Florida : Safety by City
- Amelia Island
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Cape Coral
- Cocoa Beach
- Coral Springs
- Daytona Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Delray Beach
- Everglades City
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Fort Pierce
- Fort Walton Beach
- Key Largo
- Key West
- Lake Buena Vista
- Lake City
- Lake Worth Beach
- Marco Island
- Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Mount Dora
- New Smyrna Beach
- North Port
- Ormond Beach
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Palm Harbor
- Panama City Beach
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- Port St. Lucie
- Punta Gorda
- St. Augustine
- St. Petersburg
- Vero Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
Orlando is Central Florida’s playground and one of the largest tourist places in the world.
Home to theme parks, museums, conventions, nightlife, and world-class shopping, you are way too hard to please if you can’t find something to enjoy in Orlando.
The city is also just an hour from the beach and two hours from Tampa.
While Walt Disney World Resort might have put Orlando on the map and led to exponential economic growth, there is more to this city than Disney.
Universal Studios, Sea World, mega shopping centers, restaurant row, and so much more make this a city with so much to see that it can be quite overwhelming.
Orlando is a city of 307,000 people, with the metro area holding 2.5 million.
We’ve covered all the city’s suburbs so you can get a full view of the tourist corridor.
The resorts have plenty of hotels inside and near the properties, but there are also many options along International Drive.
The area around SeaWorld Orlando is my favorite because it’s close to everything, with a little bit of breathing room from the heavy traffic and crowds.
Staying at a theme park property is also beneficial because you’ll have easier access to buses and monorails instead of having to park a car.
You can also just charge all meals, souvenirs, drinks, and whatever else you buy for one tab instead of separate payments for individual items.
Orlando was also where a mass shooting happened at LGBTQ bar Pulse.
49 people died, and dozens more were hurt.
A memorial and tribute now stand in that same place.
Warnings & Dangers in Orlando
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Orlando, and let me explain why. The crime rates from 2021, at face value, are higher than average. The violent crime rate is twice the national average, as are robberies. Also, there are people from all over the world who visit here and criminals looking to cash in on their hard-earned money.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
You can use the public rail line or bus system to get around. There's a trolley that takes you along International Drive for $2 a ride. You can rent a car or call a taxi or rideshare. Some hotels have shuttles to the major attractions. All options come with a medium risk, as traffic is very congested here, there's a lot of construction going on during all seasons, and you must stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
This is another medium risk. Leave the fancy bags at home and bring a small, crossbody purse. Keep your wallet in your front pocket and only bring one credit card and an ID. Don't walk around with your phone in your hand. Keep earbuds at the hotel so you're always aware of your surroundings. I am an avid shopper, and there are two fantastic outlet malls here. It's just so annoying with all the vendors who approach you and beg for you to try their product or people who will nicely ask you questions or offer advice when they are really trying to scam you.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Orlando gets severe thunderstorms and short-lived tornadoes. Lightning is the biggest risk since many attractions are outdoors. Orlando can also get hurricanes or tropical storms. While it's technically an inland city, it's so close to the shore that hurricanes can still keep some of their strength as they wipe across the state. Just look at the damage and flooding Hurricane Ian caused in the fall of 2022.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
You should stay in busy, well-lit areas to lower your risk of robbery. If you are going out at night to enjoy one of the many nightclubs, use rideshares to get home, and don't walk around alone at night. Try to leave before the club closes so you don't get caught in a large crowd of people pushing to get out.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Orlando is always going to be closely watched for a terror risk because of the major tourist attractions here that bring people from all over the world. It's a shining example of American democracy and extravagance, and that really irks terror groups. You'll find strong security measures here and a call to report anything suspicious you see.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Use only official websites for purchases ahead of time. While you want a good deal, some third-party websites are scams or have hidden fees you'll have a hard time chasing down for a refund. Don't buy anything from a vehicle or vendors on the street, and don't fall for any sob stories. If there's one thing I dislike about visiting Orlando, it's the number of people pushing or peddling their products on me.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
As a woman, I've visited Orlando by myself and with friends. The risk is medium, as with every other risk that exists. You must stay aware of your surroundings and use common sense. It's easy to get sensory overload here. Stay focused and confident when you walk.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
J.D. Power rated the Orlando water utility as the best in the nation in 2021. The water passed all safety standards and had no violations. When there is flooding, you should always check the city's website for possible water safety issues. Conservation methods are also used to keep the water safe, so review the latest restrictions before you arrive.
