Apopka lies in central Florida’s Orange County in the Orlando metro area and is relatively equidistant between Jacksonville to the north and the Palm Beaches to the south.
It’s also conveniently located in the narrowest east-west portion of the state. Along with its easy access to state roads and interstates, it’s a great place call home while exploring the many attractions the state has to offer.
It’s just a short drive to Florida’s biggest theme park attractions, and not surprisingly, the town and surrounding areas are particularly family-friendly destinations.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Apopka that you won’t want to miss.
1. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Located just off Interstate 4 about half an hour from Orlando, Wekiwa Springs State Park is an easy drive from Apopka and is a perfectly natural destination for those who’d rather avoid the bustling theme parks for which the area is known.
The park sits at the headwaters of the Wekiva River and offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreation options, including hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and nature and wildlife photography.
For those who’d rather let a guide take care of the details, a variety of tours are available; they range from exertive and action-packed to relaxed and leisurely.
2. Lake Apopka
As far as big lakes go, Florida has a few whoppers; the third largest is Lake Apopka.
Though most of the lake is in Orange County, it does cross over into neighboring Lake County, and the lake’s water level is maintained by rain and storm runoff and natural springs.
In the last quarter century, the lake has undergone an amazing transformation. What was once overfished and undermanaged is now a relatively pristine recreation destination full of scenic views, varied landscapes, and a diverse array of native wildlife.
Search online for access points, travel tips, and activity options.
3. Wekiva Golf Club
Since 1972, Wekiva Golf Club has been an area favorite. Its popularity is primarily based on the course’s design, reasonable greens fees, and well-groomed fairways, traps, and greens.
The 18-hole course is relatively open and appropriate for golfers of nearly every age and skill level.
Located on Wekiva Club Court in nearby Longwood, it plays just more than 6,600 yards and is a par 72.
The course features a variety of tees, so it’s possible for each member of a mixed foursome to play from wherever they choose, regardless of whether they’re looking to challenge themselves or make things easy and just enjoy the scenery.
4. Ocala National Forest
At nearly 400,000 acres, Ocala National Forest is the largest protected forest of its kind in the southern United States. It is comprised mainly of pine scrub forests that are mixed with other unique environments making it a magnet for a vast number of plant and animal species.
Though it can get oppressively hot in the summer, generally, the Florida weather is mild for the rest of the year. The national forest offers activities ranging from camping and canoeing to hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife photography.
Due to the large area, multiple access points, and varied rules and regulations, it’s best to do your homework before making a special trip.
5. Universal Studios Orlando
Some of Florida’s attractions require no wordy introduction, and Universal Studios Orlando is one of them.
One of the country’s most famous and popular theme parks, it is really a bunch of distinct resorts under one roof.
The park is spread over more than 500 acres and is second in size only to Disney World. With so many lodging, dining, and activity options, it’s a family-friendly vacation destination that’s second to none.
Not surprisingly, many families choose to spend nearly all their vacation time onsite. It’s possible to scrounge up coupons, and discount offers in travel magazines and brochures and online.
6. Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
With abundant sunlight and rainfall and a warm and balmy subtropical climate, it’s no wonder Florida is home to such a large number of botanical gardens.
Located just off Interstate 4 near the city of Sanford, Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is home to a variety of native and non-native plant and animal species from around the world.
One-day admission tickets allow guests to exit and re-enter as long as they have their receipt and it’s in the same day, making it an excellent option for families who’d like to take a midday meal or coffee break before heading back for a few more hours of exploration.
7. Titanic the Artifact Exhibition
Featuring a guided tour, full-service dinner, and other unique viewing options, the Titanic Artifact Exhibition is a one of a kind experience that takes visitors on a trip into one of the world’s most famous tragedies – one that’s still as macabre and alluring as it was when the massive ship sunk so many decades ago.
Depending on who you’re traveling with and how much time and money you want to spend, you’ll want to check out their website to determine the best package.
Whichever option you choose, it’ll be an engaging and enlightening experience, and one you won’t forget any time soon.
