10 Unique Things To Do in Central Florida in 2023: A Locals & Tourist Guide!
Is traveling one of your new year’s resolutions? If you’re local to Central Florida, you don’t have to travel far to discover something new. And if you’re a tourist, consider adding some of Central Florida’s natural attractions to your itinerary! Read more to discover 10 unique things to do in our region of the sunshine state.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a fantastic place to visit for both a fun, and an educational experience. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from all around the world, including African lions, American alligators, and Asian elephants. And, the botanical gardens feature a diverse collection of plants, including tropical and subtropical species, as well as a butterfly garden and a hummingbird garden. There’s also a playground and splash pad for children, an aviary, and a children’s train ride.
One of the best things about the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is that it is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and education. The zoo is involved in a number of conservation and research projects, and it offers educational programs for visitors of all ages. It’s a great place for families, as well as anyone interested in learning more about animals and plants from around the world.
Lake Eola Park
Located in the center of downtown Orlando is Lake Eola Park. The park features nearly a mile of sidewalk path around the lake, an amphitheater, playgrounds, green space and more! Plus, you can bring the fun to the water with the swan paddle boats available to rent in the park.
Do you enjoy nature watching and photography? Lake Eola is home to five out of six swan breeds and over 50 swans — and don’t forget to tag them in your posts @lakeeolaswans.
Lake Eola Park also provides one of the best locations for a night out —enjoy a show at the Walt Disney Amphitheater and then grab a unique dish at one of the many nearby restaurants.
Some of your resolutions this year may also include fitness — so why not explore a new area at the same time? Central Florida offers a number of bike trails both paved and unpaved.We suggest going for a ride at the Little Big Econ State Forest, which has a number of off-road mountain bike trails ranging in difficulty for adventurers of every skill level.
Central Florida also features the Cross Seminole trail, a 23-mile paved walking, running, skating and biking trail from Winter Park to Lake Mary. Learn more about the parks, off-road options, bridges and boardwalks along the trail before you start your journey.
Florida boasts some of the world’s largest and most picturesque natural springs. These springs are unspoiled and offer some of the purest water for swimming. Several of these natural springs are state parks, ensuring an eco-friendly environment and providing opportunities for nature enthusiasts to explore and encounter Florida’s wildlife.
Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens is an oasis of natural beauty and architectural wonder, making it a must-see attraction for nature lovers and anyone interested in history and culture.
The garden and bird sanctuary is situated in Lake Wales and spans 250 acres. The main attraction of the garden is the 205 foot “singing tower” with a 23 bell carillon inside. Surrounding the tower is a landscape garden that offers tranquility and breathtaking views.
The garden acts as a sanctuary for over 126 different species of birds, as well as the endangered gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake. They often host events such as yoga, presentations, wine walks, and sound baths.
Ozello Boats experienced captains will take you on an adventure of a lifetime, where you’ll feel the wind in your hair as you glide across saltwater marshes and explore untouched islands. You’ll also get to learn about the wildlife, plants, and rich history of this unique ecosystem. At Ozello Boats – airboat adventures that focus on eco-learning experiences – they strive to make your experience safe, fun and educational. Their captains are all certified in boat operation and first aid, as well as knowledgeable about the local environment. So if you’re looking for an adventure like no other, join Ozello Boats for a one-of-a-kind airboat ride! They guarantee you’ll leave with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for nature.
Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden located in Orlando, Florida. The garden features a variety of blooming flowers and trees, as well as several lakes and lagoons. The main attraction of the garden is the Leu House Museum, which is a restored 19th-century home that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. They also have a large collection of camellias, which are a highlight during the colder months.
The Garden includes a number of walking trails that allow visitors to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the garden. They also provide educational opportunities through their events, programs and workshops. Harry P. Leu Gardens is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, and a perfect place to spend a relaxing day surrounded by nature.
Black Bear Wilderness Area
Black Bear Wilderness Area is a protected natural reserve located in Central Florida. It spans over 11,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the Florida black bear, for which the area is named. The wilderness area offers the opportunity to explore a diverse range of habitats, including pine flatwoods, cypress swamps and wetlands. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities in the area, such as hiking, bird watching and wildlife viewing. The area is popular among nature enthusiasts and those who seek solitude in a natural setting. The park has several trails, which allow hikers to explore the wilderness at their own pace. The park also has camping areas, picnic areas, along with the nature education center where visitors can learn more about the local wildlife and conservation efforts.
Hollis Garden is a public garden located in the heart of Lakeland, Florida. The garden’s focal point is its hardscaping with a meandering stream, waterfalls and fountains surrounded by colorful blooms. Visitors can enjoy walking through the garden and admiring the intricate landscaping and well-manicured grounds. Hollis garden is a spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, and it is open to the public all year round. The garden is also perfect for photographers, weddings and for those looking for a peaceful spot to spend time with family or friends.
Ponce de Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is an incredible spot with a rich history and tons to see and do. The lighthouse itself is the second tallest in the US and was built in 1887, it’s a real beauty. If you’re feeling up for a bit of a climb, you can even go all the way to the top for a panoramic view of the area. On the other hand, if you’re more of a history buff, the museum located at the base of the lighthouse is a must-see. It’s packed with exhibits detailing the history of the lighthouse, the keepers and the surrounding area.
Ponce de Inlet is a great place to visit, whether you’re a history lover, nature enthusiast or just looking for a day out with the family.
Central Florida offers a wide range of unique experiences for both locals and tourists alike. From the picturesque Lake Eola Park to the natural springs, biking and hiking trails, Bok Tower, and Leu Gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, a cultural experience or a chance to relax and unwind, Central Florida has it all. We highly recommend visiting these 10 unique places to make your 2023 trip an unforgettable one!