Safest Places to Visit in Orlando
We aren’t going to cover Disney World here.
To see that information, check out the Lake Buena Vista article, as that is technically the city Disney World is in.
The only official tourism site for Orlando is visitorlando.com, though you’ll find plenty of other websites touting themselves as the “best” or “most affordable.”
Using an official website is just a safe idea, so you can see attractions that the tourism bureau will vouch for and get good safety and savings advice.
A new addition to this site is a 3D interactive map where you can virtually tour any popular location before you book reservations or buy tickets.
Universal Orlando is comprised of four parts:
- Universal Studios
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Universal’s Volcano Bay
- Universal City Walk
Use the official tourism site or the direct Universal Orlando site to look for the specials happening closer to your visit.
There are multi-park discounts and purchases that include all your meals.
SeaWorld Orlando has several sections as well:
- SeaWorld Orlando
- Aquatica Orlando
- Discovery Cove
SeaWorld also has two properties in the Tampa area – Busch Gardens and Adventure Island.
You can buy multi-park discount tickets or special behind-the-scenes VIP upgrades.
Check out the tourism section of “Things to Do Beyond Theme Parks” if you want to get a taste of Orlando like a local.
International Drive is loaded with everything from shopping to restaurants to mini-golf.
Icon Park is home to a massive Ferris Wheel, bars, restaurants, shopping, and other amusement park rides.
Madame Tussauds, the SeaWorld Aquarium, and other novel experiences await in this section of the city off International Drive.
Orlando is home to dozens of high-end spas located within resorts.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to use the spa, but guests might get discounts or free access to parts of the spa.
Be sure to use the recommendation from the official tourism site, as some places might be labeled as spas but actually be escort services.
There are tours available for kayaking, swamp boats, and paddleboarding.
Use the official tourism site again to look at the best recommendations.
Look for tours that offer a shuttle service to and from your hotel or a common spot.
Downtown Orlando gives a more urban and historical feel than the tourist feel of places like International Drive.
You’ll be in the center of a big city with name-brand chefs, high-end dining, and some of the coolest stores not selling mouse ears.
Places to Avoid in Orlando
Just west of downtown, there are some neighborhoods that aren’t very safe.
The good news is that the parts of the city that might be too dangerous for a tourist are places you won’t be drawn to visit.
There are clear visual indicators if a neighborhood looks safe or is a little too risky.
I got lost in Orlando during my first visit due to a major construction project on I-4 that got me all turned around, and then my GPS went out of me for a few minutes.
I ended up in a neighborhood with some catcalling and people approaching my vehicle.
For all I know, they were trying to help me since I was lost, but I felt uncomfortable, so I didn’t want to find out.
That’s why it’s important to use a traffic app like Waze or Florida 511 to keep up with construction and road closures.
You have to be patient in Orlando traffic.
International Drive is loaded with great things to do, but there are times the traffic moves slower than a walking pace.
Those great trolleys?
Yeah, they cause a lot of delays, too, as they drop off and pick up tourists, who also move pretty slowly.
I’m a rather impatient driver, so the traffic was enough to drive me nuts.
Just take deep breaths and know the restaurants, theme park, or shopping center isn’t going anywhere.
Leaving 15-30 minutes early will also lessen the stress on drivers and passengers.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Orlando
- If you go to the Orlando Police Department’s website, you won’t find organized crime data by year, but you will find a list of the most recent crimes. It’s a nice thing to have so you can see the most recent and active types of crime happening during your visit.
- Watch where you walk and where you drive. In a city with a lot of pedestrians and cars, it’s one of the most likely places in the state for an accident. The tourists might slowly walk across the street or look at a map, unaware they are blocking traffic. When you are crossing the street, always use a crosswalk and wait for the signal to proceed. Be sure the cars are actually stopping for you before you cross.
- The tourism site I keep pushing you to has great sections for families with teenagers, tweens, toddlers, and infants. They have really thought of everything a group of tourists might want to see. It’s worth spending some time with your travel group to research these different areas. I promise you that once you are there, everything seems very overwhelming.
