Whether you’re planning a Disney vacation or simply soaking up the culture and the sun, Orlando is a prime destination. As a result, there are plenty of Orlando vacation rentals throughout the city for a couple’s getaway or a family-friendly trip. While it’s hard to go wrong when looking for a place to stay in Orlando, here are some of the most popular neighborhoods and nearby towns.
1. Winter Park
Although its name comes from its former status as a winter-only hotspot, Winter Park has become a year-round destination. Numerous parks fill this suburban town, and many of them host festivals year-round so there’s always something happening. Winter Park also attracts plenty of artists, so art galleries and performance spaces dot the downtown area. Due to its resort town beginnings, Winter Park is also intentionally designed to be walkable and bikeable, so it’s a great place to stay if you want to leave the car in the garage of your vacation rental.
2. Hunters Creek
Built around the beautiful golf course at Hunters Creek, this planned community offers a sedate taste of small-town life. Most homes date back to the 1980s at the oldest, and some are considerably newer. Numerous parks and lakes consume the area, so there’s plenty of space to take a stroll and enjoy the fresh air. Another benefit of this planned community is that it’s generally easy to navigate due to the planned grid layout, so you won’t get turned around on side streets as you head out to other destinations.
3. Altamonte Springs
The gem of this medium-sized suburb is Uptown Altamonte Springs, which is a highly walkable neighborhood that features upscale shopping and dining options. Numerous parks and walking trails also comb the area. Despite not being located on the beach, there are plenty of lakes and streams in the town limits, so it’s easy to find a waterfront vacation rental if you want to keep an eye on the spectacular waterfowl and maybe catch a glimpse of a gator.
Steeped in history yet conveniently located in the Orlando metro area, Apopka blends small-town charm with modern convenience. This town has seen a surge of development since the early 2000s, so it blends modern amenities, such as chain stores and tourist attractions, with historic sites and rustic properties.
5. Paradise Heights
Although everyone thinks of ocean beaches when it comes to water recreation in Florida, the numerous lakes are also a popular draw. Paradise Heights is located on the shores of Lake Apopka, the third largest lake in Florida. This small, unincorporated community tends towards spacious homes with large yards, so it’s a great place to find a secluded-feeling vacation rental that’s still within convenient driving distance of Orlando.
Just to the south of Orlando lies Kissimmee. This charming town is close to Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld Orlando, making it a popular tourist spot. The town itself is home to plenty of boutique shops and locally owned restaurants for a distinctive flavor. Kissimmee also hosts numerous tour operators, so it’s a prime destination for everything from hot air balloon rides to airboat tours.
7. Four Corners
Named for its location at the intersection of Osceola, Polk, Lake and Orange counties, Four Corners has a small-town feel, yet is also conveniently located on two major routes for easy access to other tourist destinations. There are numerous shopping and dining options in Four Corners if you don’t feel like venturing out. This area tends to feature single-family suburban homes with large yards and sedate, tree-lined streets.
Windermere’s size is limited by its geography, which gives this charming community a perpetual small-town feel. The town is located on a narrow strip of land on the Butler Chain of Lakes, so it’s a popular destination for people interested in fishing, boating, and birdwatching. Sleepy, sprawling luxury homes and small, old-fashioned cottages characterize this community. The Butler Chain constitutes 11 lakes, and Windermere acts as a jumping-off point for exploring all of them.
If you want to immerse yourself in the Disney experience while still staying in a vacation rental, look for a spot in Celebration. This unusual town was planned and primarily constructed by Disney in the early 1990s. It features fairly uniform construction, convenient layouts and an old-fashioned aesthetic. Celebration is also located close to the entrance to Walt Disney World, so it’s a good choice if your visit centers around the park. Vacation rentals in Celebration tend to be limited, so book well in advance if you want to stay here.
Situated on Lake Monroe and the Saint Johns River, Sanford is a prime spot for boaters and fishermen. This is one of the main towns in the Orlando metro area, and it has become a popular vacation destination in itself. Highlights include a vibrant downtown area full of dining, shopping and entertainment, and a family-friendly nature walk that meanders through the town. There are also numerous museums and cultural attractions in the area, as well as the Central Florida Zoo.
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