7 Adrenaline Pumping Orlando Outdoor Activities For Curious Explorers

Orlando Outdoor Activities

Central Florida might be best known for its excellent theme parks, but there are plenty of other adventures waiting to be had if you know where to look. There are numerous outdoor attractions just a short drive from downtown Orlando. Some can even be found within the city itself.

If you’re looking for outdoor things to do that don’t involve waiting in line for the newest roller coaster, we’re here to help. Join us on a virtual tour of outdoor activities in Orlando and choose the ones your group will enjoy most.

Our Guide To The Best Orlando Outdoor Activities

In addition to the suggestions we’ve listed here, we would strongly recommend embarking on one of our kayaking adventures.

We’ll help you navigate the local hiking trails and local springs while pointing out the exotic animals and other native wildlife. 

On our kayaking tours, you can experience the wilder side of Florida from a unique perspective. Visit our home page, where you can gather the information you’ll need to begin. 

Now, let’s discover the most exhilarating outdoor activities in Orlando that are perfect for adventurous explorers.

1) Visit The Manatees At Blue Spring State Park

During the winter months, manatees migrate to the warmer waters of central Florida and the surrounding areas. There are numerous places to view them, but Blue Spring State Park is one of our favorites. 

Remember not to get too close – while the manatees look gentle, it’s never a good idea to interfere with animals in their natural habitat.

If you want to see the creatures up close, consider booking our Manatee Discovery Tour.

For a deeper understanding of manatees and where to spot them, delve into our other article to uncover even more fascinating information about these gentle giant creatures.

2) Fly Through The Wetlands With Airboat Adventures

If you’re looking for an exciting way to explore the natural wonders near Orlando in Central Florida, consider booking an airboat adventure tour. Not only will you get to experience the exhilaration of speed, but you’ll also have the opportunity to appreciate the stunning beauty of nature.

The boat ride itself would be amazing – a rapid glide through the Central Florida Everglades, piloted by an expert guide. But you’ll also have the opportunity to view tons of local wildlife. On your tour, you may spot alligators, turtles, snakes, wading birds, and much more.

One final note: If you enjoy your time here, consider taking another airboat tour of Lake Jesup, a bit farther north. It’s also convenient to the Orlando area and teeming with birds and alligators.

Explore other stunning lakes near Orlando for an unforgettable airboat experience:

  • Lake Tohopekaliga

  • Lake Monroe

  • Lake Apopka

  • Lake Harris

3) Float Down Rock Springs Run At Kelly Park

Just 45 minutes from Orlando International Airport, you’ll find one of the most gorgeous natural springs in the state of Florida. Rock Springs Run meanders through Kelly Park and is a huge draw for outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s easy to enjoy Rock Springs Run. Just bring or rent an inner tube (no more than 5 feet in diameter), plop it in the water, and drift along until you reach the terminus, which is clearly marked by a wooden bridge. The flow is so gentle that you might have to paddle along with your hands from time to time.

While the park can be enjoyed by the entire family, Rock Springs Run is reserved for swimmers and tubers only, so make sure your tots are comfortable in the water before you plan your adventures. Water shoes are also recommended, as there are some sharp rocks at the beginning of the run.

4) Stroll Along The Orlando Urban Trail

This scenic trail provides a perfect opportunity to stay active while exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and beautiful parks. Offers a variety of outdoor activities for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.

The Orlando Urban Trail is located right near downtown Orlando and is ideal for walking, jogging, and biking. It measures three miles long and 12 feet wide, running from Lake Highland to Mead Garden in Winter Park.

The trail includes connections to Orlando Cultural Park and the Gaston Edwards Trail, as well as six area lakes. Along the way, you’ll pass through Loch Haven Park and the neighborhoods of Lake Formosa and Orwin Manor, among others.

Whether you’re a local looking for a new workout spot or a visitor wanting to explore the city, the Orlando Urban Trail is a great choice for outdoor recreation.

