Are you a fan of exploring state parks? If so you will definitely want to visit the Orlando state parks. These parks offer a wide range of activities and are accessible year round thanks to the warm weather in Orlando. The best thing about these parks is that they are not usually crowded.
Orlando state parks provide a perfect escape from the typical crowds that Orlando is famous for. If you are planning to be in the area soon then keep reading. We will provide information about all the best state parks near Orlando.
Orlando State Parks
Orlando is famous for its theme parks specially for Disney World. Florida’s natural landscape and pleasant climate have given rise to multiple fantastic state parks. These Orlando state parks are ideal for tourists seeking a more relaxed experience away from the crowds as well as for locals seeking a refreshing getaway from the busy city life. The diversity of parks in Orlando is what makes them so captivating.
One minute you could be strolling down a path surrounded by swans in the heart of the city and the next you might be cycling along a trail. What’s even better is that these parks provide a refreshing break from the city’s theme parks. These Orlando parks offer an opportunity to build up an appetite for your next meal at Orlando’s finest restaurants and bars.
Top 5 Orlando State Parks
Check out our exclusive list of top 5 Orlando state parks.
- Blue Spring State Park
- Hontoon Island State Park
- Wekiwa Springs State Park
- Sebastian Inlet State Park
- Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake
1. Blue Spring State Park
Looking for a peaceful vacation? Blue Spring State Park is a perfect place to visit with family. It opens at 8 AM and closes at sundown. So be sure to arrive early to get the amazing views. If your kids love to see manatees then this park is the perfect place to visit. This park is home to many of them. You might see these beautiful creatures on guided boat tours.
In blue spring state park you can also have fun in the water by swimming, diving or canoeing. Manatees are protected so there are some restrictions on water activities. You can only fish at the dock near St. Johnâ€™s River. Swimming, diving and canoeing are allowed only in specific areas. For relaxation there are picnic areas and playgrounds
2. Hontoon Island State Park
Escape from the hectic routine life and visit Hontoon Island State Park. This park is located on a real island about 45 miles north of Orlando. You can only get there by boat which adds to the sense of getting away from the stresses of life. You will need to plan to either rent a private boat or use the ferry if you don’t have one. Once you arrive you will be greeted by stunning blue waters.
There are plenty of water activities for kids as well to enjoy. You can also see the island’s historical significance by renting a cabin without a bathroom or by pitching a tent for a more ancient camping experience. Keep in mind that camping spaces are limited unless you are willing to camp in your boat at the boat slips. While on the island you can relax and feel its peace.
Learn about its history at the visitor’s center or go hiking on the beautiful island trails. There are also opportunities for boating, canoeing, fishing and other activities. It is an excellent place to see with the ferry running almost until sunset and options for overnight boat rentals.
3. Wekiwa Springs State Park
The short 17 mile journey from Orlando to Wekiwa Springs State Park is definitely worth it to experience the stunning emerald springs that flow into the Wekiva River. It is like entering a tropical wonder where you can enjoy a drink or a meal by the crystal clear water. In this lush tropical park visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and leave their worries behind in this beautiful landscape. You can rent kayaks or canoes to explore the historic Wekiva River which was once inhabited by the Timucuan Indians.
For more relaxation you can take a dip in the springs or find the perfect spot under a tree to lounge by one of Wekiva’s beautiful lagoons. If you are looking for some exercise you can hike or bike along Wekiwa’s scenic trails or even enjoy some light horseback riding. For those who want to get away from the hotels on International Drive you have the option to camp at the park.
Nestled in the rolling hills with longleaf pines and a sandhill ecosystem you will find 60 large campsites. These sites offer access to water and electricity, a fire ring with a grill and a picnic table. Some sites even have sewer hookups, and there’s a dump station at the campsite for your convenience.
4. Sebastian Inlet State Park
Sebastian Inlet State Park is another one of the must visit Orlando State Parks. It is located to the southeast of Orlando. It is about a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from the city. This park is renowned for its excellent surfing opportunities. Everyone is encouraged to catch some waves especially at spots like First Peak or Monster Hole. If your family is not into surfing you can still enjoy swimming or relaxing on the shoreline.
Fishing is a popular activity here but don’t forget to keep an eye on the water. You might spot dolphins, manatees and sea turtles from the shore. History lovers will find the McLarty Treasure Museum and the Sebastian Fishing Museum interesting as they transport you back in time. Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the best places in Florida to observe sea turtles.
5. Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake
Pack your fishing gear and binoculars for a fantastic time in nature at Bill Frederick Park. This expansive Orlando park spans 183 acres and provides picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities. You can do bird watching, boat rentals, fishing piers, disc golf, playgrounds and much more.
It is conveniently located from the nearby Orlando attractions. Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake serves as an excellent alternative to traditional hotel accommodations. There are well maintained campgrounds that offer amenities like WiFi and laundry facilities.
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Orlando state parks are best to visit for the nature escape from boring city life. These state parks in Orlando Florida provide exciting activities. You can do hiking, trailing, cycling and horse riding.
There are also opportunities for various water activities like swimming, surfing, snorkeling and paddleboarding. So make some time from your busy life and visit these amazing Orlando state parks to feel nature.