Some of the best hiking near Orlando can be found at the Little Big Econ State Forest, where bluffs along a scenic river add interest. The forest is 5,000 acres preserved in a suburban area in the middle of the triangle formed by Orlando, Cocoa and Daytona Beach.
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Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground is more of a natural experience than you might expect in a land of fantasy and magic. But it’s not cheap.
Tucked into the woods between two lakes and a wildlife preserve, this 54-site public campground is $18-$23 per night and only 20 minutes from Disney World.
Blackwater Creek, a little-known river near Orlando, has over-the-top scenery where it flows out of Lake Norris. It’s an easy paddle worth seeking out for its great beauty. You can even arrange for free canoes.
Inexpensive and smothered in nature, these scenic campgrounds are the best for motorhomes, trailers and tent campers within an hour’s drive of Disney World.
Thanks to Florida’s award-winning state park system, Central Florida is the ideal place to plan a family vacation in a cabin surrounded by nature. There are four great state parks within 90 minutes of Orlando that offer affordable cabins in exceptional settings.
Kelly Park is best known for the hugely popular Rock Spring, but it also has one of the best campgrounds anywhere in the state. Summer visits require a bit of planning because of the crowds, especially on weekends.
The park is beautiful, and the paddling opportunities are numerous, but the campground is just fair. The spring is a great place to swim when you seek to escape the summer heat, but you can’t swim here in winter because its overrun by manatees seeking safe haven.
A half hour from Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Lake Louisa State Park has rolling hills, six lakes, excellent hiking, wildlife, picturesque cypress trees and swimming. The best part, though, may be the modern cabins, with rocking chairs on the porch and a view of the lake for $120 a night.