Orlando is a city in Florida with a population of 255,483 and it is commonly known for its amusement parks and also for its large shopping malls and outlets. Even though this city receives an average of 62 million visitors annually for being the “The Theme Park Capital of the World” it is also known by other as “The City Beautiful”, and not for any reason. Orlando is a city that can offer pricey entertainment, roller coasters and fun nightlife but at the same time you will be able to find beautiful outdoor activities for you, your family and friends that may not even cost you a thing. Here I will be listing some of the best activities for those who are trying to escape the amusement park crowds and are looking for an alternative.
- Lake Eola Park: This is a park located in the heart of the city and it features a Chinese pagoda, a Confederate States of America monument, and a playground. With a 80-foot (24-meter) lake in the center of the park, here you can enjoy a relaxing evening walking on the beautiful pathways, renting swan-shaped paddle boats, feeding the live swans, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, and enjoying the view of Orlando’s skyline. Lastly another activity this location is well known for is the Sunday Farmers Market
- Harry P. Leu Gardens: Explore an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. With3 miles of walkways visitors can see rose gardens, a butterfly garden, and old oak trees, among other attractions in order to achieve this location’s main goal, help others understand and appreciate plants. The Leu House Museum located in the heart of the gardens reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once called this home.
- Wekiwa Springs State Park: Located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, the beautiful vistas within this park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fished and hunted these lands. Some of the activities this location has to offer include canoeing and kayaking, bicycling, snorkeling, camping, fishing, equestrian trails, and much more.
- Orlando Wetlands Park: With more than 20 miles of roads and woodland trails visitors can lead their way through marshes and hardwood hammocks along scenic lakes. Because vehicles are restricted on the park’s berm roads, visitors to the Orlando Wetlands Park walk, bicycle, or ride their own horse. Another popular method of getting around are the tram tours provided by volunteers on Fridays, Saturdays, and specially designated dates. This park showcases a large number of species like wood storks, white ibis, black-crowned night herons, and other wading birds are common during the cooler months. Bald eagles, limpkins, and red-shouldered hawks, black vultures, and turkey vultures are year round residents in the Orlando Wetlands Park. Raccoons, river otters, white-tailed deer and bobcats can be seen along the roads and hiking trails.
- Kelly Park: Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring (68 degrees year round) perfect for tubing and enjoying nature, it also has a full-service concession, picnic pavilions and playground. BEWARE! due to the popularity of this spot it is normal to service a high volume of visitors during the summer months and on holidays, but don’t worry it will never be over crowded once you are inside.
Let me know what you think about my top 5 nature spots in Orlando in the comment section below. Feel free to add any suggestions for the rest of the nature lovers and adventure seekers.