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Get Active

Sports And Activities In Orlando

 

Orlando has it all, including the most incredible, year round warm weather which is ideal to play sports,

and here at Gotta Go Orlando Going Out Guide we've got all the info you need.

Visitors and locals alike have a multitude of sporting activities to enjoy including over 150 top rated golf courses, miles of walking and cycling trails and triathlon certified training at the National Training Center,

as well as the 64 acre United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus and all the facilities at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex,  a multi sports facility that can host over 60 sports.

Orlando offers miles of running terrain, bicycle trails, pristine fishing spots, and other outdoor adventures for the whole family, Orlando is the premier destination for sports people of all ages and skill levels. 

The mild climate makes outdoor recreational pursuits a year round lifestyle choice here in Central Florida.

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Golf

 

With our year round great weather and more than 120 golf courses, many golf academies and lots of mini golf, it's really no surprise that golf is a way of life here in the Orlando sunshine.

 

Thanks to stunningly gorgeous greens designed by professional players and acclaimed architects including Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus Fazio and Greg Norman, you won’t want to miss playing some of the best golf courses!

 

 

Professionally Designed Golf Courses in Orlando

Many of golf's biggest legends and sought-after designers have created golf courses in Orlando, inviting you to master some of the most gorgeous, challenging greens you'll ever play.

 

One of the most prestigious in that regard can be found in the heart of Orlando is Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge. More Palmer designs await at Shingle Creek Golf Club, adjacent to International Drive, and Orange Lake Resort, close to Walt Disney World, plus all three exceptional courses at Walt Disney World Golf are operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management.

You'll find another Palmer-designed course at Reunion Resort, which is also the only club in the world with courses created by Palmer, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. Want more Nicklaus? Just 10 minutes from Disney, Grand Cypress Golf Club boasts 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf. And that's just the start of pro-designed golf courses in Orlando.

The Nations Best Courses
There are more than 1,250 golf courses in Florida, more than any other state. If you can’t enjoy golf in Florida, then you can’t enjoy it anywhere. Orlando is home to some of the best courses in the state and the country.

 

Planning an epic golf trip to Orlando leaves the door wide open in terms of courses, resorts, and style of play. Choose from nationally known courses or stay at resorts with more than enough courses to fill your golf vacation.

 

Course in Central Florida are endless, Rosen Shingle Creek, Grande Lakes and Grand Cypress Golf Resort, all in Orlando. Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, and the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden. Plus the top resorts Ritz-Carlton Orlando and Waldorf Astoria Orlando, have their own golf courses. Kissimmee has blossomed into its own golf mecca with Reunion Resort, Orange Lake Resorts and Falcon's Fire Golf Club. Don't miss Celebration Golf Club in Celebration, Southern Dunes in Haines City and Victoria Hills Golf Club in DeLand, either. The fun and games and golf never ends in O-town.

 

Must Play Courses

 

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Designed by its namesake legend and home to the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge offers 27 holes of championship golf paired with exceptional service in a private club setting. The links are open exclusively to club members and lodge guests, but fortunately, lodge accommodations are available to non-members and members alike.

 

Grande Vista Golf Club

Part of Marriott’s Grande Vista, Grande Vista Golf Club sits on the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, surrounded by magnificent oaks and beautiful cypress trees. In addition to a nine-hole, par-32 course designed by Ron Garl, it features 35 acres of dedicated practice areas, a full slate of instructional opportunities and even custom club-fitting programs from the onsite Marriott Golf Academy.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes offers 18 holes of Greg Norman Signature golf that’s enjoyable for duffers of every skill level, not to mention nature-lovers, given the course’s status as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Part of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, the championship level course is complemented by a clubhouse and instructional opportunities.

