When you think of Orlando, Florida, attractions such as Disney World probably come to mind, but there’s so much more to experience beyond the city’s theme parks. With lakes, creeks, parks, and gardens, the natural side of Orlando is just as exciting the man-made side. Here is what a day of enjoying the outdoors and nature in the Florida sun looks like.

Early Morning: Lakeside Breakfast

Begin your day with a pick-me-up from Cafe 906. This French-inspired cafe will supply you with hot coffee and fresh pastries. Just a five-minute walk down the street is Lake Baldwin. Jump onto the trail that surrounds the lake, and head toward the park on the northern end. Here you will find a beach area with picnic tables. Enjoy your breakfast at a table, and dip your feet in the crisp water.

Camping world stadium
The Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Midmorning: Botanical Gardens

Head 3 miles east to Rowena Lake to enjoy botanical beauty. Harry P. Leu Gardens offers 25 distinct plant collections for your learning and viewing pleasure. Explore the butterfly garden for a little movement and the citrus garden to see the famous Florida oranges you buy at the store.

Lunchtime: Tacos

Enjoy a bit of Latin culture for lunch at the Black Rooster Taqueria. This family-owned spot is decked out in Day-of-the-Dead-themed decor and serves classic Mexican cuisine. Start out with guacamole and chips, and order traditional carne asada tacos with house marinade and a side of sweet plantains for a great meal.

Orange county convention center
Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Afternoon: Greenwood Urban Wetlands

Take in the beauty of tall cypress trees and a serene landscape in this oasis within downtown Orlando. You can even bring your furry friend along to try out the dog agility course. Bird-watchers will appreciate the many species that make their home here. Visitors have spotted barred owls and juvenile eagles, as well as blue jays, herons, and more.

Evening: Southern Contemporary Cuisine

Enjoy dinner at SoCo Restaurant, less than a mile from the wetlands. Relax with a glass of wine from the extensive list or one of the house cocktails. Try a hanger steak with molasses glaze or the Faroe Island salmon, and finish with a chef’s selected artisanal cheese plate.

After dinner, round off a day of ecotourism with a stroll around Lake Eola, only a five-minute walk from the restaurant. Here you can feed the swans and even get out on the water in a swan-shaped paddle boat.

Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

Late Night: Moonlight Tour

Head back towards Greenwood Wetlands to the famous Greenwood Cemetery for a moonlight tour of 100 noteworthy gravesites. This place is full of Orlando history and some even believe it’s haunted. Many war veterans are buried here and parts of the cemetery are dedicated to these fallen soldiers. Be sure to get a ticket ahead of time, as they sell out quickly and take place only once each month.

Florida is called the sunshine state and Orlando is at its heart. What better way to celebrate the sunshine than to spend a day outside enjoying nature?