On land, in the water and through the air, unforgettable Orlando ecotourism opportunities will amaze you, including kayaking, nature trails, zip-line adventures, airboat tours and much more (Winter Park Chain of Lakes pictured, courtesy Get Up & Go Kayaking).

Updated March 2, 2023

Orlando offers a ton of unforgettable eco-friendly adventures — and the cooler winter and spring months are the perfect time to immerse yourself in our greater outdoors. Spotlighting airboat rides, zip-lining, hang-gliding, off-roading, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and more, here’s your guide to Orlando ecotourism experiences you won’t want to miss.

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Ecotourism Thrills in Orlando

Orlando’s flora and fauna offer relaxing escapes, but our natural beauty provides ample thrills, too. Dune buggies, airboats, zip lines and hang-gliding are some of the many ways to have a wild time with Mother Nature during your next visit.

Zip Lining in Orlando

Visit Orlando employee at Gatorland zipline adventure
Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens features Seminole Aerial Adventures, where you can navigate between trees using rope bridges, 13 zip lines, suspended disks and other unique elements. They’re in Sanford, about 35 minutes north of our main tourism districts.

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Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

About 15 minutes southwest of Walt Disney World® Resort, Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park invites you to climb and soar with Tarzan-style swings, nets, ropes, challenging bridges and more fun for all ages — including a 425-foot zip line.

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Screamin’ Gator Zip Line

Available as an upgrade to regular admission at Gatorland, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line allows you to soar over live alligators and crocodiles at speeds near 30 miles per hour. Explore Orlando’s wild side with thrilling animal shows, a free-flight aviary and up-close animal encounters, included in your ticket, or upgrade to go even deeper into gator territory on the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure, a separately ticketed attraction that provides a truly wild ride.

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Treetop Trek Aerial Adventures

Located one hour from Orlando on Florida’s east coast, Treetop Trek Aerial Adventures at Melbourne’s Brevard Zoo will send you flying over gators, spider monkeys, otters and more unique animal exhibits. With 14 zip lines, plus swinging ropes, climbing walls and other fun obstacles, this admission upgrade has something for everyone, from beginners to expert thrill seekers.

Discover: Indoor & Outdoor Zip Line Adventures in Orlando

Airboat Tours in Orlando

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

Glide through tall grass and swamp in search of alligators, cranes and other native Florida wildlife with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Located 40 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World® Resort, this natural attraction offers day, sunset and night tours, as well as a gator pond, Native American village and gem mining opportunities.

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Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides

Discover incredible wildlife aboard Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides, located 30 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World. This small-group tour operator offers an intimate look at Florida’s majestic swamps, with six-passenger airboats, extended tour options, and headsets that allow you to speak with other guests and the captain throughout your tour.

Wild Florida

Explore the headwaters of the Everglades on a Wild Florida airboat tour. All airboat adventures, including private day or evening tours, include admission to the onsite wildlife and gator park, where you can visit over 200 native and exotic animals. Upgrade your experience with up-close animal encounters and drive-thru safari tours. You can even dine next to Crusher, Wild Florida’s famous 14-foot, 1,000-pound alligator, if you’re feeling bold.

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More Ecotourism Adventures in Orlando

Real Florida Adventures manatee swim
Snorkel With Manatees on a Real Florida Adventures Eco-Tour

Real Florida Adventures

Set out on a guided manatee adventure tour with Real Florida Adventures, local experts who offer unique day trips and private tours in the greater Orlando area. Snorkel with manatees at Crystal River, kayak natural springs, explore Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and uncover more stunning eco-attractions, with transportation from Orlando included in every tour.

Revolution Adventures

Just 30 minutes west of Walt Disney World, take the wheel of a Polaris ATV or RZR, Hummer, dune buggy, or amphibious “Mucky Duck” for pulse-pounding, off-road fun. Revolution Adventures also has clay shooting, archery and bass fishing.

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Tank America

Offering a decidedly different eco-tour, Tank America invites you to drive an actual tank through gorgeous Central Florida wilderness. In fact, it’s the only place you can drive a tank in Florida without joining the military, and you’ll find it just east of downtown Orlando.

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Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park

Experience breathtaking views from 2,000 feet above ground at this attraction, which is about 20 minutes southwest of Walt Disney World.

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Ecotourism Exploration in Orlando

If you’re the type who likes to explore nature at a slower pace, you won’t want to miss the milder side of Orlando ecotourism, including kayaking, hiking, swimming, birdwatching and more.

Kayaking & Boat Tours in Orlando

Get Up and Go Kayaking clear kayaks rock springs location
Kayak Rock Springs in Orlando With Get Up and Go Kayaking

Adventures in Florida

Kayak Orlando’s hidden gems with the Certified Florida Master Naturalists at Adventures in Florida, who offer unbelievably real day trips and extended expeditions throughout Central Florida. See manatees, set out on a bioluminescent adventure, or catch a rocket launch from the serenity of your kayak.

Brevard Zoo

About an hour east of Orlando, Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the country to offer a guided kayak tour around an animal exhibit. Choose from the Expedition Africa tour or keep it local at the Wild Florida exhibit.