Shingle Creek Golf Club

A par-72, 18-hole championship course that was reinvented by Arnold Palmer Design Company, Shingle Creek Golf Club is part of Rosen Shingle Creek near International Drive. Situated at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, it features 7,213 yards of undulating fairways and interconnecting waterways against a backdrop of dense oaks and pines. It’s also home to the Brad Brewer Golf Academy, where players of all ages can take

 

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Part of Villas of Grand Cypress, Grand Cypress Golf Club has The New Course: a Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed, Scottish links course that serves as Nicklaus’ homage to the famous Old Course at St. Andrews. In the spirit of its predecessor, The New Course features double greens, stone bridges, gorse mounds and more, while steeper and more challenging bunkers and slopes add a heightened dimension of play.

 

Hawk’s Landing Golf Club

With a scenic blend of native Florida wildlife and tropical vegetation spread out over 220 acres of lush nature, Hawk’s Landing Golf Club at Orlando World Center Marriott is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. More importantly to golfers, it offers a 6,600-yard, par-72, 18-hole course that delivers a fun and challenging experience for duffers of all ages and abilities.

Orange Lake Resort

Designed by Arnold Palmer, The Legends is one of Orlando’s best-kept golf secrets, and you can only play it at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee. In addition to The Legends, which evokes Scottish-style golf on the front nine and the Carolinas on the back, this resort also offers 18 holes at The Reserve, specifically designed to be in harmony with local nature, and the nine-hole Cranes Bend.

 

Reunion Resort Golf Courses

Many golf clubs are lucky to have a single course created by a professional golfer but Reunion Resort Golf Courses at Reunion Resort & Golf Club has three. Specifically, it’s the only location in the world where you can play designs by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson! The Watson Course was the first in Florida to be designed by the former PGA Tour champion, providing beauty and challenge in equal measure. Not to be outdone, the parkland-style Nicklaus Course boasts long horizon lines and elevated tee boxes and greens, while the Palmer Signature Course creates a unique variety of risk/reward shots. Play all three for the ultimate golf challenge!

Tranquilo Golf Course at Four Seasons Resort Orlando

If you want to play the 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed Tranquilo Golf Course at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, you’ll have to be a member of the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club or a guest of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World but given that you’ll be staying at Central Florida’s only AAA Five Diamond-rated accommodation, we think the tradeoff is well worth it! You’ll also get access to a 16.5-acre practice facility, an 18-hole putting course and other amenities before and after you tackle Fazio’s picturesque, secluded course.

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

Created by Rees Jones, Waldorf Astoria Golf Club at Waldorf Astoria Orlando was the first golf course for the Waldorf Astoria brand, and that stately positioning shines through in every aspect of the experience. Covering 7,108 yards, the par-72, 18-hole course is visually stunning and immensely playable, winding through a large wetland preserve with long stretches of shimmering lakes.

 

Walt Disney World Golf

Operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, Walt Disney World Golf at Walt Disney World Resort has three 18-hole championship options, including Disney’s Palm, Disney’s Magnolia and Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses, as well as the family-friendly, nine-hole Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. What’s more, guests of Disney’s official hotels can enjoy discounted equipment rental at the championship courses.

Dubsdread Golf Course

Originally designed in 1924 and renovated in 2008, this 18-hole public course was one of Orlando’s first and is still going strong. The winner of several “No. 1 golf course in Central Florida” honors, Dubsdread Golf Course also features a practice facility and one of the area’s best restaurants: The Tap Room at Dubsdread. Dubsdread Golf Course is in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood, about 10 minutes north of downtown.

Lake Nona Golf & Country Club

Lake Nona has emerged as one of the country’s top golfing communities, and Lake Nona Golf & Country Club has much to do with it. Designed by Tom Fazio to embody the purity of the game, the 18-hole championship course has been ranked as one of the best by Golf Week. Although this course is normally only open to Lake Nona Golf & Country Club members, the facilities are made available to select charities and organizations seeking to create golf-focused outings.

Winter Park Golf Course

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and dating back to 1900, this public course is one of the oldest in Florida. It offers nine holes of gorgeous, affordable golfing in the heart of its namesake city, with narrow, tree-lined fairways and gorgeous greens fortified by bunkers, just 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando.