- Review the latest Annual Police Report to see crime trends and safety measures from the prior year. While crime trends can change quickly, it gives a great landscape view of crime and safety in the city.
- Download the Visit Orlando app to have the full official tourism site available on your mobile device. You can book tickets, take notes, and search for new attractions.
- Orlando has red light cameras that will take a photo of a vehicle running a red light and then mail a violation ticket. Rental car drivers are not exempt from this. You really do have to run a straight red light to get a ticket. If you enter the intersection in yellow, you won’t get a ticket, but it’s still a safety issue. When you are mailed the ticket, you’ll also get a link to show you running the red light from the camera’s perspective.
- The City of Orlando website has a road closure map that shows you the latest construction projects, expected closures, and detours. Review this each day before you leave.
- Around International Drive, there are times of day when it’s going to be difficult or impossible to find parking. I once went to the outlet mall at the north end of International Drive on a summer evening, and there was not a single spot within a half-mile radius. If you see a spot, take it. Otherwise, leave the car at home and use the trolley or other public transportation.
- Sign up for CodeRED emergency alerts through the Orlando City website. You can’t afford to miss any thunderstorm, tornado, or hurricane updates. The summer days can start sunny and warm with storms that build quickly, cause intense rains, and then dissipate. Just because a storm is short-lived doesn’t mean it can’t do damage.
- If you are traveling during the Hurricane Season from June through November, cancel or delay your trip if a storm is approaching. Most Florida cities in the path of hurricanes will start to shut down and evacuate a few days ahead, and stores will begin selling out of essential products. Gas will also be hard to find.
So... How Safe Is Orlando Really?
Despite all the shiny objects and cool attractions, there’s a seedy underbelly of crime here.
Law enforcement does all it can to keep tourists from noticing.
The well-traveled areas are going to be safer from violent crime but have a higher risk of property crimes like pickpocketing and car break-ins.
A recent rash of crime downtown, including a shooting that left seven people hurt, has called for action to keep people safe when enjoying the nightlife.
A plan is in the works to improve lighting in parking lots and have a stronger security presence during overnight hours.
You can’t afford to leave a car unlocked here or crack the windows when you park to keep it from getting too hot because that’s going to lure in car thieves.
You need to avoid people on the street who approach you with a seemingly “great deal.”
You should plan ahead to secure your wallet or purse, so it’s out of sight and not going to be snatched if you get distracted.
Report anything suspicious you see to the local police.
Even an abandoned bag should be reported.
You are doing the right thing by researching the city because this is truly one of the most fun cities on earth.
It’s just overwhelming if you haven’t planned the trip out before you arrive.
There is so much more to this city than theme parks, so explore as many locally owned businesses as possible to help the local economy and not just multi-billion dollar entities.
How Does Orlando Compare?
- Visas - You'll need a U.S. Travel Visa or Visa Waiver to get through Customs at the airport. Since so many people arrive here internationally, the lines might be long. Have all your documents ready and answer all the questions you are asked. Don't make small talk or jokes when you're being processed. Start planning the visa process about three to four months ahead of time.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and many of the popular attractions won't take cash. Places like Disney and Orlando are cash-free entities, and you'll have a bracelet or swipe card to add purchase amounts to a pre-designated account. It's also a safe idea to limit cash to just a small amount for emergencies in case of a pickpocket or robbery.
- Weather - Orlando is warm to hot most of the year. I spent the week before Christmas in Orlando in shorts and a t-shirt, getting sunburned at Walt Disney World. You must have comfortable walking shoes. I couldn't walk for almost a week after I made the poor choice of wearing sporty flip-flops during my visit. Summers will have a lot of rain off and on, but you'll rarely see Florida residents wearing raincoats. Generally, if you wait about 15 minutes, the rain will stop.
- Airports - Orlando International Airport is a mega airport with high-tech amenities and ongoing expansion to keep up with a growing travel base. This is the biggest and best option. For those who want a smaller airport, head north to Orlando Sandford International Airport. Each option is about 30 minutes from downtown but plan for double that time with traffic.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want as much travel insurance as you can get for a trip to Orlando. Many people treat this as a trip of a lifetime, and you don't want to risk losing any part of your travel investment due to a weather delay or cancellation. Plus, you should be protected against falls, cuts, or heat-related health issues. Even going to urgent care here can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Orlando Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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