Don’t forget that you can catch these great parks and more on the Obie & Ashley Unfiltered Podcast!
This summer I am going to be sharing fun ways you can be On the Go in MCO to help bust boredom and break you out of your routine stops!
I’m going to start this series with a look at how you can explore the outdoors for under $10 a car load…that’s right! All of these things are either free or under $10 for the entire family!!!
On the Go in MCO: Fun Ways to Explore the Outdoors
Kelly Park/Rock Springs – Apopka, Florida
Let’s start our adventures On the Go in MCO at Kelly Park which features a free-flowing natural spring (68 degrees year-round), full-service concession, picnic pavilions, and playground.
Tube rentals are available from vendors outside the park, but guests may bring their own pool noodles or floats that must be less than five feet in length or width.
It’s important to notes that the waterfront closes one hour prior to park closing and that during the summer, inclement weather can affect park operations.
The park does reach capacity almost every day, so you will want to arrive before the park opens to secure your place in line.
Park Admission Fee: $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people; $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people; and $1 for additional person/walk-ins/motorcycles/bikes. No pets and no alcohol.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Trail – Apopka, Florida
If you want to walk on the wild side, the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is the place to go!
The drive is a one-way, 11-mile drive meandering through the eastern portion of the Lake Apopka North Shore Park.
The trail, which has an accompanying drive-through audio tour, begins at Lust Road and ends on Jones Avenue in Orange County, Florida.
The drive takes 1–3 hours, depending on the usage and how many stops visitors choose to make along the way.
The speed limit is 10 mph and the maximum vehicle length is 25 feet, and please not that they do not allow trailers.
There are a few restrooms and picnic pavilion are available on the property, but there is no drinking water provided.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive entrance gate is open between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. All vehicles must exit the drive by 5 p.m.
Park Admission Fee: Free
Big Tree Park – Longwood, Florida
Big Tree Park is an 11-acre park that is part of the Spring Hammock Preserve, located on the beautifully shaded General Hutchison Parkway between U.S. 17-92 and State Road 427 in Longwood.
The park is a step back in time and a popular tourist destination, and it also serves as a Trailhead for the Cross Seminole Trail.
Guests can walk through a natural hydric hammock swamp and then make their way on the boardwalk to the former site of “The Senator”: an approximately 3,500-year-old National Champion Bald Cypress Tree that was lost to fire in January of 2012.
A memorial has since been developed and includes interpretive signage along the newly renovated boardwalk, a playground piece that mimics a bald cypress tree stump, and a clone of “The Senator” that was planted near the playground called “The Phoenix.”
Big Tree Park is also home to the Senator’s sister tree, “Lady Liberty”, an approximately 2,000 year old Bald Cypress Tree.
Park Admission Fee: Free
Kraft Azalea Garden – Winter Park, Florida
The Kraft Azalea Garden is 5.22-acre public garden is located on the shore of Lake Maitland and is open year-round from 8 a.m. until dusk.
Lakefront, secluded and unique, Kraft Azalea is Winter Park’s secret garden that is full of picture perfect spots like the Exedra!
This beautiful park is shaded by enormous cypress trees that add to the old Florida charm of the 13-acre property.
Park Admission: Free
De Leon Springs State Park – De Leon Springs, Florida
Once called Acuera, or “Healing Waters,” by Mayaca Indians who inhabited the area, De Leon Springs is a place to cool off in clear waters, roam trails through a lush subtropical forest that features a massive old-growth bald cypress tree, and immerse oneself in a rich history.
A highlight of a visit to De Leon Springs State Park is a swim in the 72-degree spring water where depths range from 18 inches to 30 feet at the spring boil.
The swimming area is approximately 500 feet in circumference; swimming nine laps around the pool would be about a mile.
- No lifeguards on duty. Swim at your own risk year-round.
- No swimming is permitted in Spring Garden Run.
- Pets are not allowed in the sunbathing area.
- The swimming area will be closed when lightning is detected within six miles.
- Floats and rafts are allowed in the swimming area; however, flotation devices cannot exceed 5 feet for a circle or 4 feet by 6 feet for a rectangle.
In addition to swimming, you can enjoy snorkeling, wildlife viewing, boat & kayak launches, fishing, hiking, and more at the park!
Admission Fee: $6 per vehicle: 2-8 people, $4 per vehicle: one person only, $4 per motorcycle, and $2 per person for pedestrians, bicyclists and extra passengers