 

To promote your golf club or latest events contact us now to feature in Gotta Go Orlando Going Out Guide 

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Tennis

Open to the public, and the home of American tennis, the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona

invites tennis enthusiasts of all skill levels and ages to watch,  learn and play  at one of the world's largest

tennis facilities, and the great thing is, many of its courts are free to play for visitors of all ages. 

 

Whether you're a player or coach, beginner or expert, or even a spectator, you'll enjoy unparalleled tennis experiences at this one of a kind location.

 

Many hotels and resorts also offer tennis courts for guests including racket hire,  plus there are over 50 public courts including Fort Gatlin Tennis Complex and the Orlando Tennis Center.

Fishing

Central Florida is blessed with miles of rivers, lakes and canals that are quite simply perfect for fishing, and that's not including the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that are just over an hour away.

 

Central Florida freshwater lakes and rivers swarm with all kinds of fish, especially largemouth black bass but also perch, catfish, sunfish, and pike.

You can discover unforgettable action for every skill level aWalt Disney World, for example, you can fish the Seven Seas Lagoon, where options include two hour guided trips, kid's fishing and canoe pole fishing.

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Running

For those looking where to go running in Orlando, there are several trails, parks, and wilderness preserves to choose from, and are perfect for any level runner looking to be active. 

Remember, he weather in Orlando can be both appealing and unappealing for runners. November through April is generally delightful for running, mild to warm, with the occasional hot snap or cool snap, and drier than summer. May through September are very hot and humid, with little relief, and there can be periods of heavy rain. Plan hydration carefully. And be wary of thunderstorms, an almost daily occurrence in the warmer months here.

The Routes

 

Downtown Orlando Tour

5 miles. Start: Parking lot at Publix, Lake Eola.

 

This is a tour of downtown Orlando that can be started from numerous points depending on where you’re staying. Downtown is a mix of urban jungle and some lovely lakes, some with trails around the perimeter. The signature segment of this run is a tour of lake Eola, which is 0.8 miles around. Lake Davis is also a highlight.

 

Gaston Edwards Park/Orlando Urban Trail

6 miles. Start: Gaston Edwards Park (2 mi. north of Lake Eola)

This is another good option near downtown. This route, which starts at Gaston Edward Park, 2 miles north of Lake Eola, follows lakeside paths and roads, plus the Orlando Urban Trail. The run incorporates 6 lakes: Ivanhoe, Highland, Rowena, Estelle, Sue, and Winya. Other landmarks include the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, and the Botanical Garden.

Cady Way Trail

5.8 miles Start: south: just north of Fashion Square Mall; north: Cady Way Park

 

This is some of the closest off road running to downtown Orlando. Starting at Fashion Square Mall, which is 3.5 miles northeast of downtown, the trail runs nearly 6 miles toward Winter Park, ending at Cady Way Park. A nice connection/add-on is Baldwin Lake, 1 mile from the southern terminus of the Cady Trail.

Disney Area

If walking the parks isn’t enough and you have an opportunity to sneak out, there are some decent running options in the Disney area. It does take a little research and planning, as some of the hotels inside and outside the Disney resort are on very busy roads and/or don’t have sidewalks. Working with New Balance, Disney has created and identified more than 16 miles of running/walking trails winding throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Convention Center & Universal Studios Area

Don’t despair if you are located at one of the Convention Center hotels. Running along International Drive is OK, there is a paved path along the way and it is pleasantly landscaped. It’s pretty busy, but it’s fine for a quick run.

Celebration

Celebration, FL is a master planned community, the homes are lovely with porches facing the street, the roads are quiet and lined with sidewalks, and there are numerous community sites along the way. This is a worth it place to use as a destination run, plus, The Celebration Town Hall Marathon runs at the end of January and is very popular.

