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Get Outdoors in Natural Orlando

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Even with all the development in Orlando, you don't have to venture far from the theme parks and shopping malls to find wild Florida. This part of the state is rich with lakes and wetlands, natural springs and tropical wildlife. Start with a light introduction to the flora and fauna of the region with a visit to Orlando's Harry P. Leu Gardens or a walk around Lake Eola, but then go a bit deeper with a paddle through the forests and riverways of Wekiwa Springs State Park or a bike ride on the Cross Seminole Trail, or a snorkel with the manatees at Blue Spring State Park.
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274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701, USA
In Uptown Altamonte, a one-mile walkway zigzags above the water of Cranes Roost Lake. It's an ideal locale for a walk or an evening jog. Located near the Atlamonte Mall and restaurants, families flock here for outdoor events like the Fourth of...
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1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, USA
While Orlando typically inspires images of amusement parks, the city is also home to sites that are completely separate from the manufactured worlds of Disney and Universal—such as the Harry P. Leu Gardens. The urban oasis teems with...
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512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
Orlando’s centerpiece lake sits right in the middle of downtown, close to the pretty neighborhood and dining district of Thornton Park. A pedestrian-only path fringing the water stretches for nearly a mile, offering visitors a great place to...
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12087 Southwest, US-27, Fort White, FL 32038, USA
The six-mile-long river at the heart of this beautiful state park in Central Florida looks like it's cut from malachite—all striking shades of deep green and blue, crystal clear and loaded with fish and turtles. And the most fun you can have on a...
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2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763, USA
In the winter months, manatees seek the warmer, shallow waters of Blue Springs State Park. An observation deck allows for viewing of the manatees. It's quite a sight—seeing the gentle, endangered species. I was invited to canoe with a manatee...
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For a peaceful yet active outdoor excursion, Central Florida Paddleboarding offers tours at some of Orlando's most beautiful natural settings. Paddling is a fun way to connect with natural Florida, see wildlife, be active, and meet folks. CFP...
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Cross Seminole Trail, Florida, USA
Lake Mary is as bike-friendly as a city can be. Throughout the day—especially on the weekends—locals and bikers from neighboring cities can be found out and about getting exercise or enjoying a leisurely and scenic ride. Alongside the bikers on...
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37 Dirksen Dr, DeBary, FL 32713, USA
Locals, travelers, and dogs alike love Gemini Springs for a quick romp outdoors. Take your pick from recreation amenities and activities: a nature trail, a bike trail, a boardwalk, canoeing, and a dog park. It's quiet and peaceful—still kind of a...
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1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, USA
With all of Orlando’s man-made attractions, it’s refreshing to get deep into nature at this wonderful state park, located north of downtown and the theme-park corridor. Spread across 7,000 acres of pristine central Florida forest, the...