The Best Family-Friendly Hikes In and Around Orlando
Hikes in Florida aren’t always very scenic but they can still be rewarding! Prepare yourself for humid conditions (bring LOTS of water) and swampy trails, but you’ll get awesome opportunities to get up close to all kinds of local wildlife. Where can you find them? Here are some of our favorite hikes around Central Florida if you’re looking to get active with your family!
Kissimmee, 2700 Scrub Jay Trail, Kissimmee, FL 34759
Part of Disney’s Nature Conservancy program, the Wilderness Preserve is an 11,500-acre reserve about 15 miles south of Walt Disney World. The area is expansive, though you can only hike on a trailed-out portion of it. The hikes are through brushes and wetlands, and take you out to Lake Russell. The shortest hike, the white trail, is about a half-mile loop, with the longest trail, the yellow, being a 5.3-mile loop. There are two more in-between that take you on pristine hikes through these lands and all connect to make it back!
West Orlando, 8777 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836
Located on the outskirts of Orlando near the city of Windermere, this hike takes you out to the popular Butler Chain of Lakes. The hike itself is very easy to navigate with various trails, all for beginner levels and clearly marked. The trails also feature informational signs to learn more about the area, along with an environmental facility at the beginning to continue to explore through education! The facility also offers a Trail Blazer program for logging 20 miles of hikes here – which can earn you a t-shirt!
Lake Nona, 10525 Clapp Simms Duda Rd, Orlando, FL, 32832
Located in the Lake Nona area, Split Oak Forest is a wildlife refuge that offers backcountry, old Florida feels. There is a loop to hike that's just over 5 miles. If you have young ones you can hike as far as the water and then retrace your steps back to shorten the hike. If you’re feeling adventurous, make time to check out the entire loop to spot various wildlife and fun hidden trails. The hike also connects to Moss Park, where you can find even more spots to explore – or a spot to camp!
Downtown Orlando, 100 Rosegarden Drive, Orlando, FL, 32801
This urban jungle is located right in the heart of downtown Orlando and is a very easy-to-explore trail for all ages. Situated between neighborhoods, the allure here is the mix of flora you will encounter, crossing bridges, streams, and secret gardens. After you finish, treat yourself to a trip across the street for playtime at the playground at Langford Park.
Lake Apopka Loop Trailhead, South Binion Road, Apopka, FL
This rural hike is best started at Magnolia Park, where you can find parking and take it from the starting point around Lake Apopka. The trail is over 15 miles in length if you take it all the way to Green Mountain Trailhead. So if you’re looking to shorten this hike you can make it an out-and-back of any length! You’ll see plenty of wildlife regardless of how long you’re on the trail!
What are your favorite Orlando area spots? Have you done any of the hikes on the list? Be sure to tag us on Instagram with any of your family's adventures @gethappyly.
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