5) Spend An Afternoon At Lake Eola Park

You’ll find this haven right smack-dab in the middle of Orlando, meaning you won’t have to venture far from your hotel in order to enjoy a few outdoor adventures.

After a leisurely stroll around Lake Eola, you can grab a bite at Metro Espresso Pizza, Eola Wine Company, or one of the other local eateries:

  • World of Beer

  • F&D Cantina – Mexican Restaurant

  • The Stubborn Mule

Check the entertainment schedule before your trip to find out what will be playing at the Walt Disney Amphitheater during your stay.

6) Go Back To Nature At Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park

This quirky attraction often plays second fiddle to some of the better-known theme parks in the area. That’s a shame because Wild Florida offers memorable adventures that the whole family can enjoy.

You can opt for an airboat tour see a show at Gator Park, or choose from one of their up-close-and-personal animal encounters. The highlight, though, is the Drive-Thru Safari Park.

During this experience, you’ll have the opportunity to view up to 150 species of exotic wildlife, including ones that aren’t native to the US.

7) Take A Dip At Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park is a true oasis on those hot Florida days when all you want to do is cool off in the pool. Instead of sticking to your hotel’s concrete-and-chlorine offering, why not take a short drive and reconnect with nature?

When you’ve had your fill of swimming and splashing, there’s still more to explore. Choose from any or all of the following:

  • Paddle to Otter Camp or Big Buck on a kayak tour

  • Saddle up for a horseback riding adventure along the Tram Bed Horse Trail

  • See how many bird species you can count among the sandhills

  • Pitch a tent and enjoy a Florida camping retreat

Final Words About Our Favorite Orlando Outdoor Activities

At this point, you’ve probably had your fill of reading and are ready to start planning all the outdoor activities Orlando has to offer.

Be sure to make time for one of our expertly guided kayak tours, available from the following locations:

  • Blue Spring State Park

  • Rock Springs Run

  • Lake Norris

  • Black Water Creek

  • Indian River

  • Black Bear Wilderness Area

We can’t wait to welcome you to the wilder side of Orlando! Create unforgettable memories – book one of our expertly guided kayak tours today!

Drawing a heart into the bioluminescence.
1 hour 30 minutes
Group Size
3 to 10

Florida Bioluminescence Kayak Adventure

Get ready for a breathtaking adventure with Venture Outdoors' bioluminescence kayak eco-tours, the closest to Orlando, located just an hour away in the Indian River Lagoon and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. These tours offer a magical nighttime experience where the waters come alive with glowing microorganisms called dinoflagellates (pronounce /dī-nō-ˈfla-jə-ləts/). As you paddle through the bioluminescent waters, each stroke of your kayak and movement of marine life ignites a stunning blue-green glow. Operating during the warmer months from June to October, when the bioluminescence is at its peak, Venture Outdoors' tours promise an unforgettable natural spectacle.

Join our tours and embark on this must-do adventure, experiencing the unique beauty that awaits just a short drive from Orlando.

20 Reviews verify
Manatee hugging the kayak while being photographed by the delighted paddler.
2 hours
Group Size
2 to 10

Manatee Discovery Tour

Make close contact with these gentle and lovable creatures in one of the largest winter gathering sites for manatees in Florida. Hundreds of manatees make Blue Spring State Park their winter home during the colder months, and some stay around all year.

Join us for a kayak tour through the active waterways of the Blue Spring State Park area! Nature surrounds this area on every turn and we often witness alligators and turtles sun-bathing on the shore. A variety of birds, big and small, call this area their home, which makes spotting bald eagles, ospreys, red-shouldered hawks, and other wading birds a common occurrence. With a little luck, we will encounter the occasional river otter swimming in the river.

This tour is perfect for families and wildlife enthusiasts.

