If you enjoy real nature and the wildlife that Florida is famous for you should take a day to make a slow, quiet trip at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWLD). Check the website before you come as it’s only open to the public a few days a week.
The North Shore, as us locals call it, offer 20,000 acres of public land and 15 miles of trails. These public lands are budget-friendly for every family as the only cost is the gas to get here. Eleven miles of Wildlife Drive are one way roads that can take an hour or more to navigate. There are a few places to pull the car over to enjoy the wildlife or snap a picture.
This writer would encourage you to leave the small animals at home. If you must take them, keep them on a short leash, don’t let them near the shore and only allow them out of your vehicle when necessary to take care of nature calls.
For the more adventurous visitor, I recommend taking your hybrid or mountain bike. Be prepared with multiple extra tubes and plenty of water and snacks as there is none available on the trail. Be forewarned, you will likely not have a mobile signal either. I recommend going with a buddy or two. What you will have is a day of flat dirt trails where you will see wildlife and lots of it. Pack your camera with your repair kit or you will be sorry. If you don’t want to drive the one-way road after your ride I recommend you park outside the gates. Some of the local bike shops have regular rides at LAWLD. If you would like to meet a new friend to ride with, or want a copy of the map, check one out.
If you have little ones with you for the drive take the opportunity when given for potty stops. There are only a couple along the one-way road and there can be times you will be behind a parade of cars and it can take hours. I also recommend a cooler with water and snacks as you may not know how busy the drive is until you have vehicles in front and behind you with no way out. In Florida, many of us have learned to keep a cooler of water with us.
Learn more at the Lake Apopka website.