Find natural beauty in outdoor Orlando

Get back to nature during these day outings.

by Debra Pamplin
July 18, 2022

Images via Getty Images

Orlando is known as a theme park land, for sure, but there is so much more to the city and the area than mouse ears and minions. Natural beauty still can be found, explored, and experienced at the outdoor Orlando locations listed below.

Get Back to Nature with These Outdoor Orlando Experiences

Kissimmee/Orlando

 Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures  

This attraction is a must — it’s so much more than an airboat ride, get a glimpse into the culture of Florida’s native Americans, mine for gems and fossils and explore the lakeshore park.

Boggy Creek is the only place to discover the Native American Village. Learn how native families survived in the swamp and view the replicas of Chickee Huts. Discover hand-crafted creations and authentic artifacts from the Jororo Tribe that once called Central Florida home.

For even more insight to the way of life of the Jororo Tribe, book a private demonstration and learn from Little Big Mountain on techniques and tools from the old ways to hunt and catch gators, how life was for the Big Mountain family in the old days as well the evolution of the weapon.

Bike and buggy rentals are available to easily explore the natural beauty of the 32-acre lakeshore park. Be sure to stop by the baby gator pond to view lots of little hungry swamp critters.

Airboat rides come in half-hour and hour-long tours, providing great views in the Florida’s natural beauty. Plenty of wildlife sightings will occur, along with flora and fauna growing wild throughout the swamp and shorelines. Private tours can also be purchased in both half-and hour-long lengths.

After all that entertainment, be sure to refill at the BBQ restaurant, Boggy Bottom. More than BBQ, consider gator tail, fried pickles, or pulled pork nachos. Dine outside at the lakeside patio and take in the beautiful lake views.

Lazy H Ranch

Get back to nature with horseback riding at the Lazy H Ranch. Owned by sixth-generation Floridians, the ranch offers one group ride each weekday, closed on the weekends.  The horseback ride tour begins at 10 a.m., and rides can last an hour or 1.5 hours, depending on the day. The maximum number of riders per tour is six. Riders must be at least 10 years old.

For a perfect date night, consider a private sunset ride. To book a tour, visit them here.

Surrounding Areas

Safari Wilderness

For an experience like no other in the Orlando area, be sure to take a walk on the wild side at the Safari Wilderness in Lakeland. Immerse yourself in nature either by participating in a drive-thru safari in your personal vehicle or on the guided vehicle safari. Even more ways to safari include the ATV safari, the kayak safari and the Camel Expedition.  

Optional extras that can be added to your visit include the chance to feed ring-tailed lemurs, experience a premium cheetah encounter that includes helping to feed the big cat, and/or feed members of the guinea pig colony.

There is also a sunset safari that will display the Savanna animals at dusk, including close-up encounters with:

·         Zebra

·         Camels

·         Ring-tailed Lemurs

·         Red-ruffed Lemurs

·         Nilgai (largest antelope in Asia)

·         Watusi Cattle

Included in the sunset safari is a stop at the elevated tree house. Stand out on the deck, surrounded by the 260-acre preserve and gain 360-degree panoramic views of the wildlife. Add on the opportunity to interact with-and feed- the Nilgai. This additional package is only available during the sunset safari.

The Safari Wilderness experience is one that won’t be soon forgotten. To photograph Florida in its natural environment, this is one destination that should be on every itinerary.

Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens is 60 miles from Orlando and the trip will absolutely be worth every mile. To experience all the nature in its original state, this location is perfect. A National Historic Landmark, visitors can experience the serenity and beauty of the landscape, along with the majestic Carillon Tower.

Lake Wales, Florida, USA at Bok Tower Gardens.

Known as the ‘singing tower’ the Carillon consists of 23 tuned bells, kept on the highest level of the tower.  Beautiful sounds complement the beauty of the area and add an extra layer of beauty to visitors. 

In addition to making a stop at the singing tower, experience the true beauty of Florida’s nature by touring the gardens. There are paved pathways throughout the garden, with many routes leading to the singing tower. The garden boasts 126 bird species, gopher tortoises and the eastern indigo snake.

There are several different sections within the garden:

·         River of Stone

·         Pollinator Garden

·          Endangered Plant Garden

·          Wetland Boardwalk

·          Reflection Pool

·         Peace Lantern

·         Window by the Pond

·         Outdoor Kitchen

Swan in Pond

Before returning to Orlando, consider a meal from the onsite Blue Palmetto Café. Menu options range from salads and soups, wraps and sandwiches to fruit and desserts. Add a beer or wine to your meal and enjoy a table inside or outside the café.

Whether you are visiting Orlando or a long-term resident, keep these nature-centric locations in mind for your next outing. Get back to nature, with Florida’s natural beauty.

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Since beginning her career as a freelance writer in 2008, Debra has had many articles published on a variety of topics. Websites such as USA Today Travel, Coldwell Banker and NerdWallet.com have run her stories. She currently also freelancesfor RVLife.com and NationalVehicle.com Her byline appears in prints such as AAA Southern Traveler, Oklahoma Today, Kentucky Monthly, AAA Midwest Traveler, Missouri Life, Golden Isles Magazine and Jacksonville Magazine.

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