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
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.