Sure, a day at Walt Disney World may be exciting, however it may be downright dizzying. Then add a day or two of schlepping the children to many other Orlando amusement parks—enduring the sweltry heat, huge crowds, endless lines, and steep pricing—and you’d be forgiven for wanting a break from the recreational rat race. Happily, there are many standout Orlando resorts that provide a respite from the theme parks. Each resort is positioned outside the parks themselves however promise enough diversion and distraction (lazy rivers, bike trails, and world-class golf) that you’d be absolutely content to simply relax and truly get in some relaxation on your next Vacay.
Grande Lakes Orlando
This mega-resort comes with an array of tempting diversions from the huge Ritz-Carlton Spa, a trio of pools, various sports courts (for tennis, beach volleyball, and bocce), a Ritz children activities program, and the 18-hole Greg Norman designed golf course.
And you’ll be able to find a lot of surprising offerings, too. If you are wanting to get wet you can float the resort-encircling lazy river, or attempt the new Aqua Course 360, a water-focused obstacle course.
If you’re a Nature lover, you can embark on a naturalist-led Eco-tour of the encircling Everglades headwaters with specialized journeys for those that wish to kayak, fish, or bird-watch; or, attempt your gloved hand at the traditional art of falconry at the on-site school. Sporty folks can choose to cruise the two-mile bike path on the resort’s loaner bikes.
Photography buffs can partake in photo shoots coordinated by the photography concierge, and food lovers can tour the resort’s privately own farm, apiaries, and microbrewery all of which are featured on the restaurant menus at Grande Lakes.
The Grove Resort Orlando
Since it opened in 2017, the 878-unit Grove Resort has continued to roll out new attractions and reasons to come back.
Additionally to its 3 pools including one only for children, the Grove Resort launched its Surfari Water Park last year featuring an enormous zero-entry pool with sides that slope from land to water, an almost 700-foot-long lazy river, a surf simulator, twin water-slides, and a kids’ activity/splash zone.
Within the Lake Austin conservation area bordering the 106-acre Grove Resort property, guests can relish boating with kayaks, swan paddle boats, electric boats or fishing excursions.
And last November, the Grove Resort opened a shiny new indoor entertainment center, Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center, that is filled with video and virtual reality games, kiddie rides, arcade classics, and glow-in-the-dark mini golf. It’s a welcome retreat from rainy days or stifling heat, as is the small-kids’ activity center and big-kids’ full-service spa.
Set on 2,300 sprawling acres, Reunion Resort keeps guests pleased with an everything-under-the-Florida-sun menu of fun that features eleven pools, including one on an 11-story rooftop, and a five-acre water park, complete with a 1,000-foot-long lazy river and twisting water-slides.
Golfers are going to be in paradise here, because of 3 signature golf courses, one each designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer, along with eighteen holes of “foot-golf” played with a soccer ball, and a brand new clubhouse on the Jack Nicklaus course.
For everybody else, there’s a six-court tennis center with professional shop, pickle-ball and bocce ball courts, lawn games like big checkers and horseshoes, 2 playgrounds, a full-service spa, kids’ camps, and bike rentals.
The 360-room Reunion Resort, under new ownership since February 2019, is working on expansions to the water park as well as a brand new wave pool and another water-slide, and the addition of a putt-putt golf course.
Orlando World Center Marriott
The amenity-rich, 2,009-room Orlando World Center Marriott comes absolutely loaded with attractions as expected for the world’s largest Marriott hotel.
The Falls Pool Oasis complex takes center stage on the 200-acre grounds. It’s a watery wonderland with a palm-lined lagoon pool fed by artificial waterfalls; a splash zone and kids’ area; and 3 water-slides, two 200 feet high winding ones and a 90 foot tall need for speed chute.
For an added bonus, the complex is additionally the site of a nightly laser exhibit. Think that’s not fun enough? There are 3 different pools on the scene, in addition to a kids’ activity center with Legoland themed events, Gatorland animal visits, and a “Mermaid Academy”. There’s also the G.R.I.D arcade that pairs traditional arcade games with Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and iPad gaming.
The fun keeps going with court sports like tennis, sand volleyball, and basketball and a full service spa. Golfers can play at the 18-hole Hawk’s Landing championship course, brush up on skills at the distinguished Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, retreat to the clubhouse, or maybe have a go at foot-golf.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Fronting its own personal lake, Lake Windsong, the 779-room Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress spreads out over 1,500 tropical acres with an emphasis on outside fun.
Take a dip within the huge lagoon pool, with options like a water-slide, man-made waterfalls and caves, and a hanging rope bridge.
Or perfect your swing on any of 4 Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses or, for lower stakes, on the 9 holes of pitch ’n’ putt golf. The resort offers loaner bikes and rock-climbing walls, racquetball and basketball courts, world-class tennis courts, and a Marilyn Monroe branded spa as well.
Camp Hyatt keeps children busy with a robust activities program, whereas out on the white sand lake shore, which is dotted with lounge chairs, hammocks, and a volleyball court, you’ll find watercraft like kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and sailboats awaiting.