Lake Louisa State Park is a half hour from theme parks, but is a natural world with 20 miles of hiking trails and great cabins. Located on the east end of the vast Green Swamp, you’ll find wildlife, old citrus groves, hills, cypress swamps and forests.
Kelly Park is best known for popular Rock Springs Run, but this fabulous Orange County park also has one of the nicest campgrounds anywhere. Now’s the time to go, before the summer crush and long lines.
The park is beautiful, the swimming is fabulous and paddling opportunities are numerous. Escape the summer heat at Blue Spring State Park in southwestern Volusia County.
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.
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.