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Another Kind of Park

Wekiwa Springs

Courtesy of the Florida Park Service

Take a break from Orlando's tourist attractions to visit some of Florida's natural attractions.

Orlando’s theme parks are some of the best in the world. But sometimes visitors need a getaway from their getaway. Where do you go in Orlando to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? One of the many luscious parks.

Within an hour of Orlando is Wekiwa Springs State Park. This preserved section of land is what Central Florida looked like years ago when the Timucuan Native American tribes hunted and fished the area. Visitors can take a dip or rent canoes on the Wekiva River. There are 13 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling or horseback riding, and picnic areas dot the park. Overnight camping, both full facility and primitive camping, is available as well.

Roughly 35 miles away from Orlando is Blue Spring State Park. This spot is great for a day trip to snorkel or swim around the St. Johns River, which is used as a manatee sanctuary during the cold season. Guided canoe trips are available, and solo trips are of course an option, as well. Sand Pine Scrub campground is within walking distance to the water and has facilities for both tent and RV camping.

Also worth a day trip is Lake Louisa State Park. This park is famous for its six lakes, which are part of a chain of 13 lakes connected by the Palatlakaha River. Lake Louisa is the largest of the six. Fishing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming are all popular activities; however, the designated swimming area of the park is closed for the summer due to low water levels. The park features more than 15 miles of horse trails and more than 20 miles of hiking trials. Camping facilities are available

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