National Parks and Gardens near Orlando
Gardens, Parks and Natural Escapes in Orlando
Orlando is blessed with beautiful national parks and stunning gardens thanks to the low-lying land and plenty of sun and summer showers. Of course, the world-famous swampland of The Everglades is a renowned area of natural beauty, but the right across Florida there are a wealth of parks and gardens for lovers of the great outdoors to enjoy. If you have had enough of the fun, but admittedly tiring, theme park action then any of the places listed below offer the perfect antidote.
In this list we have a selection of smaller gardens located in downtown Orlando – perfect for an afternoon stroll or a family picnic – along with some far larger national parks for those of you who want to get an authentic glimpse at Orlando’s fantastic flora, fauna and natural topography.
- Gatorland Admission
- Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show
- Eat and Play Card – 1 Card for 4 Travelers
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
- Crayola Experience Admission
- Boggy Creek Airboat Ride
- Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
- Blue Man Group
- Walt Disney World® Resort Magic Your Way Ticket
- Universal Orlando™ Theme Park Tickets
All National Parks and Gardens in Orlando
Blue Spring State Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors. The park is over 2,600 acres and includes the largest spring on the St. John’s River. The water is crystal clear and usually around 73 degrees during swimming season. The freshwater spring is a manatee refuge and from November to mid-March is home to hundreds of West Indian Manatees, along with a wide range of other animals including tropical birds, and turtles, squirrels and even alligators. Read More...
- Opening Hours: The park is open from 08:00 until sundown, 365 days a year
- Address: 2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 - Google Map Coordinates
- Tel: +1 386-775-3663
- Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Blue-Spring
- Price Range: $6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
Canaveral National Seashore is a sanctuary for wildlife and humans. It is home to many endangered species, including sea turtles who come to the beach to lay their eggs. Like many ocean side cities, the area is ideal for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities. They offer horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, swimming, fishing, and boating. If you enjoy hiking, there is a trail near the Visitor’s Center. Read More...
- Location: 7611 S. Atlantic Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32169 - Google Map
- Tel: 1-386-428-3384
- Price Range: $5 entrance fee per vehicle
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort is a Disney campground site nestled between Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks. Almost 2000 different campgrounds are available, ranging from individual tent sites to full RV parking spots. All sites are a combination of paved driveways and sandy paths. Each site offers running water, electricity, outdoor grills and picnic tables. Private showers and laundry facilities are located near all sites. Fort Wilderness Resort also features 409 air-conditioned cabins, sleeping up to 6 people. These cabins include a full bathroom, free Wi-Fi, and bunk beds. Read More...
- Address: 4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830
- Tel: +1 407-824-2900
- Price Range: Campsites: $52-$81/night. Cabins: $265/night.
Gatorland in Orlando combines nature, wildlife and good old-fashioned theme park fun; the result is one of the most highly-rated attractions in the city… outside of Disney and Universal, that is.
Sitting on a swampy 110-acre site just south of Orlando City, this theme park-cum-wildlife preserve has been titled the ‘Alligator Capital of the World’, and promises plenty of family-friendly (and safe) fun, including an observation tower, alligator and crocodile shows, a swamp walk, zip-line, gator training sessions and daily shows. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 daily
- Location: 14501S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida 32837
- Tel: (407) 855-5496 or (800) 393-5297
This beautifully maintained garden in central Orlando is one of the most famous green spaces in the city. Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Leu, who traveled the world, started the Leu Gardens. Each trip they would bring home exotic plants and over 240 varieties of camellias for their gardens. In 1961, the Leu family deeded the property to the city of Orlando. The gardens are divided into 15 themed sections, including a Butterfly Garden, Citrus Grove, Tropical Stream Garden, and the Floral Clock. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00 every day, closed December 25. Last admission is at 16:30
- Address: 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803
- Tel: +1 407-246-2620
- Price Range: Admission: Adults $10, Children (Grades K-12) $3, Children 4 and under are free.
Forever Florida is a large wildlife conservation area offering some of the best horseback riding trails near Orlando. This preserved region of land encompasses 9 different ecosystems, all of which you can experience on a horseback safari. Riders are personally matched to each horse according to personality and level of experience. A guide also rides along with the party, providing insight and commentary on the history of the preservation. Florida wildlife, including alligators, turtles and turkeys can be spotted all throughout Forever Florida’s lush scenery. Read More...