Blue Jacket Park/Baldwin Lake

6 miles NE of downtown. 1 mile around park; 2.5 miles around lake

 

A worthwhile destination if you’re staying downtown and looking to get off the road. 15 minute drive from downtown and a nice tour around the lake. Also a running track in the park. Also connects to the Cady Way Trail, just to the east of the lake, which continues another ~5 miles north toward Winter Park.

Winter Park Tour

7.5 miles. Start: Downtown Winter Park @ Park Ave. & Morse

 

Winter Park is a pleasant suburb 7 miles north of Orlando. There is a pleasant downtown with restaurants and bike shops, parks, lakes, and pretty residential streets, and a few different trails. We’ve put together a “highlights of Winter Park” run, which includes the cute, shaded Park Ave., a jaunt out to Lake Maitland and the Kraft Azalea Garden, and some of the lovely residential streets west of the lake and east of the Winter Park Village Mall.

 

 

West Orange Trail

22 miles Start: Join at any section, especially Winter Garden.

 

Popular for biking and running, the West Orange Trail is a world-class rail trail through urban and suburban sections of Orange County. The trail runs from the Killarney Station trailhead on SR50 west of Oakland, through Winter Garden and to Apopka, ending at Welch Road. 

Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach

6.5 miles, following half-marathon route from Cocoa Beach Pier to Orlando Beach.

About 70 miles east of Orlando, the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area is a worthwhile destination if you have a time. Cape Canaveral is quite a site and the tour is really interesting. And if you like beach running, Cocoa Beach is one of the greats in North America. You can run for nearly 10 miles along this wide beach, and at mid to low tide, the surface is firm and fantastic for running. It’s the site of the USA Beach Running Championships.

 

 A fun alternative activity is to rent a ‘beach bike”, and do that activity or combine it with a run. A good side option is to run across the W. Cocoa Beach Causeway, which is 3.5 miles ONE-WAY.

Theme Park Events

In addition to offering the latest thrill rides, the Orlando area theme parks all offer exclusive running events that take you through the parks along the walkways of the attractions.

 

At Walt Disney World, a runDisney race is anything but ordinary, here you get the chance to run through the Disney theme parks including backstage areas. Whether you're a beginner, a seasoned marathoner or somewhere in between, you're in for an amazing run, from marathons and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks, to kids races and multi race challenges. Disney Characters, live entertainment and a commemorative Disney finisher medal all await.

Enjoy Universal Orlando Resort's Running Universal Epic Character Race 5K and 10K and race through Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure during an action packed race weekend surrounded by Universal's most iconic characters.

SeaWorld Orlando Resort allows you to run, skip, jog, or stroll through SeaWorld’s Rescue Run! Enjoy the ambiance of the park’s picturesque pathways and catch sight of SeaWorld’s animals before you cross the finish line at Shamu Stadium. With SeaWorld Animal Conservation themed awards, medals for all participants, and plenty of surprises along the way, a memorable day for all racers. 

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Biking

Orlando has a bike trail for everyone, Orlando boasts hundreds of miles of paved bike paths to explore and enjoy!

 

Orlando is home to some 30 trails covering 250 plus miles, the paths ranging from short urban trails of a mile or three to the 28-mile Cross Seminole Trail that goes through Oviedo, Winter Springs and various suburbs. You can enjoy biking through a wide variety of terrain, from the hills of southern Lake County to the flat, bucolic stretches of the East Central Regional Rail Trail that links DeBary with Titusville. There’s a path for about every level of rider, from the high speed racers to parents puttering along with their youngsters on training wheels. 

 

The Best Bike Trails In Central Florida

 

Seminole Wekiva Trail (14 miles)

The San Sebastian Trailhead near the southernmost point of the Seminole Wekiva Trail greets cyclists with a view of the Little Wekiva River from a picturesque bridge. Heading north, the trail is well shaded and quiet but traffic increases near the 40-acre Sanlando Park, known for hosting large tennis tournaments on its six courts. It also has volleyball, racquetball and a nature trail. Next door is the Seminole County Softball Complex. There’s also some foot traffic in this area from a business complex where employees escape their office for some fresh air on the trail.

