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.
The Top 10 destinations for Spring Break in Florida. Also links to live beach cams at 30 popular beaches.
From art museums to gardens to scenic boat tours, you’ll find many things to delight and amuse you in Winter Park. We took the train to this walkable gem of a town in the Orlando area.
Kelly Park is best known as a summer destination for swimming its cool springs and for paddling scenic Rock Springs Run. We loved camping there.
Orlando Wetlands Park is a must-stop for birders and wildlife fans; it’s home to over 100 roseate spoonbills, 1,700 alligators and 200 species of bird. What’s even better: A half-mile boardwalk opened this winter providing great views of nesting birds in a cypress island. It’s only 20 minutes off I-95.
The Econlockhatchee — Econ for short — is close to Central Florida cities, yet it offers vast wild areas to kayak and even camp along a beautiful river not overrun with people.
The park, home to hundreds of manatees in the winter, is beautiful and paddling opportunities are numerous. There’s something special year-round. In summer 2024, however, habitat restoration will close all swimming.
Lake Norris & Blackwater Creek are hidden gems of the Wekiva River system near Orlando. The dwarf cypress in the lake are like a gorgeous watery bonsai garden. It’s an easy paddle worth seeking out for its great beauty.
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.
Inexpensive and smothered in nature, these scenic campgrounds are the best for RV and tent campers within an hour’s drive of Disney World.
We know what the big draw is in Orlando, and it’s not nature. But it should be! Even if your destination is a theme park, here are 9 natural experiences and places that are memorable additions to a visit to Central Florida
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.
Even many Floridians don’t know that cattle ranching in Florida is big business. This interesting free tour near Orlando offers a peek into one of the biggest cattle ranches in the nation, and it’s owned by a church.
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.
Not all of Central Florida’s magic is at Disney. North of Orlando is a vast ecological preserve that offers an abundance of recreational opportunities with unique exposure to Florida’s great outdoors.
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.