5 Ecotourism Attractions Just Outside of Orlando Florida

Adventure seekers, adrenaline junkies, and avid explorers all travel to Central Florida for the thrill of theme parks, unique dining experiences, and shopping excursions. But there’s more to Orlando Florida than just its manmade appeals that have attracted tourists from across the world. The City Beautiful has earned its name for a reason, and that’s partially owed to the exquisite natural reserves in the area. From natural springs, state parks, and exotic wildlife to miles of hiking trails and plenty of options for outdoor activities, greater Orlando has it all. So, set the Mickey ears aside and grab your sunscreen—we’re about to take a ride through Central Florida’s scenic side.

Black Hammock Adventures

Step outside of Orlando and make your way to Oviedo for an authentic experience at Black Hammock Adventures. Hop on an airboat with a licensed master captain and take an adventure through the largest alligator population in Florida. This leisurely ride through Lake Jesup offers an up-close and personal experience with southern wildlife and ends with a personalized photo op with their resident baby gator, Lucy. Stop by their onsite restaurant after a long day in the sun and challenge your taste buds with unique seafood appetizers like catfish nuggets. An outing fit for the family, this lake day makes one for the books.

Seminole County Florida Trails

Trade the swimsuit for some tennis shoes—the Greater Orlando area has plenty of trails to keep you active yet dry. Seminole County trails are perfect for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, wheelchairs, and skateboarders. Each trail tells a unique story of Florida’s past and many are even located on abandoned railroad tracks. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely 2-mile trail or a 14-mile bike ride, Seminole County has a path fit for every level of activity.

Little Wekiva River

Calling all adventure seekers, wildlife observers, and bird watchers—Little Wekiva River is the nature’s retreat for you. This 15-mile northward-flowing stream is perfect for kayaking or simply taking in the scenic sights that showcase Florida’s natural beauty. Book a half-day excursion and ride the current for eight miles to catch sights of alligators, birds, deer, and even the occasional black bear. Then close out the day with a waterside picnic at Wekiva Island or reserve a campsite at the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park for a serene night under the stars. If you’re looking to spend the day basking in the Florida sun, this day trip is right up your alley, or should we say stream?

Wekiwa Springs State Park Near Orlando

Wekiva Springs State Park near Orlando Florida
Wekiva Springs Florida State Park brings gorgeous natural escapism within a stone’s throw of the center of Orlando’s tourism district.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and make a splash into the emerald waters of the Wekiva River, located just outside of downtown Orlando Florida. With rich tropical hammocks and prime wildlife-spotting zones, outdoor lovers can nestle into the natural lands of Florida and gaze at the vibrant hues of greens and blues. Choose to follow the calm currents on a canoe, or hike, bike, or horseback ride miles of trails on the park grounds. A local favorite and the longest-running tourist attraction in Orange County, Wekiva Springs State Park is a popular getaway for travelers searching for an off-the-beaten-path excursion in the heart of Florida.

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Located in protected natural wetlands, the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens offer an around-the-world experience with its wide range of exotic plants and animals. Get acquainted with furry residents through one-of-a-kind animal encounters and take a real hands-on learning experience to get to know their habitats and how to keep their ecosystems protected. From rhinos, giraffes, and monkeys to the southeast’s largest collection of reptiles, this is one wild adventure that will leave you feeling like a world traveler. 

Orlando’s ecotourism attractions offer a different angle to Florida thrills, but nonetheless a memorable one. A destination fit for the whole family, these natural reserves are admired by locals and visitors alike, and it makes a great opportunity to keep conservation efforts top-of-mind to help protect the wildlife that inhabits it. Take the path less traveled in Orlando Florida and discover the hidden gems that make up the City Beautiful.

Look through our other travel-related blogs for more exciting adventures in ecotourism under the beautiful Florida sun!