The majority of people visiting the Orlando area don't get past the resorts and theme parks to understand how many things there are to do outdoors in Central Florida. Here is a list of some of the more popular activities to obtain outside and enjoy what the area needs to offer:
1. Go see gators - absolutely nothing screams 'Florida' like going out and seeing a gator. You have a number of choices to do this. You can go to one of the tourist attractions such as Gatorland where they have a shocking variety of alligators. You can get very up close and individual with their 'novice wrestling' or 'trainer for a day' offers. If seeing alligators in captivity is not your design, then you could constantly try an airboat trip. I've been on airboat rides in the everglades (at the Everglades Holiday Park made more well-known just recently by the TV show Gator Boys) and near Orlando on the St John's river, and preferred the St John's hands down - more gators, larger gators, and prettier surroundings. I personally suggest Midway Airboat Rides. Still another option if you are planning to ditch the crowds is the Orlando wetlands park on the east side of Orlando. It is a little, uncrowded park off the beaten path a bit. There are great hiking trails and we've seen gators each time we've existed (and a huge variety of water fowl, and even an otter). If you are preparing to head to the coast, attempt the Black Point Wildlife drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is a relatively well groomed dirt roadway loop surrounded by seaside marshes and canals.
2. Go see dolphins - Here again you have a few choices to pick from. To begin with you have the more commercialized Discovery Cove where you can swim with qualified dolphins. I haven't done this, however good friends that have, raved about it. You could also go on a guided boat tour on the Indian or Banana River and see dolphins in the wild. There are also choices for renting a boat or kayak to head out by yourself. Ask the rental agency for times and locations to increase your probabilities of a sighting. Even more economical is to hang out on the beach and keep your eyes peeled. Extremely early in the early morning is your best bet, but this one is certainly not a warranty.
3. Go see manatees - My leading choice for manatees is Blue Springs State Park. Make sure to check out their site or call and ask if manatees are in the spring if you plan to make a trip up (even if there aren't any there the park is stunning and worth the journey). Walking along the jetty and pier at Jetty Park on Cape Canaveral is also a great place (you may see dolphins here as well).
4. Around Orlando there is world class bass fishing in the many freshwater lakes. If you head to the coastline, you can attempt flats fishing - sight fishing redfish and trout while poling throughout ankle to knee deep water of the Indian River or world popular Mosquito Lagoon (it isn't really as bad as the name sounds). One of my favorite trips to date was a night shark fishing trip out of Cape Canaveral.
5. Your finest bet for a quick trip from Orlando is friendly ol' Cocoa Beach (simply follow all the signboards for Ron Jon's and you'll have no issue discovering it). Depending on where you are in Orlando, you can probably get there in simply over an hour. North of Cocoa a bit is New Smyrna beach, which is a laid back beach neighborhood.
6. Air boat ride - yes, yes, I understand we pointed out air boat trips up above however it necessitates its own heading. There are lots of options for airboat rides near Orlando, some have more scenic/natural levels than others so select carefully and make sure you do not simply choose the one closest to your resort. Naturally the primary draw of an airboat ride for anybody visiting Florida is generally to see gators, but the surroundings and other wildlife simply contributes to the experience.
7. Kayaking - We touched on this above a bit as well when discussing that you can lease a kayak on your own or even take a directed kayak tour in the Indian River, Banana River, or Mosquito Lagoon to fish, see manatee or dolphin, or just get out and enjoy the surroundings. Closer to Orlando you can kayak or canoe at Wekiwa Springs, Blue Springs State park, or the Econlockhatchee river to call a couple of.
8. Wakeboarding - Orlando is considered the capital of wakeboarding, so what better place to obtain out for a session. You can attempt the cable television park for a special experience hitting rails and sliders (they have a boat there for the conventional method as well), or you can choose from a host of camps in the area for anything from a fast session to a week-long training camp. There are plenty of trail camera reviews for you to have a excellent quality of game camera.
9. You have the more traditional deer, turkey, and water fowl to the more unique Florida experience of wild boar and even alligator. There are also full service cattle ranches within driving range where you can target even more unique types. You can buy a deer camera to capture wildlife and keep it in your computer.
10. Skydiving - This one is a bit more extreme, however what much better method to see the lovely Orlando countryside or the beautiful coast then taking a plane trip up, plunging face down towards the earth, then drifting carefully down to the ground after your shoot pops open?
I hope this gives you a few more alternatives when looking for things to do in Orlando or Central Florida. With any outside activity, see to it you bring a lot of water, sunblock, and sunglasses due to the fact that it can get hot out there. Most people drag their kids to Florida in the dead of summer when school is out and if you are from up North (as I am initially) the heat and humidity can really destroy your day, and if you're not cautious, your whole trip.