Doing It Naturally: Enjoying Orlando Without the Theme Parks

Orlando may be the world capital of theme parks but if you’re looking for adventure in the great outdoors, then you’ve still also come to the right place. From national parks to eco safaris, there are plenty of adventures to be had beyond the theme parks.

Make for the Parks

Many holidaymakers travel to America simply to enjoy its national parks, something which Orlando more than accommodates them with, as it has its fair share of these natural beauty spots. Wekiwa Springs State Park, just 20 minutes north of the city. There are a range of camping sites in the park. You can only reach two of these by canoe or kayak, which adds an extra element of adventure to your trip. At the park, you can spend the day hiking, swimming, kayaking and horse riding or simply take in the scenery while feasting on a well-prepared picnic. The immense Everglades are only a few hours’ drive from Orlando and day tours are available around this subtropical park.

Head to the Beach

Florida is home to some of the world’s finest beaches and many are close to accommodation, being just an hour’s drive from the Orlando hotels. Famous east coast beaches include Daytona, Cocoa, and the paradise of Playalinda beach. Travelling to the west coast will take slightly longer, but once you arrive you can sun yourself on the sands of St Pete’s Beach and watch the sunsets at Siesta Key Beach. Make sure you spend at least a day at whichever beach you choose.4842766526_96504e8a09_z

Go (Eco)Safari

Swapping the theme parks for an eco-safari allows you to enjoy the unspoilt outdoors where you can spot the wildlife including black bears, panthers, alligators, and bald eagles. Through some parks you can take a coach safari, ride on horseback or even scale new heights and take in the views on a treetop zip wire. Better still, you can opt for the latter at night and witness nature below you as you tear through the sky.

Cool Down in Nature’s Springs

Orlando’s a pretty warm place and the peak summer temperatures can soar to over 91F. Fortunately, there are plenty of cool springs in central Florida and near Orlando where you can swim, scuba dive, snorkel and take kayak trips. These natural beauty spots include Wekiwa Springs, Rainbow Springs, Rock Springs, and Blue Springs.

When you return from your holidays in Orlando, you’ll no doubt come across a friend or relative who asks “Did you go to the theme parks?” Imagine the look on their face when you reply yes, but also relate tells of going on safari. They won’t be ready for that!

Images by systemslibrarian and HumongoNationphotogallery, used under Creative Commons licence.