Epic Paddle Adventures

Offering tours all over Central Florida, Epic Paddle Adventures provides opportunities to explore crystal-clear springs, search for marine life on the intercoastal, or just enjoy some local sunshine on one of our many pristine lakes. You don’t need to go far, either, with several urban paddleboard and kayak tours available in the heart of Orlando’s unique neighborhoods.

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Get Up and Go Kayaking

Known for their famous clear kayaks, Get Up and Go Kayaking offer an unbeatable view of Florida’s waterways, with tours available in Rainbow Springs, Rock Springs, Silver Springs and Winter Park.

JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Guests of sister properties JW Marriott Orlando and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando in Grande Lakes can rent a kayak or canoe for exploring Shingle Creek, aka the headwaters of the Florida Everglades.

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Viking EcoTours

Explore Florida’s pristine waterways on guided kayak adventures with Viking EcoTours. Glide alongside dolphins and manatees, witness incredible sunsets, and be mesmerized by shimmering bioluminescent plankton on the Canaveral National Seashore. Viking EcoTour’s accessible, pedal-powered boats leave your hands free, so you won’t miss a single shot of these unforgettable experiences.

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

See gorgeous flora and fauna — plus multimillion-dollar homes — during the one-hour, narrated Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour through its namesake city’s gorgeous lakes and canals, about 20 minutes north of our main tourism districts.

Nature & Hiking Trails in Orlando

West Orange Trail - Bikes & Blades Co.
The West Orange Trail

Cady Way Trail

Stretching from downtown Orlando to Winter Park, this 7.2-mile paved corridor features water fountains and sheltered rest stops, with plenty of dining and shopping opportunities to explore along the way.

Florida Natural Scenic Trail

Explore the incredible biodiversity of Florida’s native ecosystems along the Florida National Scenic Trail, which covers 1,500 miles from the Panhandle to the Everglades. In Orlando, you can hike through pine flatwoods, freshwater marsh, oak hammock and more at Crosby Island Marsh Preserve, Moss Park and the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area, all located near Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Tibet-Butler Preserve

About 20 minutes north of our main tourism districts, the 438-acre Tibet-Butler Preserve features 4 miles of trails, seven ecosystems, and many bodies of water in the Butler Chain of Lakes, officially recognized by the state as Outstanding Florida Water.

West Orange Trail

This 20.8-mile paved trail stretches north from Winter Garden, about 30 minutes west of our tourism districts to the banks of Lake Apopka with plenty of amenities along the way — including playground equipment. If you want to bike it, West Orange Trail Bikes & Blades Co. of Winter Garden rents bicycles and similar equipment, including bike trailers for transporting kids. They can even deliver to your hotel.

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Natural Springs in Orlando

Blue Spring State Park

This park offers year-round adventure, including opportunities for camping, birding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming and more, all about an hour north of Orlando’s main tourism districts.

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De Leon Springs State Park

In addition to showcasing Florida’s natural beauty, this park is home to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House, where you can make custom pancakes inside a 100-year-old replica of an 1830s sugar mill. It’s a little more than an hour north of our tourism districts.

Kelly Park and Rock Springs Run State Reserve

About 50 minutes northwest of our tourism districts, this park features free-flowing natural springs, several hiking and equestrian trails, and Rock Springs, a clear, swift creek where you can enjoy tubing in the summer.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Just 40 minutes north of Orlando’s main tourism districts, this massive park has trails, canoe rentals, untouched vistas and family-friendly play areas, as well as its namesake springs. It’s adjacent to Wekiva Island, a unique day resort that only charges $2 for admission. (Local tip: “Wekiva” and “Wekiwa” are both pronounced “wuh-kive-uh.”)

Wildlife & Birding in Orlando

Family fishing at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Fishing at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Fishing at Walt Disney World® Resort

Experience bass fishing at its finest all year round at Walt Disney World® Fishing. Suitable for novices and experts alike, two- and four-hour options include guided bass-fishing excursions aboard a 21-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat for up to five people, and a tournament-style NITRO® bass-fishing boat for up to three people. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.

Gatorland Bird Rookery

On select days from March through May, bird enthusiasts and photographers can gain early morning, value-priced access to Gatorland’s expansive nature preserves with the park’s Photographers Pass. See cattle egrets, tricolored herons, great egrets and more during breeding season, as well as flamingos, macaws and other exotic birds year-round at the Very Merry Aviary.

The Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

An amazing resource for viewing a wide variety of wildlife, this trail has 17 locations in Orlando and Orange County, as well as numerous other places throughout Florida. Start at Harry P. Leu Gardens in the Audubon Park Garden District near downtown Orlando, which hosts avian experts and other guest speakers from the Orange Audubon Society from September through June.

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JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Guests of sister properties JW Marriott Orlando and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando in Grande Lakes can observe wildlife on a sunrise safari, take to one of 11 private lakes and ponds for fishing or angling expeditions, and even participate in a falconry class. The professionally guided eco-tours reveal fascinating aspects about the area’s history and wildlife.

Lake Apopka North Shore

About an hour northwest of our tourism districts, this gorgeous area is home to more than 360 bird species, including bald eagles, great blue herons, snow egrets and anhingas. It’s also part of the North Shore Birding Festival, which takes place each winter and offers guided birding and nature tours.

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