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Nature places and parks to visit for those of you that dont want the tourist trap. (Includes, birding areas, biking, photography, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, etc)
This is a great place canoeing, kayaking, swimming (check out Katie's Landing for rentals). BTW, these are not in any order. I put them in as I thought of them.
Great picnic place, and swimming. Rock Springs has a natural "lazy river". You get in an inner tube and float (its a loop). Then you get out, walk back to the beginning and do it all over again.
Ok, this river is great for canoeing, fishing, etc. But the real reason I like to go to the Peace River is for the fossils. That's right, fossils. The Peace River has shark teeth, dugong, elephant, mammoth, mastadon, and more. You just have to know where to look.
Ok snorkelers and scuba divers, this is the place for you! Talk about clear water. Ginnie Springs if famous for its caves and trenches, but it is just a great place to visit.
This is a must see for visitors, especially in the Feb - March time frame. Blue Springs State Park is famous for the hundreds of manatees that come into the springs for the warmer water once a year. They have a festival and everything. Other than the manatees, it is a wonderful park to fish, canoe, kayak, what ever suites your fancy. They also have rentals. It is a beautiful park.
Ok, for those bike riders out there, Withlacoochee Trail in Inverness, FL is my favorite bike trail. It is wide, flat, long, wooded, beautiful, and has a bike rental place (with GREAT bikes! and a repair shop). The bike rental place was out of rental bikes last time I was there. So they let me rent one of the bikes they were selling, and OMG! it was the best bike I have ever been on. I enjoyed it so much, I literally bought the bike after the ride. It is the best bike I have ever owned. It makes riding so easy.
Another great trail is the West Orange trail. This is probably the most popular trail. There are multiple entry points, and a "station" on Colonial Dr. has a bike rental/repair shop. My favorite entry point is in Apopka. It is challenging (it has some hills, LOL) and beautiful! But honestly, the best thing to do is put the bike on the back of the car and go somewhere! That is my favorite way of biking.
Oh, before I forget, something you should try at least once is the Mount Dora Bike Fest. It is held in October and has basic events (for kids or beginner riders) to the very advanced (for the pros). Warning, Mount Dora is extremely hilly (and steep). Tough ride for those used to flat roads .
Mount Dora is a small town with quaint little shops, cozy restaurants, and a beautiful atmosphere. It is home to art shows, fairs, the Bike Fest, etc. They also have a dining train.
I had to put this one down. This is my favorite park in Orlando. It is great for those that like walking or picnics, but my favorite reason (other than it is beautiful!) is for photography.
This is another great photography place in Orlando. Hidden and mostly unknown to those outside of Orlando, it is perfect for those who love flowers, photography, and it has a wonderful view of a lake.
One of my favorite locations to go for birding and photography. It is a drive preserve in Merritt Island, FL. Meaning, you slowly drive your car around the preserve and see tons of birds, gators, wild boar, river otters, and more.
Vierra Wetlands in Vierra, FL is a hidden wildlife preserve nestled among a government building. This can be a drive, bike, or walking trail. Great for birding, and photography.
Ok, I think this may be the last one..lol! This is a great park. It used to be someones cattle ranch that they renovated into this wetlands park. It is great for hikers, photographers, and birding.