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8 Florida State Parks Near Orlando to Visit  

Tired of the long lines at the theme parks? For something different and much more affordable, check out Florida State Parks near Orlando! I have rounded up 8 parks within a 1-hour drive of Orlando to visit. Keep reading to see which park you want to visit first!  

Boardwalk trail with trees surrounding it at De Leon Springs State Park

8 Florida State Parks within 1 hour of Orlando  

Each of these Florida State Parks are within a 1-hour drive of Orlando. Actual driving times may vary depending what area of Orlando you come from and of course traffic. I have been to several of these parks, but some of them are still on my list to check out! 

  1. Wekiwa Springs State Park 
  2. Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park  
  3. Lake Louisa State Park
  4. Rock Springs Run State Reserve  
  5. Blue Spring State Park 
  6. Lake Griffin State Park  
  7. De Leon Springs State Park  
  8. Hontoon Island State Park  
Kayaks for rent at Lake Louisa State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park 

Wekiwa Springs feeds the Wekiwa River, and this park truly has a little bit of everything! It is located less than 30 minutes from Orlando making it an ideal park to visit. Hiking trails range from less than 1 mile to over 13. Some of the trails are multi-purpose and are also utilized for bicyclists and horseback riding. Kayaking or paddle boarding is also a popular activity at this park and rentals are available. If you prefer to snorkel or swim that is also an option in Wekiwa Springs. Be sure to pay attention to any posted signs as there are sections of water where snorkeling and swimming is not permitted including Wekiwa Springs Run, Rock Springs Run, or the Wekiva River.  

Essential Information: Wekiwa Springs State Park 

  • Address: 1800 Wekiwa Circle Apopka, FL 32712 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $6 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 25 minutes 

This park often reaches capacity, especially during busier times including summer and weekends so be sure to plan ahead and arrive early if you are visiting during peak visitation times! This park is still on my bucket list and after learning more I can’t wait to visit.  

Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park 

Similar to Wekiwa Springs State Park, this park offers a variety of activities. Bicycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and paddling can all be enjoyed at Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. A unique hiking experience in this park is hiking a section of the Florida National Scenic Trail which runs through Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. There is a kayak/canoe launch at the Katie’s Landing entrance, but no rentals are available at this park. The Wekiva River is a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River.  

Essential Information: Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park 

  • Address: 262 Wekiva Park Drive Sanford, FL 32771 (Katie’s Landing, access to Wekiva River)  
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $3 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 35 minutes 

*Important Note* At the time of this writing, the State Road 46 (8300 W State Road 46, Sanford, FL 32771) entrance is closed due to construction of the Wekiva Parkway. Please check the Florida State Park website for the most updated information. Hiking trail access can be found at the Katie’s Landing trailhead.  

Lake Louisa State Park 

One of the most unique features of Lake Louisa State Park is that you will find hills! Exciting for any Floridian is the chance to see some rolling hills for a change of scenery. This park has three major lakes, Lake Louisa, Lake Hammond, and Lake Dixie offering the opportunity to paddle. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are other popular activities with 7 miles of paved trails and 20 miles of multi-use unpaved trails.  

Dixie Lake covered in lilly pads at Lake Louisa State Park near Orlando

Essential Information: Lake Louisa State Park 

  • Address: 7305 U.S Highway 27 Clermont, FL 34714 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $5 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 40 minutes 
Tall trees lining the trail at Lake Louisa State Park

Rock Springs Run State Reserve 

This is another park where hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding can be enjoyed with 17 miles of multi-purpose trails. One major difference for this park is hunting is permitted on select weekends from September through January. Many park activities remain open, but there may be some trail closures to ensure the safety of all visitors. If you plan to hike during hunting season, wear orange and pay close attention to any trail closures.  

Essential Information: Rock Springs Run State Reserve 

  • Address: 30601 County Road 433 Sorrento, FL 32776 
  • Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM 
  • Fee: $3 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 45 minutes 

*Important Note* According to the Florida State Park website the entrance has changed so if you have previously visited this park you may want to ensure you are going to the correct entrance in Sorrento (listed above). The website does state the old entrance off State Road 429 South will be open during hunting season.  

Blue Springs State Park 

This is a great Florida State Park to visit year-round. During the summer, water activities can be enjoyed and during the winter this is a prime spot for manatee viewing! During the colder weather hundreds of manatee head to the warm water of the springs. No swimming is allowed during manatee season, but there is a beautiful boardwalk trail that you can walk while trying to spot manatee. If you aren’t able to visit the park, you can still check out an underwater manatee cam.  

Boardwalk trail with several trees and plants lining it on Blue Spring trail

Essential Information: Blue Springs State Park 

  • Address: 2100 W. French Ave. Orange City, FL 32763 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $6 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 45 minutes 

If you’re ready to visit Blue Springs State Park, more details can be found in my blog post. This is another park that often reaches capacity so plan your visit accordingly. 

Blue Spring State Park head springs with trees surrounding the water. A great day trip from Orlando

Lake Griffin State Park 

A highlight of Lake Griffin State Park is the 400-year-old live oak tree! The tree can be found right after entering the park, just a short walk from the parking area. Other activities that can be enjoyed in this park include boat tours, camping, fishing, hiking, and paddling. Canoe and kayak rentals are available within the park.  

Live oak tree at Lake Griffin State Park

Essential Information: Lake Griffin State Park 

  • Address: 3089 U.S. Highway 441-27 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $5 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 
Trail at Lake Griffin State Park

De Leon Springs State Park 

While typical activities, including swimming, paddling, and hiking, can be found at this state park there is another unique activity that can be enjoyed. Make your own pancakes at the Old Sugar Mill Pancake House! It is open daily for breakfast and lunch. De Leon Springs State Park was one of my favorite parks to visit in 2022! 

Two blueberry pancakes cooking on the griddle at the table

Essential Information: De Leon Springs State Park 

  • Address: 601 Ponce De Leon Blvd. De Leon Springs, FL 32130 
  • Hours: 8 AM to sundown 
  • Fee: $6 per vehicle  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour 

De Leon Springs State Park is a popular park during the summer and weekends and often reaches capacity. If you are planning to visit, I recommend going early.

Swimming area and visitor center at De Leon Springs State Park

Hontoon Island State Park  

As the name Hontoon Island suggests, this park is only accessible via private boat or park ferry. According to the Florida State Park website at the time of this writing the park ferry is unavailable since Hurricane Ian. The park is open for day use via private boat only. Open amenities include the picnic area, restroom, playground, and boat dock. Check back on the Florida State Park website for the most up to date information.  

Essential Information: Hontoon Island State Park 

  • Address: 2309 River Ridge Road DeLand, FL 32720 
  • Hours: 8 AM to 4 PM 
  • Fee: No entrance fee required  
  • Driving distance from Orlando: 1 hour – boat or ferry ride required  

Summary of Florida State Parks to visit near Orlando  

If you didn’t know there was more to Orlando than theme parks before coming across this blog post, I hope I have convinced you otherwise by now! I have visited several of these Florida State Parks, but still have more to explore. Let me know in the comments which one you are planning to visit first!  

Me walking along the boardwalk at De Leon Springs State Park, a Florida State Park near Orlando

Ready to venture out a little further from Orlando?  

Check out these posts for other Florida State Parks to visit 

The information in this post was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. If you are planning to visit any of these parks, I recommend you also check the Florida State Park website for any updated information. 

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