Both Orange County and the City of Orlando have declared a State of Emergency and are shutting down any events that would attract 250 people or more in an effort to stimy the spread of the coronavirus. Residents are encouraged to stay home and practice “social distancing” which effectively means, avoid people and stay at home or at least maintain six feet of distance from them if you need to be near them at all.
But as we’ve seen in the past during hurricanes and the like, Orlandoans can’t stay in their homes more than a few days without getting restless and wandering out into the streets to cause some trouble. We’ve gathered a list of things that you can do out and about in The City Beautiful and the surrounding region, that won’t involve bumping into anybody else – or at least minimizing the risk of coming face to face with other humans.
THING #1 – GO TO PLAYALINDA
Cape Canaveral Seashore (Website) is a national park that’s located on the periphery of the Cape Canaveral launch facilities on the east coast. It’s completely undeveloped and offers miles of undisturbed beachline. At the far northern corner of the park is a nude beach that locals call “Playalinda” where you can let it all hang out in the sand. It’s still a bit chilly at the moment so the beach hasn’t been that busy, but now’s a good chance to go out and get some sun without having to deal with many people around. Vitamin D is known to play a role in preventing respiratory tract infections so it wouldn’t hurt to get some sunshine in the next couple of weeks.
You may even get treated to a rocket launch while you’re there so bring some brownies.
THING #2 – TAKE A VIRTUAL MUSEUM TOUR
Netflix can get old real quick so take a hot minute to check out some museums via the internet. Google Arts and Culture has teamed up with over 500 museums and galleries from around the world to bring their exhibits online.
Click HERE to see the MoMa in New York, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, they have it all just waiting for you a click away.
THING #3 – BAKE CARE PACKAGES FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND THEN EAT IT ALL YOURSELF
Some countries have instituted curfews and forced stays in people’s homes. So, just in case it happens here, why not hit up the grocery stores now and buy some bulk baking supplies – everyone’s focused on buying non-perishables and toilet paper anyway. It’s cheaper in the long haul, and baking gives you something to do if you’ve already done all of your laundry and emails.
Don’t know what to bake? Head over to Pinterest and fall into a baking hole for a while. You’re bound to find something worthwhile.
This may feel like a hurricane, emotionally-speaking, but we still have electricity and you’re still allowed outside. So make the most of it by carbing up with home-baked goodies.
THING #4 – STREAM A BROADWAY SHOW
Broadway Licensing has just secured approvals for live streaming over 400 plays from their Playscripts catalog, according to Broadway World. This is important, as many local theater groups are having to put their productions on hold for the foreseeable future, as licensing prohibited them from sharing their shows online. With live streaming now being an option for many productions, they may be able to activate their memberships with online streaming options for people to watch the shows from the safety of their homes.
Sites like StageIt have been sharing concert experiences like this already – give them a look HERE. A number of Broadway productions are likely to be hosted there in the coming weeks.
THING #5 – READ A FREAKING BOOK
Orange County Library System has a service that sends the books to you.
MAYL, or Mailbox Access to Your Library, allows library cardholders to request books via the OCLS website and have them sent directly to their homes – FOR FREE. You can then return the books to the downtown library via a dropbox slot in the back of the building on Wall Street and not have to see/talk/interact with anybody. You can also renew the subscription online if you need a couple more weeks with the book before bringing it back. It’s the perfect service for a pandemic.
Not sure what to read? We just released our list of March Book Selections HERE. They also have a list of ways to make the most out of your library right now.
Click HERE for more information on this free, super-cool service.
THING #6 – STREAM SOMETHING FOR FREE
You also get free access to a vast collection of e-books and audiobooks. Click HERE for more information on that.
Don’t have a library card? Click HERE to sign up online.
THING #7 – DECOUPAGE YOUR BATHROOM
Have you been meaning to clean out your book or magazine collection but can’t seem to bring yourself to throw them out? Gurl, you have tons of time on your hands now so why not chop them up and Modgepodge them to your bathroom ceiling? #idlehands
THING #8 – START A GARDEN
It’s never too late to start a garden. Florida has a great climate for certain plants that you could grow all year round including Kale and Mustard Greens that love to just keep producing for you if you take care of them. Peas, cherry tomatoes, okra, and sweet potatoes are good bets too.
Folks like Rob Greenfield aren’t afraid of things like food scarcity.
THING #9 – HOST A DRIVE-IN MOVIE NIGHT
Want to watch a movie with friends but you don’t want to get too close? Consider hosting a drive-in movie night. Everyone can hang out in the comfort of their fancy car without having to breathe the same air or risk touching hands while sharing popcorn.
THING #10 – GO TO FASHION SQUARE MALL
So, like, the shops are still open and there’s a food court there too. You may even find a sale or three to take advantage of.
THING #11 – GO FOR A HIKE
Orlando has access to some really special hiking options where you’re not likely to happen upon anyone else. We’ve ranked some of our favorite options for you right here:
- Bear Creek Nature Trail – About a mile of nature with a creek and big cypress trees.
- Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area – Named after a 200-year-old live oak that split down the middle but kept on persisting. #livingoak
- Bill Frederick Park – This is a 183-acre slice of property named after a previous Orlando mayor. The RV campground is closed till the end of April but you can still go boating and hiking here.
- Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail – Roughly 1,600 acres of gorgeousness with wet prairie, cypress swamps, and more. Yes, there are bears here.
- Lake Apopka Loop Trail – This 14.6-mile trail extends from Magnolia Park to the Lake County line and is meant for cyclists and hikers. Tons of birds and weird abandoned roads to keep you entertained. Look out for gators and snakes.
- Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail – This trail is at the headwaters of the Wekiva River and is something really special. There are five trails to choose from.
- Little Big Econ State Forest – The forest is 10,279-acres and has trails crisscrossing all over it taking you through Florida scrub, cypress swamps, oak hammocks, and down to the Little Econlockhatchee River.
- Greenwood Urban Wetlands – You’re more likely to bump into other people here as it’s not quite a hiking trail and more of a city park, but it’s still really pretty. Do this one if you just want to get outside of the house but don’t want to sweat.
- Tibet-Butler Preserve – This has a nature center, groomed trails, and a system of looped trails and more.
- Lyonia Preserve – This is up near Deltona but definitely worth the drive. It’s one of the only locations around where you can interact with the threatened scrub jay. They’re like little dinosaurs that travel in packs and will eat acorns out of your hands if you pick them up along the trail. Don’t feed them popcorn or trail mix as that’s not their normal food.
THING #12 – GO FISHING
Orlando has so many places on-hand and within reach to go fishing. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is 25 minutes away from Disney World and has some excellent bass fishing and the Conway Chain of Lakes aren’t bad either.
Urban fishing in spots like Lake Underhill is super cool and a great way to meditate and chill out and get some Vitamin D. Lake Underhill is one of the “Fab 5” series of lakes that the City of Orlando manages and stocks with fish. The other four lakes include Lake Ivanhoe, Starke Lake, Turkey Lake, and Clear Lake.
Click HERE for a list of the 2019-2020 freshwater fishing rules and regulations.
THING #12 – MAKE SOME JAM
It’s loquat season right now and you can be picking these yummy fruits for free and making some delicious jams at home. We like to mix a scoop of it with gin and lemonade in a mason jar for some homemade gin and jam.
Click HERE for the recipe we shared in 2015.