Whether nature-made or artificial, the Central Florida region is home to plenty of options for the family to cool off or explore. For water enthusiasts, Highlands County is home to 95 crystal-clear lakes. In Polk County, the Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park covers more than 8,000 acres of scrub, sandhill and flatwoods land.
Like fishing? In Osceola County, Lake Tohopekaliga, known as Lake Toho, covers 19,000 acres, spans 42 miles in diameter, and is a hotbed for bass.
Take the family waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakeskating, wakesurfing and kneeboarding at the Orlando Watersports Complex. A short drive west, Lake Louisa in Clermont is the largest in a chain of 13 lakes and designated an Outstanding Florida Water Way. Grab a pole or canoe and relish in the beauty of Lake County.
Excellent outdoor activities await north of Orlando, including Lake Apopka Loop Trail, offering 15 miles of family biking where the odds of seeing a gator are fantastic. Want to tube down a crystal-clear river fed by natural springs? Located in Apopka, local favorite Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park offers swimming, hiking trails, picnicking and concessions.
Visit Blue Spring State Park home to hundreds of manatees, where the clear 73 F water temperature welcomes swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Picnic on the beach or stay the night at the campground. In the Ocala National Forest, the southernmost forest in the United States, dozens of campgrounds and 600 lakes await.