63 Reviews verify
2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
2 to 10

Wekiva River Kayak Explorer

Embark on a wildly fun family adventure with our Wekiva River kayak tour, just 30 minutes from downtown Orlando! The Wekiva River, one of only two National Wild and Scenic rivers in Florida, awaits you with its outstanding beauty and exciting surprises.

Paddle through the captivating landscapes of the Wekiva River, exploring the Seminole State Forest and the Wekiwa Springs State Park. Brace yourselves for the possibility of spotting bears along the way! It's a real treat for the whole family, adding an exciting element to your adventure.

Get ready for a wildlife extravaganza! Depending on the season, you might encounter manatees, alligators, turtles, otters, deer, and even bobcats. The skies above are teeming with Eagles, Osprey, Ibis, Limpkin, and a symphony of Woodpeckers. And don't forget the charming bears that might make a surprise appearance!

As you paddle, marvel at the vibrant riverbanks adorned with Orchids, Bromeliads, Spiderworts, and other exquisite vegetation. Our knowledgeable guides will keep the journey light and entertaining, sharing fascinating facts about the ecosystem and the history of this unique river.

Midway through the tour, take a break for a refreshing swim – a perfect way to cool off and add a splash of excitement to your family adventure. Join us on this eco-friendly, educational, and downright delightful journey along the enchanting Wekiva River!

Couple of kayakers enjoying the callenge of the Blackwater Creek.
3 hours
Group Size
2 to 6

Nature Escape Kayak Adventure on Blackwater Creek

Join us on our exclusive Blackwater Creek kayak tour, where adventure meets solitude in the heart of Seminole Forest!

As the only authorized tour operator for Blackwater Creek in the Seminole Forest, we offer a unique chance to explore this hidden gem which has been featured in several survival reality shows.

Embark on a 3-hour journey through the pristine wilderness of Blackwater Creek, led by our expert guides. With small group sizes of maximum 6 people, our tours provide a personalized experience, rich with opportunities to learn about Blackwater Creek's ecosystem.

Paddle on this gentle river so secluded and peaceful it's highly unlikely you'll encounter another soul allowing you to immerse yourself completely in nature's embrace. You will likely encounter wildlife such as alligators, turtles, Florida black bears, various wading birds and more. The route varies based on water levels, ensuring each trip is unique.

This tour fills up quickly due to high demand and limited space. If you're ready to escape the crowds and discover the untamed beauty of the Old Florida - the REAL Florida - then book your adventure today and get ready for an unforgettable journey.

3 hours
Group Size
2 to 5

Lake Norris Explorer Kayak Tour

Lake Norris is a spectacular darkwater lake and is one of the oldest cypress swamps in Florida. The shoreline of the lake is ringed by “dwarf cypress”, which give the lake an out-of-this-world appearance. One of the special highlights of this property is its high concentration of osprey nests. More than 100 active nests have been reported in the cypress trees that ring the lake.

A habitat for many animals and birds, this property expands the Florida black bear corridor. River otters, alligators, turtles, and various types of snakes call this place their home. While weaving between and through cypress trees many of these animals and birds can be observed.

Join us on this magnificent experience featuring one of Florida’s most beautiful, hidden, and unheralded places. This is a Disneyland for nature lovers!

This is an exciting 9-mile out-and-back guided tour.

3 hours
Group Size
2 to 8

Emerald Cut Kayak Adventure

This crystal clear run is a paddle into the past, through land still as it was when the Timucuan tribes inhabited the area. Truly emerald in color this section of Rock Springs Run is a breathtaking natural beauty. It winds through lush jungle-like nature, sand pine scrub, and pine flatwoods. The area is rich in wildlife and it is possible to see turtles, alligators, river otters, white-tailed deer, black bears, fish, a variety of birds, and more.

This is an out-and-back paddle. The first part your guide will lead you upstream over and under trees and through the twists and turns of the river until you reach the bridge at Kelle Park. At this point, you will have a chance to jump into the crystal clear river to play and/or to refresh yourself. Afterward, we let the current take us back to the launch point.