8. Pirates Dinner Adventure
Pirates Dinner Adventure is much like the perennial favorite Medieval Times, except instead of horses, jousting, and wenches guests will be surrounded by swashbuckling pirates, sailing ships, and talking parrots.
Featuring dozens of characters speaking the lingo of the day and wearing period garb, it’s a bit like a theme park, and includes singing, stunts, and even blasts from some cool reproduction cannons.
The food is pretty darn good too, and it’s an event that promotes audience participation, so be prepared.
During peak times, tickets can go quickly, so buy yours in advance of your trip to avoid a sold-out situation.
9. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Orlando
From shrunken heads to full-size renderings of politicians and pop stars, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Orlando is a repository of all things eerie, unique, and fascinating.
Its exhibits are an eclectic mix of science, history, and the natural world. A favorite destination for visitors of all ages, it is usually one of the things that guests remember most about their trip to Florida.
Tickets can be purchased online, but the museum can become particularly crowded when the weather isn’t conducive to being outdoors.
It may not be the best bet for the squeamish and those prone to dizzy spells brought on by gore.
10. Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
For fans of auto racing, the name Andretti needs no introduction. Though you won’t find professional-grade race cars at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games, you will find some pretty fast go-karts.
Offering a variety of driving camps for kids and adults, the facility features different karts and tracks for the young and old. Their experienced instructors will teach the basics of steering, braking, and accelerating before sending students onto the track on their own.
For those who’d rather lay low and watch from the sidelines, that’s okay too, and there are other non-racing options available for those too young or scared to hit the track.
11. Walt Disney World Orlando
Walt Disney World Orlando is the southwest United States’ premier recreation destination for families looking to pack a lot of punch into their limited vacation time.
Featuring Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Orlando is really many resorts in one.
With dozens of onsite lodging and dining options for those of varying means, it’s the kind of location that many families choose not to leave for much of their trip.
It’s possible to find discount offers and coupons if you do a little poking, so check online and in travel magazines and brochures before paying full-price.
12. Blue Spring State Park
Located just west of nearby Orange City, Blue Spring State Park is known for the continuous flow of cold water that feeds its famous spring. For those looking for a host of activity options all in one place, it’s a great place to spend a few hours or an entire day.
Canoeing and kayaking, fishing, swimming, and camping are a few of the park’s most popular options.
During peak times, the park can fill up quickly, which is a big turn off for many nature lovers. If that’s a scene you’d prefer to avoid, considering visiting during the week or in the morning when the park first opens.
At more than 100 acres, Gatorland was established more than 70 years ago. Since then, it’s been wowing visitors with its population of gargantuan gators and carnivorous crocs, some of which tip the scales at nearly 1,000 pounds.
Though the toothy lizards are the stars of the show, Gatorland isn’t a one-trick pony; it’s also home to an extensive aviary, petting zoo, and several well-marked and easily accessible nature trails that lead guests to each of the park’s distinct areas.
Regularly scheduled gator wrestling events are popular; though it might look rough, it doesn’t hurt the animals, so go ahead and enjoy it, guilt free.
14. Medieval Times Kissimmee
From robed royalty and jousting knights to damsels in distress, Medieval Times Kissimmee has a little something for everyone.
Featuring realistic sword fights, feats of horsemanship, and even acrobatics, it’s not your grandma’s dinner theater, and is a particular favorite of those traveling with kids.
Rumor has it that the meals are pretty tasty too. Though it’s not the cheapest of the area’s attractions, it does pack a lot of value, especially since it includes a meal and entertainment – it’s like getting two for the price of one.
It’s a high energy event, so if you’re looking for some relaxation and peace and quiet, do yourself a favor and go elsewhere.
15. Reptile Discovery Center
There’s no better place for central Florida visitors to get up close and personal with reptiles in all their varying forms than the Reptile Discovery Center.
From western diamondback rattlers to cobras and black mambas, the discovery center is home to some of the most deadly venomous snakes in the world. It’s chockfull of lizards, gators, and turtles too.
In addition to its indoor exhibits, the center offers outdoor trails that are the perfect places to stretch your legs. Don’t forget to take in the regularly scheduled programs, like the always popular venom-extraction show.
Not for the easily creeped-out.