- Address: 4755 N Kenansville Road, St Cloud, FL 34773
- Tel: +1 407-957-9794
- Price Range: $69.99
If you are looking for a short hike, or a splash about in a natural spring then Kelly Park is the place for you. This popular public park located in the outskirts of Orlando, in Apopka, Florida, is best known for its free-flowing natural spring. Visitors flock to the park year-round to swim, tube and kayak in the cool, crystal-clear water. Tent and RV camping is offered at the park, alongside a full-service concession stand, picnic pavilions and a playground. Tube rentals are available as well, and lifeguards are staffed throughout the spring. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 20:00 (summer), 08:00 - 18:00 (winter)
- Address: 400 E Kelly Park Road, Apopka, FL 32712
- Tel: +1 407-254-1902
- Price Range: $5 per vehicle.
Lake Eola Park is affectionately considered as one of Orlando’s top ‘natural’ playgrounds (i.e. one that doesn’t involve Disney or Universal) – a pleasant downtown spot for picnics, exercise, paddle-boating or just a quick escape from the nearby high-rises.
The 23 acre site, located off East Washington Street, features an almost one-mile-long walkway around the lake perimeter, as well as other attractions such as an event amphitheater, a children’s’ playground, a bright red Chinese pagoda and a Conference States of America monument. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Location: East Central Blvd., Downtown Orlando
- Price Range: $5 per person (Parking: Free)
Lake Toho (Lake Tohopekaliga, to use its full name) is a 23,000-acre fishing lake in Kissimmee, Florida known for its professional bass fishing competitions and birdwatching opportunities. This popular lake is home to a staggering amount of freshwater bass, alligators, water snakes and turtles. Named one of the top 100 lakes in the country for topwater fishing, Lake Toho has been welcoming professional fishers since the early 1980s. In 2001, Dean Rojas even broke the national record for a one day catch in this very same lake. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 05:30 - 17:00
- Address: 69 Lakeview Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34741
- Tel: +1 407-846-2124
The relaxed and laidback city of Mount Dora is surrounded by beautiful lakes and offers charming attractions and is open for visitors all year round. With a population of around 12,000 people, the small city of Mount Dora has a unique charm that is punctuated by its active arts community. Known as the “The New England of the South” and “The Festival City”, the city regularly sees outdoor festivals and art events take place throughout the year, including Mount Dora Arts Festival. There is also a popular antiques trade in Mount Dora and a museum of speed, dedicated to motorized vehicles of all types. Read More...
- Opening Hours: n/a
- Location: Mt Dora, FL 32757, USA
- Tel: n/a
Ocala National Forest is the largest nationally protected forest in Florida, and offers exciting activities, beautiful sights, and a number of camping and outdoor accommodation options. Ocala National Forest in Central Florida is home to a stunning 383,000 acres of natural landscape ready to be explored, including over 600 lakes, rivers and springs. Activities in the forest include swimming, snorkeling, diving, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Within the forest you can find a number of exceptional spots to begin your adventure. Read More...
- Opening Hours: n/a
- Location: FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488, USA
- Tel: n/a
The Everglades are a region of sub-tropical wetlands in the southern portion of Florida. Beginning at Lake Okeechobee, near Walt Disney World, the Everglades become more prominent about three to four hours south of Downtown Orlando. Here, the environment is ever-changing and mostly untouched. Swamps and mangroves are inhabited by various types of snakes and alligators, and birds of all species make this sub-tropical wilderness their home. Visitors wanting to further explore the area should head to Everglades National Park. Read More...
- Location: Everglades City, Florida
The Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve is a scenic nature center on the west side of Orlando, just ten minutes from Walt Disney World. The highlights here include the various hikes and trails. Home to the Vera Carter Environmental Center, visitors can tour a variety of exhibits and displays before heading out on a trek. The well-maintained trails loop through many of Florida’s major region habitats, including a pine forest, a swamp and lakeshore lined by Cypress trees. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve is similarly known for its various education programs. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 18:00 (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
- Address: 8777 Winter Garden Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32836
- Tel: +1 407-254-1940
- Price Range: Free Admission
Take a fun ride with Wild Florida Airboats through a natural wildlife park filled with alligators, eagles, birds and a variety of Floridian flora and fauna. The Wild Florida Airboats tours head into the unique landscape of the Central Florida Everglades, with its miles of stunning wetlands that can only be accessed via an airboat. They also offer alligator feeding demonstrations in a safe environment so it is especially good for families who would like to experience the Everglades but would like to do so from a safe distance. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
- Address: 3301 Cypress Lake, Kenansville, FL 34739, USA
- Tel: +1 407-901-2563