Fall and the holiday season are two of the best times to visit Orlando. There are so many special attractions and events that, in many ways, this destination is more popular between and October and December than during the summer months. However, theme parks and events can become a little overwhelming if plan your entire vacation around them.
Consider taking a break from the fast pace in order to relax and explore some of Orlando’s hidden natural gems. These gardens are chalk full of exquisite beauty that provide an excellent way to chill out and simply admire the surroundings.
Just north of downtown Orlando, Harry P. Leu Gardens boasts nearly 50 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, lakeside paths and rambling shaded trails, perfect for a casual stroll through one of The City Beautiful’s most beautiful places.
Tour the breathtaking grounds, registered historic buildings and museum for a well-preserved look into turn-of-the-century Florida living, then marvel at the great variety of both native and exotic flora brought back from all over the world on the Leu’s travels.
MEAD BOTANICAL GARDEN
Even though it’s just two blocks off one of Orlando’s main thoroughfares, when you arrive at Mead Botanical Garden, you’ll feel the world away from the sounds of the city. This peaceful urban oasis is tucked among the fashionable neighborhoods of Winter Park but is a perfect natural getaway.
Teeming with local wildlife and flora, ponds and flowing streams, botanical garden and greenhouse, nature boardwalk, butterfly garden and more, it’s an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Best of all, it’s free to go.
BOK TOWER GARDENS
The iconic 205-foot tall neo-Gothic and art deco Singing Tower is this popular destination’s most famous feature, but that’s just the start. This sprawling garden, park, and bird sanctuary in nearby Lake Wales has so much to see and do, it’s well worth the drive.
Acres of ferns, palms, oaks, and pines create a backdrop for flowering plants and brilliant seasonal blooms. And now with an expansion with new areas for families and kids to explore, including Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, Pollinator Garden, and Outdoor Kitchen & Edible Garden, right now is a great time to pay a visit. And then there’s the famous Singing Tower, with daily concerts from its 60-bell carillon filling the air.