 

For entertainment beyond nature, riders on the Paint the Trail portion of the Seminole Wekiva will see the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Cheech and Chong, The Beatles, James Bond, Kermit the Frog, Muhammad Ali and the shark from Jaws, all in a few pedals of a bicycle. With more than 1,000 vibrant paintings and counting, local artist Jeff Sonksen has transformed wooden privacy fencing along the center of Seminole Wekiva into an art exhibit packed with iconic, inspirational and political images. The white angel wings sculpture and the wooden monarch butterfly wings, planted in front of a series of dramatically painted endangered species image, are hotspots for selfies. The paintings are between E.E. Williamson Road and the Jones Trailhead off Markham Woods Road in Longwood.

The Seminole Wekiva has two underpasses, one under State Road 434 and another under Lake Mary Boulevard. These tiny tunnels are fun to go through since, as Floridians, we rarely get to do anything underground. Both areas have some shopping and restaurant options. The northern point of the trail provides access to the Cross Seminole Trail (just north of County Road 46) and the Lower Wekiva River State Park. Megan Stokes

 

Orlando Urban Trail (4 miles)

This trail is broken into several sections, going from city to serene in four miles and serving as a connector to restaurants, shopping and culture. Heading north from Magnolia Avenue, the surroundings are very urban. This section isn’t the most scenic, it parallels railroad tracks on one side and Lake Highland Drive on the other and is dotted with ballfields and fenced industrial buildings. But it conveniently hugs the backside of Ivanhoe Village, which is packed with cool places to eat, drink and shop. A quick jaunt off the trail can lead to The Backhaus, a German deli and bakery; The Hammered Lamb, known for its mean Bloody Mary bar; and a cute stationery store called Paper Goat Post. Cyclists can also connect to Lake Ivanhoe Trail here for a waterfront ride.

Farther along, just before Virginia Drive, is a quirky mural featuring black cats and a little path leading to Quantum Leap Wine Company. There’s a flashing pedestrian crossing sign at Virginia, where bicyclists can go off the trail for lunch and libations at Grape & the Grain, Santiago’s Bodega or Ten10 Brewing Company. Back on the trail, there are several more restaurants and bars, including First Watch, Firebird’s Wood Fired Grill and The Brass Tap.

 

The trail’s mood soon changes from buzzing to calm as it ambles around a total of four lakes and four parks. Stop on the bridge over Lake Formosa for beautiful sunset views and then ride through the Mennello Museum of American Art’s sculpture garden. Although the next bit of trail runs along busy Mills Avenue, views of Lake Rowena and Lake Estelle make it pleasant. The trail then goes through the Orwin Manor neighborhood along Dorchester Street to Lake Shore Drive with great views of Lake Sue before ending at the beautiful Mead Botanical Garden

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The southern part of the Urban Trail begins on Church Street with what’s known as Gertrude’s Walk, featuring two murals. It ends a few blocks north at Jefferson Street, then picks up again at Livingston Street, continuing to the Colonial Drive overpass and ending at Orange Avenue. The gap between there and the beginning of the northern leg at Magnolia Avenue is in the design stage and will include signalized crossings. Megan Stokes

 

Cross Seminole Trail (28 miles)

The Cross Seminole Trail is a tour through Central Florida suburbs, shaded paths and parks, with much of it running on reclaimed railroad and power line easements connecting Goldenrod, Oviedo, Winter Springs and Lake Mary. The path links to Winter Park’s Cady Way Trail to the south and eventually leads to Lake Monroe in Sanford.

The Cross Seminole Trail begins near the busy intersection of Aloma Avenue (State Road 426) and Howell Branch Road east of  Winter Park. It winds northeast to downtown Oviedo, then juts northwest through downtown Winter Springs and a series of parks: Central Winds, Soldiers Creek, Big Tree and Greenwood Lakes parks, and ends at Lake Monroe Wayside Park, west of the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. In between, you will be witness to Orlando’s modern sprawl peppered with stretches of Florida wilderness. Some tree-lined sections are like riding through a heavily canopied forest. Portions are designated as a Florida National Scenic Trail.

