Orlando is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country for thrillseekers and adrenaline junkies looking for a grand adventure. Although it is full of amusement parks and world-class attractions, it is also home to various majestic, and serene preened gardens and parks for those seeking peace and relaxation.
The city is a source of inspiration for nature lovers, artists, and creatives of all kinds. Parks and gardens throughout the region allow Florida’s natural beauty to really shine! Lush green landscapes, blends of flora and fauna, and immaculate landscapes will allow those looking to escape the high crowds and become at peace and one with nature.
The uniqueness and variety of the parks and gardens spread throughout Orlando are part of what makes them so interesting and attractive. Whether you are looking for a relaxing garden, trail-lined park, or views of wildlife and nature, Orlando parks and gardens allow an ideal reprieve away from theme parks, and a chance to experience a new perspective of the city.
Parks and Gardens in Orlando We Love
To help guide you through the city’s numerous park and garden options, we have bundled together a list of the top destinations for you to swim, hike, and relax your way through Orlando the green way. As you can see, there are lots of things to do in Orlando when it comes to the outdoors!
1) Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is famous for being one of Orlando’s most popular ‘natural playgrounds.’ Located in the center of downtown, it’s a charming spot for a quick escape from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you are looking to exercise, relax, or grab a bite to eat, Lake Eola State Park is the most convenient and pleasant place in the city.
Those who enjoy staying fit and healthy will be happy to learn that the sidewalk circling the park is exactly a mile long, making it easy to keep track of progress. Other activities available at the park are renting swan shapes paddle boats and joining the real creatures on the water, indulging in local restaurants, watching a concert at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, or just relaxing among flower beds a quaint picnic in paradise. Be sure to bring your camera, as the park offers breathtaking views of the Orlando skyline.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 6 am until midnight. Entry is free for all guests and residents of the city.
Address: 512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL 32801
2) Harry P. Leu Gardens
Harry P. Leu Gardens is one of the city’s most sublime and luscious green pockets. It’s just minutes from downtown Orlando, sitting on 50 acres of botanical beauty overlooking Lake Rowena. The park was donated to the city by Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, who lived in the majestic estate on the property.
The couple traveled extensively worldwide and brings back seeds and plants from their journeys. The park is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, due to its blossoming array of flora and fauna they planted before passing away. The gardens are divided into 15 different sections, each with its own theme based on the plants growing in the area, such as a butterfly garden, citrus grove, tropical stem garden creating a rainforest effect, and floral clock.
Visitors can enjoy wandering through the gardens, learning about the history of the Leu house museum, marveling at various art installations, or simply relaxing and taking in all the gardens’ natural beauty.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 9 am until 5 pm and closed during the Christmas holiday. Entry to the gardens is $15 for adults and $10 for children and military personnel.
Address: 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
3) Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park is the longest-running tourist attraction in Orange county, and has been a popular location for residents and visitors for decades. The natural water wonder just minutes from downtown is the ideal place to relax or cool off from the humid Florida temperatures.
Emerald spring waters fill the spring, and lush tropical hammocks are there to make the location superb for observing wildlife and relaxing with a nice crisp breeze.
The park features miles of biking and hiking trails and horseback riding opportunities if you prefer a more natural approach. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent onsite, making it convenient for guests to enjoy the spring waters. The water temperatures stay 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, allowing swimmers to enjoy the springs every day of the year.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 8 am until 9 pm. Entry to the park is $2 per person or $6 per vehicle.
Address: 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712
4) Kelly Park
Kelly Park is a gorgeous place to spend a day exploring. Located at Rock Springs, Apopka, Kelly Park is one of the closest springs to the city and an ideal way to immerse yourself in Florida’s nature. With the spring water being a consistent 68 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s favored among locals and guests as a place to coo off from the Florida humidity.
While at Kelly Park, guests can easily spend an entire day exploring and relaxing around the area, often called ‘a little slice of heaven.’ Guests can have a picnic and relax, hike through various nature trails, tube down the naturally made lazy river (the most popular attraction), and scour sharks’ teeth while snorkeling in the spring.
Hours and Entry Information: The park opens daily at 8 am, and is open until 8 pm in the summer and 6 pm in the winter. Entry is $1-$5 depending on the number of persons and vehicles.
Address: 400 East Kelly Park Road, Apopka, FL 32712
5) Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park sits along the St. Johns River and is home to some of Florida’s most gentle giants we call manatees. In addition to various marine creatures, the park also houses a wide variety of bird species. The spring keeps a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for swimming and other water activities. Nature lovers will enjoy the park’s 5 miles of hiking trails too!
Educational opportunities are available at Blue Spring State Park to learn about the springs’ history, conservation, and gentle giants. Visitors can partake in a wide variety of water activities, as kayaks and canoe rentals are available for guests.
Additionally, boat cruises are optional for a chance to explore the spring more in-depth and a chance to spot even more wildlife in the area. It’s a great day to spend the afternoon relaxing in the warm summer breeze. Concessions are available on-site, and a local gift shop for remembrances and souvenirs from your visit.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 8 am until sunset. Entry is $6 per vehicle.
Address: 2100 West French Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763
6) Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular places to visit while in Orlando. Featuring over 100 species of plants and animals, it is an excellent place for families and visitors of all ages looking for a fun day in the city outside of a theme park. Explore and interact with your favorite animals, and immerse yourself in nature in the magical botanical gardens.
The botanical garden sat Central Florida is the perfect opportunity to stop and smell the roses. Flora and Fauna, medical plants, wildflowers, and much more are flourishing throughout the area, bursting with colors, aromas, and breathtaking views.
