Orlando Beyond the Theme Parks: Exploring Nature and Outdoor Adventures in The City Beautiful

While the city of Orlando is famous for its massive theme parks, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, there is more to it than thrilling rides and playful characters. If you are more of a nature and outdoorsy kind of person, The City Beautiful also boasts numerous gardens and nature parks that you will surely enjoy. All it takes is careful planning and schedule management and you can visit all of these picturesque destinations in just a few days, maximizing your Orlando visit. After all, with a luxury car rental Orlando service, getting from one place to another is fast, safe, and convenient.

So, are you ready to go nature-tripping in Orlando? Let’s start!

Lake Eola Park

Located in downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is known as the city’s most popular “natural playground”. Featuring a picturesque lake in the middle, the park offers walking paths, a children’s playground, swan-shaped paddle boat rentals, as well as a vibrant weekly farmer’s market. Because of the number of things you can do in the park, many people consider it a refreshing destination for a quick escape from the hassles and bustle of city life. Whether you plan to have a picnic with your family, play kites with your kids, or simply unwind and exercise alone, Lake Eola Park has so much to offer for nature lovers like you.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Another beautiful and luscious nature spot in the city of Orlando is the Harry P. Leu Gardens. Spanning 50 acres of breathtaking charm overlooking Lake Rowena, this stunning botanical oasis features attractive gardens and landscaped grounds with a huge variety of flowers and plants from different parts of the world.

Donated by Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, the park is part of the National Register of Historic Places due to its charming collection of flora and fauna. Aside from wandering through the gardens and appreciating nature’s beauty, you can learn more about the history of the Leu house museum and marvel at the art installations scattered throughout the park.

Greenwood Urban Wetlands

Located near downtown Orlando, the Greenwood Urban Wetlands is considered a hidden gem because not many tourists know about it.

However, once you get to visit this charming little nature spot, you will easily fall in love with it. Featuring nature trails and elevated boardwalks, the park is perfect for walking your dogs, observing birds and wildlife, and learning more about the various plant species around.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Located just outside of Orlando, Wekiwa Springs is a state park known to be the longest-running tourist attraction in Orange County, showcasing the natural beauty of Florida through springwater and luscious green plants. The crystal-clear springs are ideal for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking, while the grounds are a perfect spot for picnics, camping, and hiking, allowing you to traverse through diverse ecosystems. With tropical hammocks hung throughout the park, it can be the perfect place for observing wildlife or simply relaxing and unwinding in nature.

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Although this nature spot is about 30 miles outside of Orlando, the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens are definitely worth visiting, especially if plants and animals spark your interest. It is one of the most popular places to visit when you’re traveling in Orlando, which is easily accessible through a private car, ridesharing service, taxi, or rental car. Getting a car rental at MCO Airport should allow you to get to the zoo directly from the airport.

With over 100 species of animals and plants, the Central Florida Zoo is a great alternative for families who are not into theme parks but still want to experience outdoor fun and adventure. Aside from interacting with animals and learning more about them, the zoo features botanical gardens where you can explore the beauty of various species of plants, butterflies, and insects, a fern collection, and so much more.

If nature tripping is your kind of fun, Orlando is indeed a great place to appreciate the beauty around you. While there are more nature parks that we haven’t included in the list, these 5 should be a great start for your nature-inspired Orlando vacation.

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