1) Cypress Gardens
Originally a botanical garden and theme park which was inaugurated as early as 1936, Cypress Gardens was one of the first major attractions to be opened in Orlando. In its illustrious past, Cypress Gardens was famous for water skiing shows and also for attracting large numbers of Southern Belles, with their distinctive accents and dress sense! Today it is the home of the LEGOLAND theme park, but retains its old-world charms and tranquillity. A highlight in the park is the incredible 100 year old Banyan tree with its far reaching canopy creating a shaded haven for visitors.
2) Wekiwa Springs
If you’re looking for a relaxing spot to swim, canoe and sunbathe in natural surroundings, Wekiwa Springs provides the perfect surroundings to get back to nature. On those warm summer Orlando days, there’s no better way to wind down than by the greeny blue waters of the natural swimming pools or meandering slowly along the river in a canoe or kayak! If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can also camp, hike and go horseback riding.
3) Lake Eola Park
This gorgeous park is located in central Downtown Orlando so is a very convenient escape to nature if you’re staying near the attractions. One of the highlights of the park is the huge number of bird species which you can enjoy, including a large number of geese and swan. Even better, you can even hire your own swan peddle boat for a romantic jaunt out on the lake as the sun sets over another beautiful day in Orlando.
4) St John’s River
Steeped in a rich cultural history which dates back to the first permanent European settlers in what is now the United States, the St John River is wide, lazy river which snakes down the state of Florida. The river is also home to a wealth of animal and plant life, including manatees, alligators and bald eagles! A great way to explore the river‘s cultural and natural history is by taking a river cruise and soaking up the scenery or by swimming with manatees in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime Floridian experience!
There is so much of Orlando to discover inside and outside of the parks! To find out more about the types of excursions and experiences you can enjoy in the Golden State, head to our destination pages for some inspiration!