(Photo: Cultura Creative/Alamy)
From the food trucks to the ice cream parlors and chocolate shops, it’s not hard to succumb to Orlando’s sweet tooth. If you do, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Here’s how to bike, paddleboard and play your way to burning it off and enjoying the city at the same time.
Bike West Orange Trail
When it comes to taking in the scenery via bike it doesn’t get more picturesque than the West Orange Trail. The 22-mile paved pathway is 15 minutes northwest of downtown and follows the old railroad that was once the heart of local communities. Rent a bike at the Killarney Station and hit the open road, which takes you through a handful of small towns (some dating back to the 1950s), open fields, orange groves and a nature preserve, before ending up in Winter Garden’s quaint downtown area, filled with Norman Rockwell-esque shops and restaurants.
Paddle Board Winter Park’s Venetian Canal
The best way to explore the roughly 3 miles of waterways that make up the Winter Park Chain of Lakes is by stand-up paddleboard. Paddleboard Orlando offers equipment rentals and lessons for newbies at their lakefront shop on Lake Killarney, one of Winter Park’s spring fed (and alligator-free) waterways. If you opt for the hour-and-a-half round-trip journey along the Venetian Canal, Winter Park’s longest canal, you’ll be able to spot everything from elegant birds to million-dollar mansions – some of which even lend a story or two.
Take a Swan Paddle Boat on Lake Eola
A walk around downtown’s Lake Eola is a breezy .9 miles (so it’s not hard to make a second loop), but if you’d like to up the number of calories burned, tour the lake in an iconic Swan-shaped paddle boat. Renting for $15 per half hour and holding up to five adults, you can feel the burn as you work your way around the lake and past the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain, the perfect stop for a photo op. Built in 1957, the fountain comes alive at night with an evening light show set to music.
Stroll Around Baldwin Park
The 1,100-acre neighborhood in northeast Orlando known as Baldwin Park, a former Naval Training Center, is home to a pristine main street lined with boutiques and restaurants. This is also where you’ll find Harbor Park where many of Orlando’s active-folk come to catch a quick run, walk, bike or even Rollerblade (yes, they still do that here). The big draw is the 2.5-mile walking trail that lines the water’s edge of Lake Baldwin. For the best views, make your visit near dusk when you have the best chance of spotting a playful otter or an osprey in flight.