A fun 14-mile-round-trip ride starts near downtown Oviedo at the intersection of State Roads 426 and 434, near the trail’s 7-mile marker, and ends at Layer Elementary School, the trail’s 14-mile point on SR 419 in Winter Springs. 

For the suggested 14-mile Oviedo-Winter Springs ride, park in the vacant, far corner of the Oviedo Shopping Center (115 Geneva Drive) housing the Oviedo Post Office, an antique mall and an Ace Hardware store, and you can jump on the trail behind the huge CrossLife Church. Nearby Santorini Restaurant and Mad Hatter’s Pizza are convenient places to eat, along with the iconic Townhouse Restaurant across the street. Another place to park and access the bike path is two miles west at the Black Hammock Trailhead, tucked along S.R. 434 between The Watermark assisted living facility and S.R. 417, complete with bathrooms, a playground and a bicycle repair station.

 

The ride west goes through Oviedo and the Tuscawilla development. A lush tree canopy and wildlife including tortoises, squirrels, birds, rabbits, horses and an occasional snake make it easy to forget that you are riding through housing developments. The Howell Creek Trestle, a small roofed resting area, overlooks a tranquil stream amid oaks and palms. On hot days, some riders climb down to the creek below and cool their feet.

About 1.1 miles further west, there is a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over S.R. 434. The trail meanders behind Winter Springs Town Center, its restaurants (Starbucks, McDonald’s, Big City Pizza, Subway, Tijuana Flats and others) and apartments. It continues past Winter Springs High School, Central Winds Park and dead ends at Layer Elementary School, the beginning of the unpaved missing trail link. 

 

Lake Baldwin Trail (2.5 miles)

The loop around Baldwin Park’s namesake scenic lake is a safe, popular trail perfect for any level of rider wanting to rack up some easy miles. It circles environmentally protected conservation areas, passing the Village Center, Veterans Administration Clinic and Lake Baldwin Dog Park (watch out for kids and canines). Much of the trail is unshaded, so on a hot summer day it’s best to ride in the morning or evening.

The dog park, on the trail’s northwest corner, provides a thick oak canopy to cool riders. There are restrooms, a water fountain and a fenced playground here, and it’s a fun place to watch dogs play or to observe sail boaters and kayakers launching from a boat ramp.

 

Also on the route is the 4-acre Orlando Veterans’ Memorial Park, with numerous monuments dedicated to members of America’s military. Stop and learn about the history of the Vietnam War etched in black marble, or see tributes to World War II, Korean War and Pearl Harbor veterans and various military branches. (Baldwin Park is the former site of the Orlando Naval Training Center, which trained 650,000 recruits before closing in the mid-1990s.) 

There are plenty of restaurants nearby, including Five Guys, Gator’s Dockside and Colibri Mexican Cuisine.

 

Cady Way Trail (7.5 miles)

If you get tired of riding in circles, you can ride to Baldwin Park Street one mile east of the town center heading toward Semoran Boulevard, then jump on the Cady Way Trail. That 7.5-mile path begins at Lake Druid Park west of Orlando Fashion Square and loops around the exterior of the Baldwin Park development. It stretches north to Cady Way Park, through the quaint Winter Park Pines neighborhood and over the Semoran Boulevard bike bridge.

 

This northern stretch through Goldenrod’s industrial district links to the Cross Seminole Trail at Howell Branch Road/Hall Road and Aloma Avenue.

 

South Lake Trail (13 miles)

If it’s hills you’re after, the South Lake Trail is where you want to take your bike. Unlike the mostly flat terrain of Metro Orlando, the South Lake Trail, which also goes by the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail, has plenty of elevation changes, or to be more blunt, ups and downs. So tackling this link means shifting your bike’s gears a good bit, although there are some level sections, especially around Lake Minneola, the site of numerous triathlons.

