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).
Updated April 26, 2022
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
Screamin’ Gator Zip Line
Available as an upgrade to regular admission at Gatorland, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line 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
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 — including a 425-foot zip line.
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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens 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 35 minutes north of our main tourism districts.
Learn more: Orlando Zoos & Gardens
Airboat Tours in Orlando
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures 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
Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides
Located 30 minutes southeast of Walt Disney World, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides 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. Wild Florida also has a drive-thru, self-guided safari tour!
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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. Revolution Adventures also has clay shooting, archery and bass fishing.
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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.
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
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. 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, Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the country to offer a guided kayak tour around an animal 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.
Get Up and Go Kayaking
Known for their famous clear kayaks, Get Up and Go Kayaking brokers kayaking adventures in Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park, just north of our main tourism districts.
Boat Tours in Orlando
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
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.
Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area
Named for a spectacular, 200-year-old live oak tree that survived after being split down the middle, Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area features a mixture of trails and unpaved roads through diverse wildlife habitats.
About 20 minutes south, the 438-acre Tibet-Butler Preserve features four miles of trails, seven ecosystems, and many bodies of water in the Butler Chain of Lakes, officially recognized by the state as Outstanding Florida Waters.
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
Walt Disney World® Fishing
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 two 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.
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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