State Parks


Natural Theme Parks

2018 has proven to be a great year for new words and phrases. Several times, I’ve had to rush to online dictionaries to get a grip of conversations I’m having in real time. One new term I appreciate – since I live in the “Theme Park Capital of the World” – is natural theme park. When you are vacationing in Central Florida and want to take a break from the concrete excitement of our world-class theme parks, head out to one of our stellar natural theme parks to relax, unwind and connect with nature.

Shingle Creek Regional Park

An urban oasis at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, Shingle Creek Regional Park was designated as one of “America’s Great Outdoors” by former president Barack Obama and is only about a half hour’s drive from your luxury vacation villa.

Getting Around

You can experience the park by foot, on a bike or by boat. Rent a canoe, kayak or SUP and paddle peacefully along the creek, with or without a guide. Stop for a picnic and relax in serene scenes of nature. Enjoy a walking path flanked by forest and make sure that you have your camera and binoculars ready because magnificent wildlife abounds. Birdwatching is a popular and relaxing pastime here. If you have a treasure hunter in your family, don’t forget your GPS as Shingle Creek Regional Park is a great place to geocache.

Lake Louisa State Park

Lake Louisa State Park sits on 4,500 acres of natural beauty and showcases a diversity of wildlife. Lake Louisa, the largest in the Clermont chain lakes, has been designated as an Outstanding Florida Water (a body of water designated worthy of special protection because of its natural attributes.) Rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs and enjoy a leisurely cruise down Lake Louisa or one of the park’s other tranquil lakes, Hammond and Dixie.

The Nature Game

The animal enthusiasts in your family will appreciate this park’s fauna including bobcats, whitetail deer, raccoons, tortoises and gophers as well as majestic bald eagles and osprey. Lake Louisa State Park is perfect for geocaching and even EarthCaching so you can learn about your environment while you hunt for treasures. Experience a tour on horseback. Or enjoy a long nature hike the old fashioned way, by Shanks’ Pony (by foot for those non-anglo).

Lake Louisa State Park is located about a half an hour’s drive from your vacation villa and a wonderful way to exchange noisy crowds for the soothing the sounds of nature.

Tips for Nature Outings

You can go online to each state park’s website and see their rules, regulations and fees while planning your outing. When visiting any natural theme park, always remember to bring water, bug repellent, sunscreen, a camera and binoculars. Make the most of your Florida vacation by enjoying our beautiful natural surroundings with the things your family needs to stay comfortable and make memories that will last a lifetime.