Orlando Parks and Gardens
(Orlando, Florida - FL, USA)
Despite Orlando appearing to rest on an infrastructure of pure man-made glitz, Orlando does have its fair share of nature to offer if you are in need of respite from the madness of the theme parks.
Away from the crowds and the noise, take a trip to one of the city's parks or large gardens, where you can appreciate the true beauty of the natural flora that Florida's tropical environment affords.
Bok Tower Gardens
Address: 1151 Tower Boulevard Lake Wales, Florida FL, USA
Tel: +1 863 676 1408
Not far from the famous Radisson Resort Parkway, Bok Tower Gardens provides a tranquil respite from the bustle of the city. With acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines, there are plenty of places to take shade from the hot Florida sun in the Bok Tower Gardens.
The park's delightful family friendly gardens are filled with magnificent flowers including azaleas, camellias and magnolia blooms.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Dickson Azalea Park
Address: 100 Rosearden Drive, Orlando, 32803, Florida FL, USA
Tel: +1 407 246 2283
Located just across the street from the Mayor Carl T. Langford Park, Dickson Azalea Park is the perfect place for a romantic picnic or a relaxing couple of hours with a good book. The park's stunning azaleas and rhododendons reach their peak during February and March, although you needn't wait until then to visit because there's enough year round natural beauty to make any day a good day to visit Dickson Azalea Park.
Open hours: daily - 05:00 to sunset
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Address: 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, 32803-1537, Florida FL, USA
Tel: +1 407 246 2620
Harry P. Leu Gardens is a perfect place from which to escape the theme park glitz of Orlando. A botanic oasis set in 50 acres / 20 hectares of land, this nature haven boasts the largest formal rose garden in Florida and America's largest Camellia collection outside California
. There is also a tropical stream garden here, containing the largest banana collection in the USA.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children
Lake Louisa State Park
Address: 7305 US Highway 27 Clermont, 34714, Florida FL, USA
Tel: +1 352 394 3969
Away from the main attractions but still considered within Orlando's limits, the Lake Louisa State Park is a perfect destination for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in nature. This 4,000 acre / 1,628 hectares state park provides visitors with the chance to relax and enjoy the surroundings or take part in any of the many activities on offer, which include horseback riding. The Lake Louisa State Park is also home to a wide variety of animals including white tail deer, marsh rabbits, alligators and bobcats, many of which can be seen while following the visitor trails.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to sunset
Turkey Lake Park
Address: 3401 South Hiawassee Road, Orlando, 32835, Florida FL, USA
Tel: +1 407 299 5581
Turkey Lake Park, in the southwest of Orlando, contains 300 acres / 120 hectares of natural beauty to offer anyone seeking slower paced entertainment or relaxation. There are plenty of things to do in the park including an outdoor swimming pool for kids, while for adults who enjoy a spot of angling there's a fishing pier that can offer some big catches if you are lucky. Consider staying overnight in a tent or a cabin and starting early the next day with golf, boating, baseball or biking. As a city park, Orlando's Turkey Lake Park is quite unbeatable.
Open hours: November to March - 08:00 to 17:00 daily, April to October - 08:00 to 19:00 daily
Admission: charges per vehicle and for in-park activities