Nature Parks Near Orlando, Florida
Central Florida is home to some of the state’s true treasures – stunning parks and gardens that immerse you in our local landscapes. They offer an opportunity to get to know a different side of the Sunshine State, filled with freshwater springs, delicate ecosystems, ancient oak trees and cypress swamps. To balance your pool and sunbathing time with a sense of adventure, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite parks near Orlando, Florida and Balmoral Resort for swimming, walking, hiking and observing our abundant wildlife.
Circle B Bar Reserve
With trails extending around Lake Hancock and through Banana Creek Marsh, Circle B Bar Reserve allows you to take a short stroll or extend your walk up to six miles. The reserve is a true birder’s paradise and home to an astonishing amount of wildlife – including alligators (caution is urged when nearing the waterfront), otters, bobcats and foxes. To preserve the tranquil environment, music, balloons and boisterous activities are not permitted, making it a quiet outing for connecting with the stunning surroundings. Circle B Bar Reserve is also home to the impressive Polk’s Nature Discovery Center, which features interactive exhibits and much more.
4399 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, FL
Bok Tower Gardens
Throughout the seasons there’s something new to discover at Bok Tower Gardens. Each corner of its meandering, historic landscape offers places to explore, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. Acres of palms, ferns, pines, oaks and flowers create habitats for an astonishing number of birds as well as tortoises and snakes. The gardens are also home to a children’s garden, Pinewood Estate and nature trails. In the afternoons, visitors enjoy the strains and melodies of a unique concert played by carillons within the Singing Tower.
1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Just minutes from downtown, this unique park near Orlando, Florida is a local favorite and a great way for visitors to experience the area’s natural beauty. Wekiwa Springs State Park houses emerald springs flowing into the Wekiwa River, with crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming. Hikers and walkers will find over 25 miles of trails to explore, with the chance to observe abundant wildlife. The park also offers kayaking, horseback riding and canoes. With everything from tropical hammocks to sandhill uplands, it’s a great opportunity to experience the Orlando landscape.
1800 Wekiwa Circle Apopka FL 32712
Kissimmee Lakefront Park
Enjoy a relaxing, fun-filled sunny day by Lake Toho at Kissimmee Lakefront Park, with features for the whole family to explore. Bring your walking shoes and take a stroll out onto the park’s many piers or walk to the lighthouse for a great view and a lesson on the lake’s history. Find a shady spot to lay out a blanket or grab a seat at a picnic table. Kids love the two giant play structures and splash areas with fountains and sculptures. And for the fishers in your group, there are fishing tournaments on weekends as well as the Big Toho Marina for stocking up on supplies before a day out fishing for sunfish, bass, crappie and catfish.
201 Lakeview Dr, Kissimmee, FL
Snorkel, swim and float down the river at Kelly Park, where you’ll find a warm, free-flowing natural spring in shades of aqua and turquoise. Floating down the river requires a flotation device of less than 5 feet in length, and while pool noodles are allowed, a tube helps you avoid hitting the rocks in the water. Vendors stationed outside can get you set up with tubes for all members of your group, and the park also has a full-service concession stand as well as a playground and picnic pavilions. Arriving early is advised, as Kelly Park can fill up quickly.
400 E Kelly Park Rd, Apopka, FL
A small but supremely picturesque space, Hollis Garden within the historic Lake Mirror Park makes for a beautiful backdrop for your family vacation photo. It’s also a chance to observe impressive architecture, lush greenery and flowers. Choose a bench to sit and reflect or stroll through the well-planned walkways in this Downtown Lakeland oasis. You can also extend your walk around the lake and keep an eye out for turtles and birds.
702 E Orange St, Lakeland, FL
Highland Hammocks State Park
This state park invites you to travel back in time as you explore an ancient old-growth hammock. It boasts more endemic and rare species than any other Florida park, with nine trails that may reveal sightings of deer, alligators, birds and even black bears and panthers. A place where history and wilderness are carefully preserved, Highland Hammocks State Park also features a tram as well as a three-mile bike loop and an elevated wooden pathway through a cypress swamp.
5931 Hammock Road, Sebring FL
Balmoral Resort offers the perfect home base for exploring the beauty of our local gardens and parks near Orlando, Florida. Each is easily reached by car to create the perfect day trip. Visit our reservation site today to start planning your stay.