The botanical gardens feature various different sections, including a butterfly garden, health, and wellness garden, spines, thorns, and prickles garden, fern collection, browse the collection, and fern collection. Educational opportunities are available all throughout the property, for chances to learn as much as you can about the magical wildlife blossoming in the gardens.
Hours and Entry Information: The zoo and botanical garden are open daily from 9 am until 4 pm. Entry to the zoo and botanical garden is $22 per person and $14 for senior citizens.
Address: 3755 West Seminole Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32771
7) Mead Botanical Garden
Mead Botanical Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Winter Park, just north of Orlando. Setting on 47 acres, your senses will come alive while you find tranquility, relax in nature, and experience the peacefulness of an urban setting outside the city’s hustle. Interact and immerse yourself in nature at one of the most beloved destinations in Orange County.
The botanical garden has plenty to do, so guests can never be bored. It is a paradise for nature lovers, featuring various hiking trails, a flowing creek, a boardwalk, a greenhouse, a butterfly garden, tall majestic pine trees, and a pond filled with turtles, fish, and waterfowl.
Multiple celebrations and events are hosted throughout the property, including the Growvember Fall Festival, Great Duck Derby, school program, summer camps, Fall Plant Sale, and Biodiversity backyard day. Guests can relax among the idyllic flora and fauna, participate in yoga or tai chi in the gardens, geocaching, guided hiking opportunities, and plenty of escape for a picnic.
The Mead Botanical garden is a proud promoter of eco-friendliness and sustainability and welcomes any and all volunteers willing to do their part to keep Orlando green and beautiful.
Hours and Entry Information: The botanical garden is open daily from 8am until 7pm. Entry is free for all guests and residents of the city.
Address: 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789
8) Kraft Azalea Garden
Kraft Azalea Garden is a popular scenic public park located just north of the city of Orlando. Known for being Winter Park’s secret garden, its secluded location makes it a local hidden gem and one of the most magical spots in the city. Sitting on the banks of Lake Maitland, 13 acres of luscious greeny is surrounded and shaded by towering cypress trees, showcasing the real charm of Florida.
The garden features the largest Banyan Tree in the northern part of Florida, the Great Egret Rookery, and the Exedra Monument. While the park is rather small, it offers a perfect escape into nature while still enjoying the wonders of the city of Orlando. There is plenty of space for reading, relaxing, or spreading out for an afternoon picnic. The park is also very popular among photographers, as many wedding, parties, and special events take part in the area, and the backdrop and beauty around the property is unmatched.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 8am until dusk. Entry is free for all guests and residents of the city.
Address: 1365 Alabama Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789
9) Bill Frederick Park
Bill Frederick Park is located alongside Turkey Lake, just minutes away from some of Orlando’s most popular attractions. It is one of the top 5 rated fishing lakes in Florida and is designed with nature lovers in mind. It covers over 183 acres of land, giving guests plenty of space to spread out and relax while immersing themselves in the Florida sunshine.
The park is perfect for family outings, organizations, and community groups’ various recreational areas for activities, meetings, and gorgeous scenic views. The park offers many activities and amenities such as bird watching, boat rentals, hiking, picnic areas, fitness stations, pavilions, sports areas, joking trails, a swimming pool, and playgrounds.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 8 am until 7 pm during the summer months and from 8 am until 5 pm during the winter months. Entry to the park is free for all guests and residents of the city.
Address: 3401 South Hiawassee Road, Orlando, FL 32835
10) Central Park
Central Park is conveniently located in the heart of the shopping district in downtown Orlando. The park offers a slice of paradise in the middle of a concrete jungle and hosts various events and activities throughout the year. It is known as the crown jewel of parks, promoting sustainability and culture in Orlando, and attracts thousands of visitors annually to admire the beauty.
The park features a majestic fountain, landscaped planters and scenery, a beautiful oak tree canopy, and a rose garden. The West Meadow in the park is available for private events such as weddings and reunions.
Spend the day wandering around the grounds, relaxing in the luscious green spaces, or simply enjoying the warm Florida atmosphere. Visitors visiting during certain times of the year can also participate in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.
Hours and Entry Information: The park is open daily from 6 am until midnight and is free entry for all guests and residents of the city.
Address: 150 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park, FL 32789
11) Windermere Recreation Center
The Windermere Recreation Center, also known as Butler Bay, is a favorite place among locals in the city. The park brings a blend of a laidback small-town coziness and a spectacular lakefront atmosphere. It’s an ideal place to enjoy a breathtaking sunset in the city with unobstructed views or observe gators and other waterfowl in their natural habitat. It is one of the greenest places in the city, providing a peaceful place to escape reality.
The park features various activities and attractions for guests, such as a kayak launch, open-air pavilions, picnic tables, barbeque grills, walking paths, large grass relaxing area, and a charming small footbridge leading out into Lake Cresent.
Luxurious preferred travelers will be happy to learn that the area is also home to some of the most luxurious real estate in the state, with spectacular lakefront homes, country clubs, and pristine golf courses.
Hours and Entry: The center is open daily from 7 am until 8 pm. Entry is free for all guests and residents in the city.
Address: 11465 Park Avenue, Windermere, FL 34786
While many visitors to Orlando are looking for a thrill, adventure, and world-class theme parks, the city offers so much more, especially for nature lovers. Dozens of relaxing green spaces spread out throughout the city, offering peace and relaxation. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about our favorite parks and gardens in Orlando! Hopefully, it inspires you to visit some of these luscious spaces during your next visit.
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