10 Awesome Outdoor Adventures in Orlando
We’re proud to call The City Beautiful our home. Orlando is a fast-growing city with no shortage of entertainment options. When other people think about Orlando, they think about the parks. Those of us who call Orlando home know there’s so much more to do. Wherever you live in our city, or if you’re coming to visit, you can find something fun to do outdoors this Summer.
Lake Eola Park
Located in the heart of Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola is one of Central Florida’s highlights. The lake features its scenic fountain that decorates Orlando’s flag. There are plenty of wading birds at the park, including swans, which have inspired another attraction – swan paddle boats.
The Lake Eola Farmer’s Market happens every Sunday. Make sure to come early to find parking! Here you can relax on the grass while you have lunch with your friends and family and enjoy the day. Tons of vendors sell their wares, from local honey to handmade pop art. There are even photo ops with some cool critters!
Orlando Tree Trek
Located in Orlando’s southwest corridor, Orlando Tree Trek is an outdoor adventure park situated in a natural, 15-acre pine tree forest. Family owned and operated, OTT is a great experience for anyone who loves adventures! You can even get 10% off your tree to tree adventure with the voucher on our site!
OTT features 4 increasingly difficult obstacle courses and 97 aerial challenges, plus a huge, 425’ zip line! Don’t worry if you’re not too confident in your climbing skills. You can get started on the green ropes course and work your way up. More advanced climbers can test their limits on the silver or red ropes course for a challenge. Orlando Tree Trek is a great way to spend the day if you’re looking for something fun and adventurous, and it’s great for groups!
Wekiwa Springs Park
Just 20 minutes north of Orlando proper is the Wekiwa Springs State Park. This 7000-acre park is located in Apopka near Altamonte Springs and Longwood. The springs located in Wekiwa Springs feed the Wekiwa River and stay a refreshing 72ºF year-round. Pack a picnic basket and relax.
For only $6 a vehicle, you can’t find a day out for much cheaper. Here you can hike, bicycle, camp, fish, swim, paddle, horseback ride, geo-cache, and even snorkeling! They also host events in the park that you can sign up for on the Florida State Parks website.
For just $2 a person, you can spend the day at Wekiva Island. Located within Wekiwa Springs State Park, the island features many of the same amenities. However, you can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for a fee (you may also bring your own equipment for a small fee). You can also boat, fish, swim, and even visit the state park “through their back door.”
Wekiva Island features The Tooting Otter Craft Beer, Wine Bar, & General Store. You can also get a bite to eat at the Without a Paddle Cafe. Relax by the water at the boardwalk, or by the fire pit. There’s so many options at Wekiva Island, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them!
The Wheel at ICON Park
The Wheel at ICON Park (formerly known as the Orlando Eye) is Orlando’s 400-foot tall observation wheel. From the wheel you can see downtown Orlando, the theme parks, Orlando’s lakes and landscape. On clear days, you may even see Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast.
The capsules are air conditioned so technically you’re not outdoors, but you ARE 400 feet up in the sky so really, what’s the difference? You can go day or night and have completely different experiences. You’ll be able to see tons in the day, but at night, you can see the city lights, and the Wheel’s 64,000 color-changing LEDs make for an impressive light show. The Wheel is a great option for families, celebrations, and romantic date nights, so check them out and book your tickets on their site.
Orlando Watersports Complex
You don’t have to go all the way to the coast to catch some waves. Orlando Watersports Complex is a sports center offering beginning and advanced wakeboarding, water skiing, wakeskating, and kneeboarding. They also have boat rentals and a huge aqua park! They have an awesome cable set up that you can ride around the complex, practicing and doing sick tricks (gnarly).
They’ve got some great specials throughout the week – you can even get coached by Shaun Murray! You can find out more about OWC and book your tickets on their website.
Mead Botanical Garden
You wouldn’t know that the Mead Botanical Garden is situated right in the middle of a bustling city. With 47 acres of land, the garden is a beautiful, serene place to spend the day. You can hike through the garden on trails, visit the butterfly garden, and take in the wildlife that calls Mead Garden home.
The Garden is free to visit, and is open from 7:30am until dusk, giving you plenty of time to wander. There are often events hosted at the garden, such as Yoga in the Garden every Saturday. Whether you’re going for the day or just a few hours, Mead Gardens are a great way to spend a warm day relaxing outside.
Not far from Mead Gardens is Leu Gardens, named after Harry P. Leu and Mary Jane Leu, another beautiful garden located in Winter Park. The Leu Family purchased the House and land in 1936, then traveled the world, bringing back many exotic plants and 240 varieties of camellias for their gardens. In 1961, the Leus gave the house and gardens to the city of Orlando. The park has been designated a U.S. historic district, and it is open to the public.
It costs $10 an adult for entrance into the gardens, and it’s open from 9am-5pm. The gardens are self-guided, and there’s plenty of signs to direct you from section to section, like the Rose Garden, the Idea Garden, and more. Leu Gardens is shaded by enormous oaks and the camellias that the Leus loved. You can even catch a nice cool breeze coming off Lake Rowena while you walk around the north side of the gardens. There’s a reason most Orlando natives recommend Leu Gardens to their visiting friends and family, and you should make the effort to visit!
City of Orlando Trails
The City of Orlando Trail Network is a series of trails interspersed throughout metro Orlando. There are currently 5 trails located in Baldwin Park, Winter Park, Lake Underhill, Southeast Orlando, and Shingle Creek. Each trail varies in length, but they’re a great way to get from place to place while enjoying the day by bike or on foot.
The trails are free to all and are situated midway between nature and the city. There are amenities located along the trails like bike repair stations, bike racks, and water fountains, as well as wayfinding signs so you don’t get lost! Biking from place to place along the trail would be a great day trip. You could ride the SunRail to Winter Park, and bike along the Orlando Urban Trail to Mead Garden, or just spend the day along Park Ave.
Located at the University of Central Florida, the arboretum is a great place for students, staff, and visitors to explore and learn about nature. The arboretum features plants that grow all over the campus, as well as an organic community garden. Students and community volunteers spend thousands of hours working here to grow fresh vegetables, most of which are donated to Knights Pantry, an on-campus resource for UCF students who have fallen on hard times.
The Arboretum is free to all and open from sunrise to sunset, but they do appreciate donations. You can schedule a private tour, join a free scheduled tour, or do a self-guided tour. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail (just pick up after your pooch). If you like geocaching, the Arboretum has 6 caches hidden in the area that you can hunt for. Whatever you decide to do at the Arboretum, there at 82 acres of land for you to explore, making it a great option for a day out, as well.
All in all…
Orlando has so much to offer, and this is only a handful of it. We made sure to pick activities all over Orlando so no matter where you live or where you’re staying, you can check out some of these without having to travel too far. Let us know if you check any of these places out, and tell us about any of your favorite Orlando activities!