 

If you are feeling adventurous, hop off the trail and ride around the north, west and south sides of Lake Minneola. The road is lightly traveled and most  drivers are used to seeing cyclists and give plenty of room when passing.

 

The Clermont and Minneola sections also offer some nice restaurants for riders, as well as a park with restrooms and a playground along the eastern shore. Eateries with lake views include Lilly’s on the Lake, Tiki Bar Grill, and Cheeser’s Palace Cafe. A mile or two away, along U.S. 27, is a cluster of restaurants, some of the chain variety.

There are two ways to get to the trail. Park at the Killarney Station, just off State Road 50 east of Clermont. Or ride your bike into Killarney on the West Orange Trail and continue west. Leaving from downtown Winter Garden adds about 5 miles to your trek. 

The eastern part of the trail runs through what used to be pasture and groves, but now is mostly subdivisions. much of the ride remains pleasantly shaded, which a big deal during our hot, brutal summers. 

West Orange Trail (22 miles)

With 150,000 monthly users, this is one of the most popular trails in the area, and even the country, according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which includes West Orange on its “Best Trails in the U.S.” list.

The western starting point, Killarney Station (where bike rentals are available), is typically buzzing with cyclists and joggers on weekends. After a small hill, the trail’s converted railroad bridge crosses over Florida’s Turnpike, then at 1.4 miles passes the Oakland Nature Preserve, which has a hiking trail that ends at a dock overlooking Lake Apopka. Just after that is Briley Farm, an easy-to-miss gem where riders can sometimes see zebras, ostriches and long-horned Watusi cattle. The beautiful tree canopy that forms here continues all the way to Oakland’s charming downtown (mile marker 2). In this historic town, founded in 1886, you’ll find a Spanish-style Town Hall building, a brick-paved garden with a bicycle-themed steel structure as its centerpiece, “Cloudcycle” by artist James Lashley and the Living Bench, which is a tree stump with intricate carvings, including a realistic-looking alligator.

 

A mile and a half farther is a butterfly garden which offers a peaceful place to stretch your legs, then you’ll pass a small orange grove before arriving in downtown Winter Garden. Don’t pass up the Plant Street Market, which boasts a plethora of restaurants (selling everything from ceviche and smoothies to pizza and gourmet mac and cheese), specialty shops (including a butcher, chocolatier and local honey), and bars of all kinds, oxygen, coffee and beer (Crooked Can Brewing Company is the anchor). 

The trail then continues down the center of Plant Street, past a mosaic water fountain surrounded by swinging benches and flowers, the city’s iconic clock tower, and a wide selection of restaurants. After lunch, head out on the eastern leg of the trail, highlighted by the Path of Life garden at Chapin Station. Just before this is the Division Street intersection where there’s a decent-sized hill and a split in the trail for views of the expansive Lake Apopka.

Staying east, you’ll reach the Apopka-Vineland Outpost and then the lovely Chua Bao An Buddhist Temple. The trail splits again at Apopka Vineland Road. Staying straight, you’ll find the nationally renowned Clarcona Horseman’s Park, which hosts monthly horse shows and is a good turnaround point for a hearty 30-mile round trip. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, follow the trail across Apopka Vineland Road and continue through Apopka to the end of the trail, nearly reaching Wekiwa Springs State Park. 

Lake Apopka Loop Trail (14.6 miles)

At nearly 15 miles long, the Lake Apopka Loop Trail might well be one of the most remote stretches of “hardpan” road in Central Florida. Running along the eastern shore of Lake Apopka, the trail employs old roads built by farmers who used to grow vegetables in the rich mucklands. Lake Apopka is home to multitudes of alligators and wildlife, all of which are easily within view from the bike trail, which typically sits about five feet above the lake and its surrounding marshes. The loop is popular with bird watchers and cyclists riding hybrid bikes, or ones with wider tires and a frame built to handle the bumpy trail, which has some blacktop but consists mostly of dirt and gravel.

