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Apopka is the Epicenter of Central Florida Ecotourism


Central Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the world with more than 62 million visitors in 2014. While most visit the theme parks and shopping centers there is a a growing interest in ecotourism destinations like springs, parks, and camping areas.

Some of Central Florida’s best ecotourism spots are located near Apopka: Rock Springs Run, Wekiwa Springs State Park, the West Orange Trail and North Shore of Lake Apopka.

County Commissioner Bryan Nelson

County Commissioner Bryan Nelson is hosting an Apopka Ecotourism Day next week as part of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Apopka Program.

Nelson has organized a comprehensive Apopka Ecotourism Day which will begin with a meeting with a meeting at Magnolia Park with the Audubon Society, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the St. John's Water Management District and the Allied Group. The event will include visits to Long & Scott Farms, and the Hutchinson Farm Winery. The group will take a Canoe trip at King's Landing and then meet with Orange County Parks and Visit Orlando at Nelson's cabin before ending the day at Wekiva Island. Space on the Apopka Ecotourism tour is limited and the deadline to register is 4:00 PM today (Friday 4/15/2016). For more info contact the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ecotourism is about experiencing the natural wonders and attractions that an area has to offer. Instead of staying inside a hotel room all day, visitors can experience a park, trail, or lake to see the natural beauty found outdoors.

In Apopka parks like Magnolia Park, Kelly Park, Clarcona Park, and Wekiwa Springs are available for people to enjoy.

In Magnolia Park, activities like the annual Magnolia Park Bluegrass and Folk Music Festival as well as the annual Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapoolza Festival allow everyone to experience and enjoy the outdoors. Birdapalooza was listed on the National Audubon Society’s website as one of the top five Birding Festivals to visit during the winter season.

Magnolia Park receives 242,732 visitors annually. Meanwhile, Kelly Park receives 210,859 visitors and Clarcona Horse Park receives 68,741 visitors annually. Last year, Clarcona Horse Park hosted 28 equestrian shows plus 4 Black Stallion Literacy Events with Orange County Sheriff while 3,235 stalls were rented.

People may choose to bike, hike, walk, run, swim, kayak, bird-watch, etc. while visiting these parks and enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors.

Two websites that show people all that Florida has to offer are VisitFlorida and TripAdvisor.

On VisitFlorida there is a section for future visitors to Florida to explore all of the different natural attractions Florida has to offer in the parks section. The Apopka Section of VisitFlorida says Apopka is “one of Central Florida’s top destinations for outdoor recreation, offering a beautiful landscape of lakes, springs and natural land areas – ideal to get away and explore the best of nature within minutes of Orlando.”

On TripAdvisor tourists can narrow their desired attraction type by Nature & Parks or Outdoor Activities to see destinations like Lake Apopka. TripAdvisor excites visitors with thrills like the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios, but offers “quiet natural beauty” in the Orlando area as well. TripAdviser users have created travel guides for those that want to experience natural Central Florida with travel guides like a “Guide to Orlando Outdoors” that promotes kayaking and paddle boarding in areas like Wekiwa Springs.

This story was updated at 10:10 AM - Information about registration for the tour was added.



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