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Guide to Orlando Outdoors

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Subtropical Orlando may be known for its theme parks, but it is also one of the best United States destinations for water sports and outdoor fun. Let this guide explore the options with you, from the kid-friendly to the thrill-seeking, and every level in between. With suitable options for beginners across all sports, from equestrian to golf, as well as engaging picks for nature lovers, park goers, and even the casual picnicker. Orlando's wild swamplands, crystal clear waters, and sandy beaches will tempt you outdoors to enjoy the Florida sun.

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer

10 Places

6 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Paddleboard Orlando

Other Fun & Games, Other Outdoor Activities, Water Sports, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Kayaking & Canoeing

Peace of Mind Kayak Tours

Kayaking & Canoeing

Discovery Cove

Theme Parks, Water Parks

Lake Eola Park

Parks

Tri-Circle-D Ranch

Equestrian Trails

Makaio WaterSports

Water Sports

Buena Vista Watersports

Water Sports

Congo River Golf

Mini Golf

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Golf Courses

Tibet-Butler Preserve

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Madison S's City Tips

  • After working up an appetite with all of these outdoor activities, eat out on the town! 15-20% is the regular tipping price for sit-down restaurants in Orlando.
  • The easiest ways to get around Orlando is by car. The city is huge, and public transport confusing. Many outdoor attractions are away from the city center, so plan accordingly.
  • Dress for your activity, and remember to bring essentials along like water, sunblock, and aloe. Bring suitable swim gear and shoes where needed.
  • If you have flown in & intend to rent a car at the airport, be aware that gas stations just outside of the airport overcharge. Fill up once in the city or before you return the car
  • Orlando has a large car rental market, with every major US brand represented in the city. You will be spoiled for choice, so if you plan to rent, peek around for the best price.
  • A waterproof camera may come in handy for many of these activities. However, if that is not possible, bring a resealable bag to protect your camera in while you jet ski and hike.
  • Save
    Paddleboard Orlando
    Other Fun & Games, Other Outdoor Activities, Water Sports, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Kayaking & Canoeing
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Paddleboard Orlando is a great way to get outdoors, whether you are new to the sport or an old pro, and suitable for any age group. The sage instructors give a short training tutorial before you're off on a relaxing trip following the current. Where your trail will take you depends on the route you have chosen, but some options include a Manatee Sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal with wildlife, a spring populated by monkeys, and for willing participants, a challenging after-paddle race. The waterways open to navigation are Wekiva River, Crystal River, Callalisa Creek, the Winter Park chain of lakes, and the Silver Springs run.

    Good for
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Any of the aquatic options you choose will be a short trip from the Orlando city center, so be sure to map where you are going and sort out transportation ahead of time.
    • Let your instructors know ahead of time if you'd like them to grab a few photos of your outing. As they lead the pack, they can get some great shots of your team behind!
    • Tours run in all seasons. In the rare case that it is unseasonably cold out and paddleboarding would be dangerous or very uncomfortable, your tour may be canceled and refunded.
    • Three Sisters Spring Manatee Sanctuary can be paddled or swam into, but not both. If you decide to swim, be aware that even at its controlled mid-70s temperature, it can be chilly!
    • Minimum bookings to go out onto the water are 6-10 people, depending on the tour. Call ahead to see if you can join with another interested group to go out if you are less.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 44 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Orlando
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Paddleboard Orlando is Top Notch 02/06/2018
    • Manatee Tour was really fun! 06/01/2018
    • Paddleboard Orlando
    Address:
    115 N Orlando Ave
    Winter Park , 32789
    Orlando, FL 32789-3616
    Phone:
    +1 407-960-7815
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Fri
    09:00 - 17:00
    Sat
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Peace of Mind Kayak Tours
    Kayaking & Canoeing
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    These kayaking tours combine learning with adventure. For the beginner, easy-to-follow instructions within the boat help get new rowers ready to take on the day, which will include a scenic tour and guided history of the body of water you are embarking on exploring. Whether you choose to take on the Little Econolahatchee River, the Winter Park chain of lakes, Merrit Island, or the Butler chain of lakes, there is a good chance that you will be spicing up your ride by spotting dolphins and exotic birds and patting manatees on the nose. The Nature Tour and Bioluminescence Tour are available for those especially interested in Floridian wildlife.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring a small snack and a bottle of water with you, as all that rowing can work up an appetite.
    • On the day of, be sure to bring bug repellent and a towel. For those who are worried about getting soggy, a change of clothes and shoes is also recommended.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 10 Outdoor Activities in Winter Park
    • An amazing experience! 24/11/2017
    • Relaxing and Beautiful 12/06/2017
    • Peace of Mind Kayak Tours
    Address:
    1304 Viburnum Ln
    Winter Park, FL 32792-2453
    Phone:
    +1 407-733-8338
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Discovery Cove
    Theme Parks, Water Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Swim with the Fishes... really! At Discovery Cove, there are a number of ways to enjoy being in the water. Whether it's snorkeling through the reef, getting in a wetsuit to hang out with friendly dolphins, or putting on a breather helmet to get up close and personal with a wide array of colorful fish, the Cove provides an inclusive experience for everybody. Other fun and relaxing features include a heated lazy river, an on-site aviary, and a sea otter viewing tank.

