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art, which houses pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare TheaterOrlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Science Center.Visit the science center to take a rover across a simulation of Mars’s red surface, or race on a 70-foot pinewood derby track.
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