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.
A tour we think you'll love
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.
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:
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
Black Water Creek
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!