    Good for
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Most swim packages also come with a free Seaworld/Aquatica admission.
    • Swim packages are pricey, but include all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and alcoholic beverages.
    • It is best to book ahead, as the Cove keeps daily numbers somewhat low to preserve some of the intimacy of the experience.
    • The Cove is great for all ages, including very young children. Instructors are patient and helpful.
    • Swimming and interacting with the dolphins is an extra charge on top of regular ticket options.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 452 things to do in Orlando
    • Very relaxing! 23/06/2018
    • AMAZING 23/06/2018
    • Discovery Cove
    Address:
    6000 Discovery Cove Way
    Orlando, FL 32821-6000
    Phone:
    +1 407-513-4600
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:15 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Lake Eola Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Lake Eola Park provides a charming break from the bustle of most of Orlando's attractions. In this park boasting a mile of grassland and paths, the well-manicured grounds are dotted with sculptures and pavilions. It is a charming location that is perfect for a picnic or a stroll, and activities provided by the park itself include boat rentals for the lake, and feeding stations where you can buy seeds to make friends with the local ducks and swans. The lake fountain is lit up by nightfall, and even includes a light show. Peaceful on weekdays and a hive of activity on weekends, Lake Eola allows visitors to truly enjoy Orlando like a locals.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Weekends often boast special events, from local winery tastings to major festivals. Always worth visiting to see what's on, as you may be in for a surprise.
    • Sundays are when the local Farmer's Market takes place at Lake Eola Park. Many vendors participate, selling fresh food and wares.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #43 of 452 things to do in Orlando
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • what a nice diversion 22/06/2018
    • The Culmination of My Time in Thornton Park 22/06/2018
    • Lake Eola Park
    Address:
    512 E Washington St
    Orlando, FL 32801-1941
    Phone:
    +1 407-246-4484
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Tri-Circle-D Ranch
    Equestrian Trails
    Madison S Says:

    At Tri-Circle-D Ranch, an afternoon horseback riding experience awaits. Shaded trails welcome all riding levels, but are especially suited to beginners, with sweet-tempered horses clipping along at a relaxing pace. For young riders, there is a pony stable to enjoy. The stables themselves have a small historical museum of photos and artifacts relating to horseback riding in the region, and the pony stable includes a small version of Cinderella's stagecoach being tugged along to delight little viewers. Trail rides are generally under an hour, so there's little risk of a saddle sore. A more peaceful outdoor option for a day trip.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • For convenience, bus and boat routes also reach the Ranch, if you are not driving. There is an associate hotel near the premises, for true equestrian enthusiasts.
    • The Ranch used to include a petting zoo, but no longer does. Please be cautious and refrain from petting the horses and ponies, as they can be nippy.
    • The ranch is most suited to beginner or relaxed riders, as the trails are not challenging. An especially positive feature for new riders is the Ranch's easy-mounting system.
    • If you are driving to Fort Wilderness for the horses, you will note that the pony ranch is a ways away. Don't worry; park at the main ranch, and a shuttle takes you to the ponies.
    • The Ranch features snack bars and a playground on-site.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #153 of 452 things to do in Orlando
    • Pony rides and ranch 03/05/2018
    • Horseback trail ride on Disney property 20/02/2018
    • Tri-Circle-D Ranch
    Address:
    4510 Fort Wilderness Trl
    Lake Buena Vista
    Orlando, FL 32830-8415
    Phone:
    +1 407-939-7529
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 15:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Makaio WaterSports
    Water Sports
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    For the thrill seeker, there's nothing like hitting the water on a jet ski. At Makaio WaterSports, jet ski rental is made safe an easy. The jet skis, which are delivered by friendly staff with a full tank of gas, are provided at a number of docking locations throughout and just outside of Orlando, meaning you can enjoy your choice of landscape. Helpful staff will provide directions to the docks and start you off with safety tips and a quick tutorial. Flotation devices and walkie-talkies for communication with staff are provided for riders' convenience before they take off at up to 50mph for a few hours of high-speed adventure.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A full list of the usual docks Makaio supplies is online. They are also quick to reply by phone or email if you have additional questions about the options.
    • In some cases, jet skis can be delivered to you or to your nearest body of water. Call ahead if you'd like the inquire about arranging this.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 44 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Orlando
    • SCAM 08/08/2017
    • Scam!!! 21/07/2017
    • Makaio WaterSports
    Address:
    14602 Pine Forest Ct
    Orlando, FL 34711-7622
    Phone:
    +1 407-810-7547
    Other:
  • Save
    Buena Vista Watersports
    Water Sports
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Buena Vista Watersports caters to the traveler who wants an all-inclusive day at play. On a sandy stretch of pristine private beach, guests have opportunities to surf, water ski, jet ski, wake board, knee board, or go tubing or kayaking, all at their fingertips. With all equipment provided by Buena Vista, the only worry is what to choose. Afterwards, share a drink or a family moment on the beach, lounge in the deck chairs for some sun, or keep at it with beachside sports.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to bring appropriate clothing (and/or changes of clothing) for the activity you intend to do. Beuna Vista supplies equipment, but not personal apparel.
    • Buena Vista's beach can be booked for weddings or private parties. Call for details.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 44 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Orlando
    • Hidden gem. 07/05/2018
    • First time jet skiing 14/10/2017
    • Buena Vista Watersports
    Address:
    13245 Lake Bryan Dr
    Orlando, FL 32821-6336
    Phone:
    +1 407-239-6939
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Congo River Golf
    Mini Golf
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    While there are many driving ranges and greens for golf in Orlando, this one is for the outgoing mini-golfer. With two courses on offer, the eclectic setting of waterfalls and pools at Congo River Adventure Golf keeps things exciting and challenging. During your golfing tour, play the park's scavenger hunt game and spot the live gators on the course. After a round (or two, or three), grab a snack at the on-site hut, play a few virtual games in the arcade, or really dig deep into the 'Adventure' portion of Congo River's name with rock mining, flamingo boats, basketball, and a fish feeding pool. For the truly daring, you can even hold a baby gator — say cheese!

