Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando: Experience the Stunning Landscapes of Florida

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando: Experience the Stunning Landscapes of Florida

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Looking to escape the crowds of tourists? Explore the vibrant green landscapes that define Orlando's finest parks. Not only will you enjoy breathtaking views of Florida's rich flora and fauna, but you'll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature – whether you're drifting along a freshwater spring or strolling through sun-dappled paths in meticulously maintained gardens. Take your pick!

What sets Orlando's parks apart is their incredible diversity. Picture this: one moment, you're meandering down a city path surrounded by elegant swans, and the next, you're cycling along a trail, pausing for a refreshing pint of beer before resuming your ride. These parks provide a delightful escape from the bustling theme parks, allowing you to build up an appetite for your upcoming culinary adventure at Orlando's top-notch restaurants and bars.

With all these options in mind, gear up for a day filled with hiking, swimming, biking, or simply pedaling your way through the city's top eight parks.

1. Kelly Park and Rock Springs

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Kelly Park showcases a natural spring with a consistently refreshing temperature of 68 degrees, providing a delightful escape in the midst of a Florida summer. Whether you opt to rent tubes for a leisurely float or bring your own (up to five feet across), the 25-minute ride offers endless enjoyment. To make the most of your experience, arrive early, as the park tends to reach capacity within an hour of opening on warm days, prompting closure.

2. Wekiwa Springs State Park

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Wekiwa Springs is renowned for its sparkling emerald waters flowing into the Wekiwa River. Beyond just floating, the park offers canoeing, kayaking, and opportunities for overnight camping amid lush trees and along river banks. Bird enthusiasts visit Wekiwa Springs to witness the abundance of colorful birds in central Florida. Additionally, the park provides ample hiking with three different trails guiding visitors through the natural sights and sounds of the area.

3. Leu Gardens

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Just minutes away from downtown Orlando, a captivating garden oasis awaits exploration. Covering 50 acres, Leu Gardens is an uninterrupted botanical paradise. Each garden on the site is crafted to inspire visitors with ideas for their own home gardens. Throughout the year, Leu Gardens hosts diverse events, such as movie nights and live concerts. For a deeper dive into the floral wonders, visitors can book tours of both the gardens and the historic home on the premises.

4. Lake Eola Park

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Situated in downtown Orlando, this pedestrian-friendly park features a sizable pond at its center, frequently inhabited by charming yet assertive swans – the real animals, not just the adorable rentable swan boats (though those are cute too). Lake Eola is also the backdrop for the Walt Disney Amphitheater, hosting performances by musical groups and local acts throughout the year.

5. Blue Springs State Park

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Blue Springs State Park features invigorating 72-degree waters, perfect for leisurely floats on warm Florida afternoons. Joining you in this aquatic haven are numerous manatees, gracefully navigating the spring runs alongside guests (though touching or getting too close to these gentle giants is discouraged). Following your float, explore the spring run path on foot or embark on a separate four-and-a-half-mile journey to spot ospreys, eagles, and other captivating birds of prey.

6. De Leon Springs State Park

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

De Leon Springs, another enticing natural spring in Florida, invites you to dive into its consistently refreshing 72-degree crystal-clear waters. Adding to its allure, the park holds a distinctive historical significance. Once employed to power a sugar cane mill, grist mill, and flour mill during the Civil War, the spring carries a unique past. Whether you opt for a leisurely float down the spring run or prefer a heritage boat tour, you'll explore the park and a nearby wildlife refuge, gaining insights into the area's history and encountering the diverse animals that call the springs home.

7. West Orange Trail

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

The West Orange Trail, a distinctive 22-mile-long bike trail, doubles as a unique "park." Beginning in Apopka at its northern end, the trail meanders through Winter Garden, where you can pause for refreshment at Crooked Can Brewing Company, before concluding the final five miles to the west. Biking isn't a prerequisite for enjoying the trail; it caters to walking, running, skating, and even horseback riding. As you traverse the trail, encounter charming towns and inviting spots to rest before resuming your journey.

8. Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake

Top 8 Must-Visit Parks in Orlando

Nestled along the shores of Turkey Lake, Bill Frederick Park spans 183 acres, positioned as one of Florida's premier fishing lakes. Nature enthusiasts flock to the park to observe diverse wildlife and test their angling skills. With its shady sidewalks and grassy expanses, this park is an excellent choice for a leisurely picnic with friends or a dedicated day immersed in the beauty of the great outdoors.