Orlando, Florida: Kayaking, Biking, Swimming with Dolphins, and More
When you think of Orlando, you often think of theme park. No one can deny the pure excitement of a Disneyland day or a weekend at Universal Studios, there’s so much more to Florida than rollercoasters and hotdogs. Beyond that, Orlando is home to many nature attractions and adventures fit for every traveler — whether you want to bask in the sun amidst the trees, swim with dolphins, or get your adrenaline fix doing something out of your comfort zone. And they come with much shorter lines too.
Below are a few ideas for great adventures in Orlando!
The Black Hammock
For a little slice of Old Florida, head to Black Hammock in Seminole County. Easily accessible from Central Florida, this hidden gem boasts 1000 acres of conserved land. Come here to soak up the relaxing sights via airboat or just enjoy the fresh air. You’ll find that the surrounding Lake Jesup is home to an abundance of flora and fauna — especially alligators. USA Today claims that the vast mirror of a lake has more alligators than any other body of water in the entire state of Florida.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The first underwater park in the United States spans 70 square miles, and it has a thriving ecosystem of marine life and coral reefs. Glass-bottom boat tours are available for tourists who would rather stay dry or enjoy the view some other way. But if you’re a snorkeler or scuba diver, swimming with the underwater Christ of the Abyss statue is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Previously on the Adventure Bound Blog, we talked about how you can swim with manatees in Florida. But did you know you could have fun with the dolphins, too? Marineland Dolphin Adventure gives visitors the opportunity to swim with dolphins, whether in the shallow or deep end. Because swimming is so unique, an article by Lottoland notes how it can also be one of the most expensive activities. It’s not a cheap activity, but it is definitely a great experience. Going on off peak days is one option since prices tend to increase during the weekends and peak seasons.
This botanical garden serves as a gateway to Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District, but can be considered an attraction in its own right. It has various pathways and endless spots for photos and is a nice relaxing patch of nature in the city. Afterwards, you can head to the nearby neighborhood that is filled with boutiques, shops, cafés, and a brewery.
St. George Island
If a picnic sounds like your kind of afternoon, visit St. George Island. Located in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola Bay, this barrier island has lots to offer besides its six picnic shelters and 60 campsites. Take a breather at its state park and enjoy the rows of nearby small businesses. Water activities like boating and fishing are also available.
Flowing through north central Florida and the Santa Fe River is the spring-fed Ichetucknee Springs. It has six miles of running water and is ideal for tubing — it’s a real favorite among visitors to the Springs. Be sure to visit when the park is open between the end of May towards early September. Scuba divers looking for a challenge, can opt to dive to see the Blue Hole, but you must be a cave-certified diver. For a relatively easier water activity, there are kayaks for rent.
Florid and Orlando has so much more to see then just theme parks. Read my other post about Florida