Explore natural plant and animal habitats within central Florida ecotourism destinations. Set amid tranquil rolling landscapes within parks, lakes and nature reserves, visitors can see plant life, local bird populations and get close to the wondrous water landscapes that make central Florida such an ecotourism hotspot.
Central Florida Ecotourism Begins With the Trail of the Conquistadors
Did you know there are plants growing on the Mission Inn resort grounds which date back to the time of the Conquistadors?
In the 1500’s Saw Palmetto grew so abundantly that the trails were almost impenetrable, and today you can still see these small palms flourishing along the pathways.
Pick up the self guided tour at the resort front desk. This map will give you detailed information about local flora and fauna of the area. Each trail is about a third of a mile long, and the entrance is conveniently located behind the La Hacienda restaurant, between the 17th green and the 18th tee of the course.
P.E.A.R. Trails, Butterfiles, Nature Center and Birds!
Did you know bluebirds will use an artificial nest box?
Southern Florida is home to a variety of bluebirds, a bird species which will use old woodpecker holes, fence posts and even boxes made by humans for nesting purposes.
The Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (P.E.A.R.), a central Florida ecotourism destination, features a Bluebird Box Trail, a path along which are found a series of nesting boxes.
Situated in Leesburg, about 13 minutes from Mission Inn Resort, P.E.A.R. is a prime location for outdoor activities like hiking.
There are miles of trails to explore, geo-caches, “life trail” exercise stations, and several sports fields. With a “Wildlife Watchpost”, butterfly demonstration garden, observation pavilions, nature center, community gardens, and meadow and scrub jay restoration, P.E.A.R. repeatedly draws visitors from all over to enjoy this central Florida ecotourism destination in all its bounty.
Horseback Riding, Wildlife Viewing and Kayaking at Wekiwa Springs
About 45 minutes from Mission Inn, Wekiwa Springs State Park is a well known destination for central Florida ecotourism.
Here visitors enjoy not only hiking, horseback riding trails, fishing, geocaching and wildlife viewing, but also superb kayaking or canoeing along the Wekiva River. You can set off from a grassy launch area and even paddle upstream as the river flow is slow enough.
Not all central Florida ecotourism adventures happen on the ground. The Fly Out and Paddle In Tour offered by Jones Brothers is an excellent way to get a bird’s eye view of the Harris Chain of Lakes and scenic Lake County landscape. You’ll enjoy a 15-20 minute flight aboard a seaplane that will take you to Lake Eustis where you’ll paddle by kayak through Dora Canal.
Central Florida Ecotourism Means Environmental Protection for Birds Species
What common activity did former US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter share?
Was it (a) birdwatching (b) painting or (c) culinary arts?
(a) birdwatching – Jimmy Carter enjoyed birding in over 25 countries around the world. Known for his conservation work, Theodore Roosevelt helped to establish many areas of preservation for birds.
A wonderful way to enjoy central Florida ecotourism activities is by birding. The Lake County area offers more than 200 different species of birds. Known for its 1,000 lakes and rivers, Lake County features many environmentally protected areas such as Green Swamp, Ocala National Forest and Wekiva River Basin.
Double Crested Cormorant, Northern Cardinal, Sandhill Crane, Florida Scrub Jay are just some of the winged wonders that live here within these ecotourism areas. Only minutes away from Mission Inn, the Florida Scrub Jay Trail in Clermont and Hidden Waters Preserve in Mount Dora are excellent central Florida ecotourism sites along Florida’s birding trail network.
Preserve, Protect and Enjoy Central Florida’s Ecotourism Destinations
Whether up in the air, on the water or amidst the towering trees, a vacation focused on central Florida ecotourism destinations will personally refresh and revitalize while contributing to environmental sustainability.