Secret Outdoor Escapes in Orlando

James Smith | Jan 12, 2021

Secret Outdoor Escapes in Orlando

Secret Outdoor Escapes in Orlando

Orlando, Florida, is known for its many theme parks, shopping centres, and entertainment venues. But for those who are seeking a more secluded and peaceful experience, there are also plenty of outdoor escapes to explore. From serene nature trails to hidden gardens, here are some of these secret outdoor escapes in Orlando, Florida.

First on the list is the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. Located in the southwest region of Orlando, this nature reserve boasts a 440-acre wetland habitat that is home to a variety of wildlife, including otters, bobcats, and bald eagles. The preserve has several hiking trails that are suitable for all levels of hikers, from beginners to experts. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk trail, which winds through a cypress swamp, or challenge themselves on the longer trails that lead to scenic overlooks.

Another hidden gem is the Leu Gardens. This botanical garden is tucked away in a residential area near downtown Orlando and features 50 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, including a rose garden, a butterfly garden, and a tropical stream garden. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or join a guided tour led by a knowledgeable docent. There are also several events held throughout the year, such as plant sales, concerts, and outdoor movie nights.

For those who love to paddle, the Econlockhatchee River is a great place to explore. This river flows through central Florida and is home to a variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and ospreys. There are several canoe and kayak rental companies in the area, or visitors can bring their own equipment. The river offers a tranquil setting for a day of paddling, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery.

For a more unique outdoor experience, head to the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This museum is dedicated to the works of Albin Polasek, a Czech-born sculptor who spent the latter part of his life in Winter Park, Florida. In addition to the indoor museum, there are also several outdoor gardens that feature Polasek's sculptures, as well as other artists' works. The gardens are open to the public and are a peaceful oasis in the heart of Winter Park.

Another hidden gem is the Wekiwa Springs State Park. This state park is located in Apopka, Florida, just a short drive from Orlando. The park boasts over 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness, including crystal clear springs, hiking trails, and campsites. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or canoe in the springs, or take a hike through the wilderness on one of the park's many trails. There are also several picnic areas and pavilions available for rent.

For a peaceful retreat, head to the Mead Botanical Garden. This garden is located in Winter Park and features 47 acres of beautiful gardens, including a butterfly garden, a vegetable garden, and a wildflower garden. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens or participate in one of the many events held throughout the year, such as yoga in the gardens or outdoor concerts.

Finally, for a truly unique outdoor experience, head to the Orlando Wetlands Park. This park is located in Christmas, Florida, just a short drive from Orlando, and is a true hidden gem. The park features over 1,600 acres of restored wetlands that are home to a variety of birds, alligators, and other wildlife. There are several hiking trails and observation decks throughout the park, as well as a nature center that offers educational programs and guided tours.

May Skilbeck

July 28th 2023

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