Facing another day of marathon theme park rides and shows, your family may have reached the point where they're ready for a new adventure. We've all been there. Fortunately, just north of Orlando there are plenty unexpected thrills and outdoor experiences to be discovered.
Things to do in North Orlando include endless opportunities to Florida’s natural side where you can come face-to-face with local wildlife, dive into refreshing spring waters and visit an arthouse movie theater among ancient oak trees.
Orlando’s northern region is home to several natural springs found within our state parks. The clear blue water stays an average 73 degrees year round. Each spring offers its own unique environment; most are great for swimming, snorkeling and tubing. Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs and Kelley Springs near Apopka are some of the most popular in the Central Florida area.
Blue Springs State Park
As a manatee refuge, the gentle giants are drawn to the warm water during the winter and spring. That means you can see hundreds of manatees on the spring's overlooks. Hike, picnic and if you can't get enough - camp overnight.
Locals know about this popular spot for boating, canoeing, fishing and kayaking. If you just want to sit back and soak in the beauty and sunshine, rent a cabana - it comes with comfy seating, grills, and a place to store the treats you bring with you. Stop by a store for an inflatable for a relaxing float on the river.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Canoe and kayak rentals are available from the park's concessionaire. Options for camping include a full facility campground and primitive camping areas.
Communities north of Orlando, including Eatonville, Maitland, Altamonte Springs and Longwood have vibrant arts cultural community and there is never a shortage of inspiring art and historical influences.
As Central Florida's only full-time, not-for-profit alternative cinema, Enzian exists to entertain, inspire, educate, and connect the community through film. Along with first-run independent features, Enzian offers a variety of special events, such as the world-renowned Florida Film Festival.
Maitland Art Center
The Maitland Art Center was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect, André Smith (1880-1959). This tradition continues at the Maitland Art Center today, with gallery exhibitions, art programming, and a strong curriculum of art instruction in an intimate atmosphere.
Zora Neal Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
Eatonville, the first incorporated African-American township in the United States, is just north of downtown Orlando and home to the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. There you visitors learn about the Harlem Renaissance author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston who spent her early years here.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, also known as the Sanford Zoo, is a 116-acre (47 ha) zoo and botanical garden located north of Orlando near the city of Sanford. Home to 500 animals representing nearly 200 species, visitors can take advantage of educational opportunities including keeper chats and animal encounters.
ZOOm Air Adventures
Families can “ZOOm” through an aerial adventure course that will allow you to explore the tree tops from an animal’s perspective. Guests can immerse themselves in the canopy of the forest; much like an animal would pass through the trees and view the world.
St. Johns Rivership Co.
From its home port on Lake Monroe just north of Orlando in downtown Sanford, the Barbara-Lee cruises the St. Johns, for three and four hour cruises for lunch or dinner. On board guests can get close-up views of the area's abundant wildlife while enjoy food cooked fresh in the ship’s kitchen, live music and dancing.