Seven ways to stay active while on vacation.
Orlando is one of the world’s most visited destinations for good reason: palm trees, unwavering sunshine and theme parks for as far as the eyes can see.
Millions of people from all over the world travel to this central Florida oasis every year to escape the grind of everyday life. Whether you’re there for vacation or business, just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you can’t work fitness into your trip.
And when it comes to Orlando, there’s a ton that you can do to keep on track and stay active.
1. Disney running trails
Orlando is defined by its many attractions, not the least of which is everyone’s favorite mouse-eared theme park. If you’re visiting the parks, you can already bet on having a full day of walking in front of you. However, if you’re looking for a more rigorous activity, you may be glad to know that there are miles of jogging trails throughout the Disney resort grounds. The trail around Disney’s BoardWalk Resort is particularly popular, offering a view of the themed hotels, a fun and festive environment and sneak peeks of Epcot. The trails are free to use, even if you aren’t staying at one of Disney’s properties.
Unless you’re there for an official runDisney race, running in the parks themselves is not recommended — because of the crowds, of course — so plan to stick to the resort trails.
Also, as a note: A typical day in Orlando is hot and humid, so you may want to schedule your outdoor run for the early morning or late evening.
2. Wildlife sightseeing
If paved theme parks aren’t your thing, head outside and explore Florida’s unique ecosystem. If you want to get up close and personal with Florida’s wetlands, check out Gatorland. Originally founded in 1949, Gatorland is a wildlife park located approximately thirty minutes outside of Orlando’s city center that is jam-packed with alligators, birds and other native Florida critters. As an active alternative to exploring the wetlands on an airboat ride, you can walk on a raised boardwalk that winds through part of the 110-acre wildlife preserve.
If you’re looking for free wildlife viewing, visit any lake or pond — in Florida, there’s almost always a chance it’s home to an alligator.
Flex your paddling muscles by visiting Shingle Creek Regional Park for some kayaking and wildlife watching. Kayaking is a good activity for working your arms, shoulders, back, abdominals and even your legs. If you’re feeling bold, you can rent your own kayak and explore sans guide, or sign up for an eco-tour.
If you feel like going for a ride, take a quick trip out of Orlando to Clermont, Florida. A paradise for cyclists, this city draws athletes from all over the country to train for triathlons and other events. While Clermont is a favorite for hardcore training, you don’t have to be a triathlete to enjoy its many scenic bike trails, including one that circles Lake Minneola.
Another spot that’s perfect for biking is the Cady Way Trail, which links the cities of Orlando and Winter Park. The 7.5-mile paved trail runs through stretches of shaded forest and connects to Cady Way Park, Baldwin Park and Lake Druid Park. The parks serve as great spots to stop and stretch your legs, and include amenities like a pool, bike pump stations, a mountain biking course, picnic areas and a dog park.
Engage your core muscles and your sense of balance by renting a paddleboard. A prime location for paddleboarding is Lake Killarney, a body of water that is beautiful, calm and, most importantly, alligator free.
6. Botanical gardens
Are you the kind of person who likes to stop and smell the roses? Go for a stroll through the Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens and take in the sprawl of the more than 1,000 rose bushes located in the park. The grounds also contain tropical gardens and nearly 50 acres of wandering trails.
7. Public park
If you’re looking to get fit outdoors for free, Lake Underhill Park is your perfect destination. This public park boasts eight exercise stations strewn throughout nine acres of green space, making it great for performing nearly any type of bodyweight exercise.
Don’t want to skip a gym day? We applaud your dedication! Make sure to visit any of the three 24 Hour Fitness gyms in Orlando for your health-club needs.
You should have no problem staying fit and having fun in Orlando with the above activities. Whether you’d like to take in the sights, engage in watersports, or workout in earnest, there is something for everybody to keep you and your family active.
Photo credit: Thinkstock, iStock, rabbit75_ist.