    Good for
    • Trendsetter
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • The mini-golf course is open late, until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends (Friday and Saturday), making it a convenient after-dinner or post-theme park spot.
    • Congo River offers discount package options for multiple rounds of golf.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 242 Fun & Games in Orlando
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Miniature Golf 22/06/2018
    • Great Staff, Great Way to spend a morning or evening. 18/06/2018
    • Congo River Golf
    Address:
    5901 International Dr
    Orlando, FL 32819-8205
    Phone:
    +1 407-248-9181
    Price range:
    US$ 13 - US$ 13
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    10:00 - 23:00
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Grand Cypress Golf Club
    Golf Courses
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    For the more serious golfer, there's Grand Cypress. The draw of this particular estate is that it's organized in four different sets of 18-holers: The North, South, East, and the New Courses. With wonderful practice facilities, an amiable pro shop, talented instructors, helpful cart girls, and a few different levels of difficulty to take on, a trip to Grand Cypress can be customized to fit your needs.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • The aptly-named New course is Grand Cypress' newest addition. So if you have played the other three course before, stop by again to take on the fourth.
    • The North and South Courses have been recently renovated and have wide fairways. The East course is slightly more challenging, with rougher and bumpier terrain.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 128 Outdoor Activities in Orlando
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must play in Orlando 18/06/2018
    • Golf course was great, but....... 17/06/2018
    • Grand Cypress Golf Club
    Address:
    1 N Jacaranda St
    Orlando, FL 32836-6618
    Phone:
    +1 407-239-4700
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Tibet-Butler Preserve
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    The Tiber-Butler Preserve is a hiking spot that offers a gateway look into Florida's native land and wildlife. With easy, flatland paths that cater to any level of athleticism, Tibert-Butler has a number of different trails for visitors to explore at their leisure, each with a different main feature. Fallen Log Crossing has a boardwalk overlooking an expanse of natural swampland, and at Osprey Overlook, you can view the tall trees surrounding the wetlands. The three main trails are the swampy Pine Circle (less than one mile), the dry flatlands of Tarflower Loop (1 mile), and Palmetto Passage (1.5 miles). Armadillos, butterflies, turtles, and owls populate the landscape, and each trip — whether it's a gentle walk or an endurance hike around the Tibert-Butler Preserve — will reveal more flora and wildlife.

    Good for
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Because the Preserve runs through swampland and marshes, trails are occasionally closed while they dry off. They tend to re-open soon after, so do try back on another day.
    • The Preserve is close to Disney World Park, and so it makes either a nice start to a day at the park, or a solid day trip for those staying at a Disney resort.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #80 of 452 things to do in Orlando
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of the best....... 07/05/2018
    • Very nice trails 22/04/2018
    • Tibet-Butler Preserve
    Address:
    8777 State Road 535
    Orlando, FL 32836-6548
    Phone:
    +1 407-254-1940
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 18:00
    Other:
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