7 Reasons To Pick Orlando For Your Next Wellness Vacation
This Florida city has so much more to offer beyond theme parks. (Although, we do love Disney!)
Easily get your steps in
Canadians in search of the "sunshine vitamin" are known to head south to Florida thanks to the state's idyllic weather. But there's plenty more to see and do, especially when it comes to boosting your wellness. For starters, put on your Apple Watch and explore Orlando’s most popular theme park, Walt Disney World. With four separate parks, there’s plenty to see and we guarantee you’ll hit your 10,000 steps.
The newest attraction, Pandora — World of Avatar can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but trust us, it’s worth it.
Locally-grown ingredients will nourish your skin
Canada may be rich in apple orchards, but Orlando produces some of the juiciest fruits, many of which have some serious skin care benefits. Citrus fruits like orange, lemon and lime are a natural source of vitamin C which has a brightening effect on skin tone. Honey (a natural antibacterial) is also featured prominently in several spa treatments thanks to hydrating and healing benefits. The divine scent certainly induces a feeling of calm.
After a day exploring, revitalize your body with an exfoliating scrub from top to toe. The Sweet Orange Body Glow treatment (45 minutes) at the Ritz Carlton Spa begins with a citrus exfoliation, followed by a massage and oil application. Even more indulgent is the Grande Citrus Escape, a two-hour treatment that begins with an antioxidant-infused scrub made with honey and sweet orange. The escape wraps up with a scalp treatment and full-body massage.
A visit to the Waldorf Astoria Spa will make you feel like the Queen Bee thanks to a serene spa environment located on a nearly 5—acre nature preserve. Walk the grounds between appointments. We recommend booking the 80 minute Honey Butter Massage and a 50 minute spa manicure complete with honey scrub, mask and a honey butter massage.
You might just gain a new perspective
A flight with Orlando Balloon Rides is a once-in-a-lifetime ride that offers breathtaking views of Orlando and the surrounding area. While the hour-long flight is incredible, another noteworthy part of the experience is the pre-flight preparation where you'll witness just what goes into a successful flight.
The adventure will begin before dawn as you travel to the take-off field and watch the crew inflate your ride. The early take-off time isn’t just so you can see a stunning sunrise; it’s the only time the humidity in Florida is low enough to safely fly hot air balloons. (In order for a hot air balloon to climb, the air inside the balloon must be warmer than the air outside it.) The wind is also generally calmer in the early morning which makes for a smoother ride — and landing.
After the balloon is inflated, you’ll hop in your hot air balloon’s wicker basket (don’t worry it’s reinforced with steel) and as your pilot opens the burner to release more hot air into the balloon, you’ll slowly begin to climb higher.
Our pilot with Orlando Balloon Rides was equal parts tour guide and entertainer. There were plenty of jokes flying around (HA!).
Reap the benefits of nature
Immersing yourself in nature has some powerful physical and mental health benefits. According to Dr. Qing Li, a Tokyo-based medical doctor and author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, two hours in the outdoors is enough to increase energy, decrease anxiety, reduce stress, and bring about a general state of relaxation. You’ll have no trouble spending well beyond two hours roaming the 50-acre botanical oasis that is Leu Gardens. Each month brings different blooms so you can visit anytime of the year and still witness its beauty.
Water activities for any fitness level
Book a lesson or lake tour with Paddleboard Orlando, located just off Orlando Avenue on Lake Killarney. This water workout is easy on the joints and an excellent strength workout, especially for your arms and core. (Want proof? Look no further than the toned bodies of celeb fans Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey.) Plus, the rhythm of the waves and paddling along the sparkling waters will leave you in a very meditative state.
Boost brain power
When your body needs a break, flex your mental muscle with a visit to The Escape Game Orlando. You and your fellow team members will be locked in a room and left to solve your way out — under pressure, of course. A 60 minute timer will be counting down from the moment the door locks. You’ll have to find clues, solve riddles and complete puzzles in order to escape. You will be required to think strategically but it’s loads of fun! (Humble brag: We successfully escaped the Gold Rush room.)
Take a mental breather
While there’s no shortage of thrills in Orlando, the city also offers plenty of opportunity to just chill. Every Sunday at 11 a.m. Yoga in the Park is held at Lake Eola Park. It’s easy to join in; all levels are welcome and the suggested donation is just $5. After yoga, go for a stroll through the weekly Orlando Farmers' Market where you'll discover fresh produce, locally-made arts and crafts. Have a bite to eat and relax in the Beer & Wine Garden (open 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.) while listening to local musicians.
Next, check out the surprising detox benefits of cauliflower.