 

Although it is called a loop, the trail really is more of an out-and-back path. The easiest access is at Magnolia Park, 2929 S. Binion Road, Apopka. There are two other trailheads, at North Shore and Clay Island, that offer parking.

Parents thinking of taking their children for a ride should be aware that the loop has only one real restroom along its circuitous paths, a portable bathroom at an old pump house at mile marker 4. Also, there are no water fountains or appreciable shade, making an early-morning or late-evening ride the best options during most of the year.

Sanford Riverwalk Trail (2 miles)

This is a popular, relatively short path, the Riverwalk runs two picturesque miles along the shore of Lake Monroe.

 

There are plenty of benches to rest your legs and watch people fishing. Just a few blocks east of downtown Sanford, the Riverwalk connects several lakefront parks and is across Seminole Boulevard from Sanford City Hall. There’s plenty of parking by the trail, as well as in nearby lots.

 

The western end of the 15-foot-wide trail is beside Central Florida Regional Hospital. There are loads of restaurants and shops within walking distance of the trail, which typically draws more pedestrians than bikers because of its short length.

Kid-Friendly Rides

Safety, reasonable length and entertainment are the biggest factors to consider when looking for a trail good for children. These rides hit all three marks. Gotta go have fun with the kids!
 

Little Econ Greenway 
Rouse Road to North Econlockhatchee Trail overpass (4 miles round trip)

 

This east Orange County trail is a luxuriously wide, paved path that gives kids some wiggle room when they inevitably drift into the other lane. There’s a huge, covered playground at the beginning of this section (across from the Blanchard Park YMCA). A mile west is another, smaller playground, also covered.

 

The trail parallels the Little Econlockhatchee River, which provides gorgeous views for most of the ride and a chance to see wildlife, including herons, ducks, turtles and, on occasion, alligators. Shade is spotty, but there are tons of picnic areas. Before the Econ Trail overpass is a bridge atop a hill that kids love to climb with their bikes, then turn around and speed down, so it’s a natural halfway mark.

 

Arriving back at the starting point, follow the path running behind the YMCA to find a waterfall off the river dam and areas for fishing. Some people bring lettuce to feed the turtles on the riverbank.

Celebration Trail
(7-mile loop)

This extremely popular path in the Town of Celebration is a mix of bridges, beautiful lakes and ponds, boardwalks cutting through Florida swamp and on-street trail sections that offer a glimpse of this pristine neighborhood bubble. There are informational plaques on the birds commonly found along the trail, great for budding birdwatchers.

 

You can also cut through Celebration Avenue for a trip to Spring Park, a gorgeous locale with a kiddie zip line, tire swing and rope-climbing structure. It also has bathrooms and water fountains, plus there is also a small trail loop behind downtown with another playground and a splash pad.

 

Cross Seminole Trail
Between Big Tree Park and Soldiers Creek Park (4.4 miles round trip)

 

This slice of the Cross Seminole Trail is a scenic, entertaining ride for youngsters.There are beautiful streams and bridges and a thick forest surrounding this uncongested, serene trail.   

Big Tree Park is home to a huge playground that incorporates a faux bald cypress tree stump they can scale and climb inside. The park also has picnic areas and a boardwalk trail leading to The Senator as well as its sister tree, Lady Liberty, which is 2,000 years old. Soldiers Creek Park has six ball fields, concessions and a playground.

 

 

Lake Baldwin Trail Loop
(2.5 miles)

Very family friendly with wildlife, playgrounds, a dog park and more. Beginning and finishing near downtown Baldwin Park, this ensures plenty of food options all all the family to enjoy.

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Watersports

Orlando's hot and humid weather makes watersports the perfect sport to cool down as you play!

 

Orlando Watersports Complex features two lakes with cable systems, offering awesome fun with wake boarding, <