For fitness lovers, Orlando is a healthy paradise. Not only does the city have a variety of healthy eating options (such as dedicated plant-based restaurants), but the sunny Central Florida weather makes it easy to want to get outside and be active.
Although Florida is a flat state and there aren’t many mountains to hike or climb, there are beautiful trails to check out and be active on. In fact, a few of the most popular activities for residents of the Central Florida area are walking, running and biking. If you’re planning a visit soon, there are trails that shouldn’t be missed. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to enjoy the great outdoors in Orlando, though — you can go for a leisurely stroll on one of these trails anytime you’d like!
1. The Seminole-Wekiva Trail
The Seminole-Wekiva Trail is a local favorite. It runs 14 miles within the suburbs of Orlando, Altamonte Springs, up to Lake Mary. The trail is well-marked and generally well-populated. It’s also shaded by trees, with stops for water and bathroom breaks along the way. At the end, the Lake Mary trailhead stops near a commercial complex where you can grab some food.
2. Disney Wilderness Preserve
You can’t come to Central Florida and miss a visit to a property of “The Mouse.” Even if you aren’t a fan of the theme parks, the folks at Disney offer just a bit of everything. The Disney Wilderness Preserve is an extra special outdoor area just for those in the know; it’s 11,500 sprawling acres of wilderness featuring over 1,000 different species of plants and animals. Just like everything else that has to do with Disney, you won’t be disappointed by your visit.
3. Bear Creek Nature Trail
Bear Creek Nature Trail might sound terrifying, but the trail is a popular one where you will likely find friendly walkers, runners and bikers along the way. It’s not a very long trail, but the beautiful nature surrounding you will make you feel like you’re in paradise. The trail is full of gorgeous trees, including the famous Florida palms, and it runs in a loop so you can’t get lost!
4. Big Tree Park
Big Tree Park doesn’t have the most creative name in the world. Located just outside of Orlando in Longwood, Big Tree Park is now actually a bit of a misnomer. The “big tree”, a 3,500-year-old bald cypress, burned down in a fire in 2012. Visitors can still trek through the beautiful park, however, for a short and easy hike of less than half a mile.
5. Black Hammock Trail
The Black Hammock Trail feels a bit more secluded than some of the other trails in the area, but that’s part of its charm! Black Hammock is in Oviedo, about 30 minutes away from downtown Orlando, and the trailhead is far from any city noise. The 4.5-mile trail is also covered by tree canopies throughout the entire way, meaning you’ll barely feel the Florida heat while trekking it.
6. Split Oak Forest Wildlife & Environmental Area
The Split Oak Forest Wildlife & Environmental Area was named for – what else? – a split oak. The 200-year-old tree was split down the middle but survived, and today, its surrounding area has some of the best hiking in Orlando. Like many areas in Central Florida, The Split Oak Forest WEA is surrounded by wetlands, so if you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of some of the region’s wildlife. There are almost eight miles to explore in the Split Oak Forest WEA, so come ready to walk!
7. Bill Frederick Park
Bill Frederick Park is a favorite because it allows you to bring your furry friend. The actual park is an 187-acre paradise, complete with places to boat and camp for the night (whether you want to check out a cabin or pitch a tent), but the hiking trail is approximately two miles long. The area is family-friendly, with numerous pavilions available for picnics and rest.
8. Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail
The Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail is in Sanford, approximately 35 minutes from the heart of Orlando. It’s considered to be a more remote trail (it has the word “wilderness” in the title, after all) and is a 7.1-mile loop with boardwalk bridges to take you around the marshy areas. Be careful, though, as the trail isn’t named what it is for no reason; there are bears in the area and you may come across them on your hike.
9. Kelly Park Loop Trail
Kelly Park has plenty of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, but the hike around the loop trail is a great option for any nature fanatic. Kelly Park was donated by a prominent physician, Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, in 1927 and today is a wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary as well. The loop is just under 2.5 miles long, making it a good choice for a quick adventure.
10. Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail
Wekiwa Springs State Park is a little-known gem in a suburb just outside of Orlando. During the warmer months, the springs are filled with people and families enjoying the beautiful outdoors. At Wekiwa Springs, visitors are often drawn in by the water activities, such as canoe and kayak rentals, but the hiking around this marshy park is beautiful as well.