We’re not talking about theme parks. Check out this roundup of the best nature parks in the Orlando area to enjoy immersing yourself in nature. It’s important to spend time away from the noisy city life, especially as Orlando continues to become more and more crowded. Take advantage of the peace and serenity you can find in these green spaces.
As we enter the summer months, it’s important to remember that Florida is hot and humid. While enjoying nature whether you’re hiking, kayaking, or strolling along, be sure to stay hydrated.
1. Moss Park
If you’re near the theme park but not in the mood for roller coasters, check out Moss Park. This 2,000-acre forest has picnic tables, pavilions, and camping grounds. There is a boat ramp. RV hookup sites, fishing areas, and spots where you can kayak or go canoeing. Go hiking and enjoy spotting wildlife or check out the playground and volleyball courts. This makes for a great couples day out in nature or a day trip with the family.
Park admission costs $3 per vehicle for a couple or $5 per vehicle for up to eight people. Unfortunately, you’ll need to leave pets at home with the exception of service animals.
Location: 12901 Moss Park Road Orlando, FL 32832
2. Kelly Park at Rock Spring
A major draw to Kelly Park is its free-flowing natural spring where guests can enjoy tubing along Rock Springs. The Rock Springs area always includes a full-service concession stand, a playground, and pavilions. This beautiful area of the Orlando area has swimming holes that sit at a constant 68 degrees which is a reprieve from the blistering Florida temperatures.
This park is 325-acres in total and includes a launch spot for kayaking and canoeing that sends you down Rock Springs Run, an 8.5-mile paddle that eventually merges with Wekiwa Springs Run.
Kelly Park has tent and RV camping options. Park admissions are $3 for couples and $5 for groups of up to eight. This is charged per vehicle and will include an additional $1 for each additional person. The same cost structure is set for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.
Plan to get to the park early. It is incredibly common for the park to hit capacity due to its popularity.
Location: 400 E Kelly Park Road Apopka, FL 32712
3. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park is situated only minutes from downtown Orlando and offers a gorgeous location for locals or visitors to enjoy wildlife and relax in nature. This park offers miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking, or biking. There are also spots for canoeing and kayaking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park has a playground, campground, pavilion, RV hookups, and concessions. Unlike other Orlando area parks, Wekiwa Springs is pet-friendly. Just be sure to keep your pup on a leash at all times.
Enjoy a day of birding, fishing, swimming, and even snorkeling at this beautiful state park. There is plenty to enjoy for nature lovers of all types at this spot in Apopka.
Location: 1800 Wekiwa Cir. Apopka FL 32712
4. Blue Spring State Park
Located out in Orange City, Blue Spring State Park is a bit of a hike but it's well worth the trip. If your lucky you’ll spot plenty of manatees, birds, and fish in the park while you’re visiting. Visitors to Blue Spring State Park can enjoy birding, picnicking, swimming, boat tours, hiking, and snorkeling among other experiences.
This state park even has a historic site you can visit called the Thursby House. This home was built in 1872 and is preserved as it appeared then, acting as a museum and interpretive center.
It will only cost you $6 per vehicle for a day visit to Blue Spring State Park with a limit of eight people per vehicle. Camping and cabins are available for an additional fee.
Location: 2100 West French Ave. Orange City, FL 32763.
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