Orlando, Florida, is more than just tourist attractions and theme parks. From haunted lighthouses to relaxing nature spots, Orlando, Florida has many hidden places. Are you ready to visit?
I have lived in Orlando, Florida just over seven years and have been lucky enough to discover some pretty cool places to visit. When I first moved here, I would visit the theme parks all the time. Even though my husband and I still go to the theme parks very often, we love visiting hidden places in Florida. Here are a few of our favorite hidden places to visit near Orlando, Florida with some helpful tips we have learned along the way!
Hidden Place #1: Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is a beautiful hidden park that could inspire any nature lover. But, the best time to visit is when it’s a little colder in Florida. Around February, hundreds of manatees make their way into Blue Spring State Park to enjoy the 72-degree water. Many moms will have just given birth so you’ll see a lot of baby manatees too!
Tip for your visit: Wear comfortable shoes! It’s a walking trail after all.
Hidden Place #2: Harry P. Leu Gardens
I love looking at flowers but am extremely allergic. Even though I am not one to stop and smell the roses, this doesn’t stop me from enjoying a day at Harry P. Leu Gardens! Here, you will see plants from all over the world! Yes, the flowers are beautiful, but my favorite area is the butterfly garden! It is a wonderful place to get lost in.
Tip for your visit: If you are allergic to flowers, take allergy meds before. Learned that the hard way…
Hidden Place #3: Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
This is one of my favorite hidden places in Florida! Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a hidden nature spot where alligators love to visit. Don’t worry about getting sweaty on a hike. Here, you remain in your car the entire time! There are more than just alligators that like to visit Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive too. We have actually seen great blue herons, otters, and even jaguars! When I forgot my camera, of course. With the A/C blowing and being a safe distance away, it is the perfect Florida activity. If you have a dog that enjoys car rides, this is a perfect little trip for them! Our pup LOVES looking at all the birds.
Tip for your visit: Bring water. Even though you’ll be driving in your car the entire time, it gets pretty toasty with the windows down. Make sure you are hydrating!
Hidden Place #4: St. Augustine
One of my favorite hidden places to visit in Florida is St. Augustine! St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida, and there are bound to be some haunted places there, right? Of course! Actually, this lighthouse has been called one of the most haunted places in America. There are many places to try and spot a ghost. But, if ghosts aren’t your thing, no worries! St. Augustine has some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches and cool historical spots. Tour a 340-year-old fort and watch them fire off cannons! No, seriously. They do that.
Tip for your visit: Plan your day in St. Augustine before arriving. There is so much to do; you won’t want to miss out on anything.
Tip for all of the above: Bring a camera with extra batteries! Been there. Forgot that.
The next time you plan a visit to Orlando, Florida, try one of these hidden places. It will not disappoint!