Orlando's Great Outdoors: Bike, Paddle & Stroll (and more)

Orlando residents enjoy outdoor activities year-round; it’s just one of the reasons so many northerners come here to escape the frigid grip of winter. Hiking season never really goes away, it just gets hotter and more humid. When that happens, many of us hit one of the local springs – Rock Springs at beautiful Kelly Park is a nice one for beginners. Beautiful hiking trails and a pale, blue-green fissure that’s crisp, cool and rife for a lazy float downstream. You may even want to hit nearby Mount Dora for a bit of antiquing, as well. Already a fan of the stand-up paddleboard craze? If not, you’re in luck – the pros at Paddleboard Orlando are experts when it comes to beginner training, and their excursions might lead you across one of our lovely urban lakes, through mansion-lined canals or into clear, blue water where the manatees do their underwater grazing.  Whether you dig zip lining in our subtropical canopies  with Florida EcoSafaris or just enjoying the sunset on a vast, idyllic (albeit alligator-infested) lake, Orlando has more than enough outdoor pursuits to satisfy hardcore athletes, average-Joe joggers or folks who just prefer eating their donuts out in the fresh air once in a while.

Wekiva Island is equal parts charming and unexpected, a "wildlife" oasis of sorts that sits a stone's throw from a commercial stretch of Wekiva Springs Road. It's a slice of natural Florida that can be taken two-fold. On one hand, this venue is...  Read More

Showcase of Citrus
Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Owned by fourth generation citrus farmers, Showcase of Citrus is one of those classic "only in Florida" activities you have to do at least once (or, like the locals, you can come back again and again). This farm is home to 13 varieties of...  Read More

Sure, the Orlando area has miles of off-road trails, but it's got it's fair share of paved paths, as well. The Urban Bike Trail – an easy pedal (roughly 2.5; five if you do an out-and-back) runs from Ivanhoe Village, meandering amid scenery...  Read More

Apopka/Winter Garden

Dip your toes into the headwaters of Rock Springs Run, a true Floridian oasis amid Kelly Park's lush, green landscape and immediately the oppressive subtropical clime is replaced by goose bumps and a bit of a chill. Water courses into this...  Read More

Welcome to Lake Jesup, a vast mirror of a lake (except on windy days) with the dubious distinction of having more alligators than any other lake in the ENTIRE STATE OF FLORIDA. Let that sink in a minute while we tell you about Black Hammock...  Read More

This local outfitter runs tours throughout Central Florida, even out to Merritt Island, but in-town excursions through the Winter Park chain of lakes take intrepid explorers straight through the majestic landscape and history of this lovely...  Read More

Looking for a different view of the City Beautiful? Paddleboard Orlando will give you waterborne perspective – vertically! And they're pros when it comes to first-time SUP'ers. Offering beginner lessons and peaceful, fun excursions on a wide...  Read More

Explore Florida's natural beauty at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Hike through wild, diverse ecosystems, paddle the famous Wekiva River, or camp beneath the stars. Wekiwa Springs offers nature lovers the opportunity to experience a part of Florida...  Read More

Forget the Mouse for a moment, take a break from the buffet lines, and immerse yourself into primordial Florida with a journey back in time to a Sunshine State before theme parks and condominiums. Forever Florida is a 4,700-acre wildlife...  Read More

Local are always talking up how cosmopolitan Orlando is. We're not denying it, but just outside the city sits acres of wetland wilderness so loaded down with wildlife – alligators, bald eagles, wading birds and more – you may spot more...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.