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.
Updated June 30, 2021
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!
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified. Learn more about healthy travel in Orlando, and check with your favorite attractions and other businesses for their current status.
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
Available as an upgrade to regular admission at Gatorland, this unique experience will send you flying over live alligators, among other obstacles. It’s complemented by the park’s Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure, another separately ticketed attraction that provides a truly wild ride. Gatorland is 20 minutes southeast of SeaWorld® Orlando.
Save on discount tickets: Gatorland
About 15 minutes southwest of Walt Disney World® Resort, climb and soar with Tarzan-style swings, nets, ropes, challenging bridges and more — including a 425-foot zip line.
This zoo features Seminole Aerial Adventures, where you can navigate between trees using rope bridges, zip lines, suspended disks and other unique elements. They’re in Sanford, about 30 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Learn more: Orlando Zoos
Airboat Tours in Orlando
Boggy Creek offers day, sunset and night tours, as well as a gator pond, Native American village and even mining opportunities. Be sure to stop by the old swamp shack for an unforgettable family photo! You’ll find them about 40 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World.
Save on discount tickets: Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
Located 30 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World, this attraction specializes in small and private tours on six-passenger airboats equipped with headsets so you can speak with other guests and the captain.
Book a ride on one of this Kissimmee-based operator’s airboat tours and gain complimentary access to their onsite wildlife and gator park, all about 40 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World. They also have a drive-thru, self-guided safari tour!
Save on discount tickets: Wild Florida
More Ecotourism Adventures in Orlando
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. They also have clay shooting, archery and bass fishing.
Save on discount tickets: Revolution Adventures
Experience breathtaking views from 2,000 feet above ground at this attraction, which is about 20 minutes southwest of Walt Disney World.
Learn more: Orlando’s Sky-High Thrills
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 in Orlando
Guests of these sister properties can rent a kayak or canoe for exploring Shingle Creek, aka the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. The professionally guided eco-tours also reveal fascinating aspects about the area’s history and wildlife.
Learn more: Amenity-Packed Orlando Resorts
About an hour east of Orlando, this is the only zoo in the country to offer a guided kayak tour around an animal exhibit.
Boat Tours in Orlando
See gorgeous flora and fauna — plus multimillion-dollar homes — during this one-hour, narrated cruise through the lakes and canals of Winter Park, about 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Nature & Hiking Trails in Orlando
West Orange Trail
This 20.8-mile paved trail stretches north from Winter Garden, about 30 minutes west of downtown Orlando, 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!
Learn more: Winter Garden
Cady Way Trail
Stretching from downtown Orlando to Winter Park, this 7.2-mile paved corridor features water fountains and sheltered rest stops.
The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve
About 40 minutes south of Walt Disney World, this 11,500-acre nature sanctuary has a hiking trail where you can get a close look at the area’s native plants and animals.
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 45 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Learn more: Natural Springs in Orlando
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 an hour north of downtown Orlando.
About 35 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando, this park features free-flowing natural springs and Rock Springs, which is a clear, swift creek.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Just 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando, 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
Experience bass fishing at its finest all year round at Walt Disney World Resort! 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 two people. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.
Gatorland Bird Rookery
From February through June, bird enthusiasts and photographers can gain early morning, value-priced access to Gatorland’s expansive nature preserves with the park’s Photographers Pass.
Lake Apopka North Shore
About 50 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando, this gorgeous area is home to more than 360 bird species, including bald eagles, great blue herons, snow egrets and anhingas. It’s also the site of the North Shore Birding Festival, which takes place each winter and offers guided birding and nature tours.
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.
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