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Orlando/Central Florida

Things to do in Orlando and Central Florida, hiking, bicycling, kayaking and canoe, RV and tent camping, road trips, historic places and Funky Florida.

Discover Lake Wales Ridge State Forest for hiking, exploring, camping

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is for explorers – folks who like to find places that aren’t in the guidebooks. Here you can hike for miles in the woods, hear only nature and have a chance to spot wildlife, including bear, bald eagles and endangered scrub jays.

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Outdoor adventures near Orlando theme parks: See the real Florida when visiting Disney 

We know what the big draw is in Orlando, and it’s not nature. But it should be! Even if your main destination is a theme park, here are eight natural experiences and places that would make memorable additions to a visit to Central Florida

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Kayaking Blue Cypress Lake: Exceptional scenery, so many ospreys, near Yeehaw Junction

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Blue Cypress Lake near Yeehaw Junction. If that’s so, you’re missing a spectacular natural lake rimmed by old growth cypress trees and home to hundreds of ospreys and osprey nests. This lake is the headwaters of the mighty St. Johns River. What a great kayak destination!

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Ocala: Four great kayak or canoe rivers within 45 minutes

You can experience four outstanding Florida rivers in one trip if you base yourself in the Ocala area. In four days of paddling, you have a good chance to see wildlife — from manatees to American eagles to alligators and even monkeys. Three of the four rivers are aquarium-clear spring-fed streams. The fourth is a wild and peaceful place where you can escape the modern world.

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It’s firefly season at Blue Springs. Wait, what’s firefly season?

Blue Spring State Park, home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay after closing during firefly season from March 19 to April 4. If that took you by surprise, you’re with me. But there is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.

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