updated on May 10th, 2019
Looking for things to do in Orlando besides theme parks? While on vacation in the nation’s top tourist spot, make sure you get a chance to sneak away from the crowds and explore the hidden natural world. While Florida’s nature boasts beaches and the Everglades on the coastline, you might be surprised to find plenty of natural wonders in the middle of the state as well.
Enjoy the Beauty of Gardens
Winter Park, a short drive from Orlando, features Mead Botanical Garden, which gives tourists the chance to lose themselves in its 50-acre natural landscape. You can observe butterflies and birds, take in the greenhouse and community garden, or wander on nature trails past ponds and a lake. If you’re looking for something more exciting, visit during one of the site’s festivals, geocaching events, or concerts.
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Get Active in Orlando’s Parks
Orlando’s (non-theme) parks give visitors the chance to engage in activities while surrounded by nature. The array of nearby parks include trails, bodies of water, trees, and picnic spots, giving the opportunity to hike, bike, fish, observe the landscapes, and have a picnic or barbeque. Some parks even allow camping. Visitors can try Dickson Azalea Park, LaCosta Urban Wetlands, Jay Blanchard Park, and many other city and county parks.
Rejuvenate in Natural Springs
One of the most awe-inspiring natural features of the Orlando area is its natural springs. You’ll be able to swim, snorkel or scuba dive, and sometimes spot a manatee in the winter. During a trip to Orlando, it’s easy to reach Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Rock Springs in Apopka, or Blue Spring State Park in Orange City – these spots are just north of the city.
This is a great thing to do in Orlando for adults (and perhaps older kids)!
Try Horseback Riding in Orlando
Looking for a really cool thing to do in Orlando? Hop on a horse! Gator-wrangling and marine mammal shows at theme parks aren’t the only ways to get up close and personal with animals in Orlando. Riding a horse provides easy access to trails that offer sightseeing in Florida’s wild landscape. All Hitched Up offers trail riding in the area.
View Florida From the Water
There are many waterways in the Orlando area where you can take to a canoe or kayak to explore the natural scenery from the water. There might even be a chance to spot a manatee while paddling along. Some area spots for these watercraft include Rock Springs Run, St. John’s River, Econlockhatchee River, and Wekiva River.
There’s plenty of things to do in Orlando besides Disney, if you’re looking for relaxing, natural adventures. These options offer ways to enjoy the scenery, view flora and fauna, and get active in the wilderness.
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