Who says that city life has to be all urban and no nature? Orlando is definitely a place that defies stereotypes, especially when it comes to wide-open parks and lakes for romping, paddling, cycling and fishing. They’re a world away, but just a few minute’s drive from Orlando’s most popular (and populated) urban areas – and it won’t cost you a dime.
Lake Eola Park
You can’t get any more “urban” than Downtown Orlando, which is why it’s such a surprise to find the eerily quiet and natural landscape of Lake Eola Park on East Washington Street. To make it even more surreal, swan-shaped paddleboats float like mythological demi-gods across the waters, powered by human exertion. The park itself is free, and a perfect place for picnics, jogging and strolling through the Sunday farmer’s market. The swan boats have a rental fee, but it’s minimal. There’s also a state-of-the-art playground and an amphitheater with free movies and outdoor concerts. Not in the mood for a picnic? You’re in luck with the Relax Grill, located right inside the park.
Lake Underhill Park
Whether you need to stretch your legs, let off some stream or train for a marathon, Lake Underhill Park is the place for fitness buffs. Eight fitness stations perch along an 0.75-mile trail on the south shore of Lake Underhill, and a loop trail through the park connects to Festival Park, Orlando Skate Park, Colonel Joe Kittinger Park, West Underhill Park and Park of the Americas. There’s also a boat ramp and a reputation for some pretty good fishing. The park is on Lake Underhill Park, on the south side of Orlando Executive Airport.
As part of the Greater Orlando metro area, Magnolia Park in Apopka is an urban refuge for more than 360 species of birds and has almost 30 round-trip miles of paths circling Lake Apopka. It’s the third-largest lake in the state, offers various types of camping sites, and provides free boating access to anyone. It’s also home to some of Orlando’s most popular festivals, including Birdapalooza, sponsored by the Orange Audubon Society, and the Magnolia Park Bluegrass Festival in May. Access the park from South Binion Road in Apopka.
Two parks in Kissimmee are well worth the drive, about 30 minutes from Downtown Orlando. Kissimmee Lakefront Park sits on the northwest shore of Lake Tohopekaliga (locally known as simply Lake Toho) and is renowned for bass fishing, culminating in the famous Bassmasters fishing tournament every year. A bait shop by the marina offers all the gear you need, with fair prices due to it being run by the city. Free optical binoculars are positioned along the shoreline. Shingle Creek Regional Park is host to historical structures dating as far back as the 1800s, and is the best place in the region for renting canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and bicycles. Free access to the park is from West Vine Street in Kissimmee.
Pinnacle’s spacious apartment communities in Orlando offer easy access to both urban and nature-filled city amenities. Visit us today for a free tour, availability and move-in specials.