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Who's up for some fun? Half an hour south of Orlando, Kissimmee is the starting point for many a family adventure. It puts you in easy proximity to all the major Orlando-area theme parks – including Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios Orlando Resort – as well as a slew of smaller attractions.

Here in the land of big-budget, high-octane fun, many people are surprised to find that Kissimmee has a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. This charming downtown is a welcome change of pace from the more touristy parts of the Orlando area. (Just don't confuse it with Old Town, Kissimmee's non-historic shopping and entertainment center.)

Want to see what constituted a tourist attraction before Disney? Don't miss the quirky Monument of States, a 50-foot tower built in 1943 showcasing rocks from every state in the continental U.S. Or, if you want a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like long ago, check out Lake Tohopekaliga and the Disney Wilderness Preserve, just south of town.