It's hard to stay healthy while on vacation, but these fun activities will keep you active. From paddle boarding to sightseeing and training like circus performers, here are eight exciting ways to keep fit in Orlando while still having a good time.
Channel Your Inner Cowboy (or Girl)
At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Tri-Circle D Ranch, is appropriately dubbed “home of the happiest horses on Earth.” But you don’t need to stay at the resort, or even visit Walt Disney World, to embark on the 45-minute horseback trail rides offered there. Simply saddle up for safety and riding instruction from one of two trail guides. For guests under 9, pony rides are also available for $5.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding on a Scenic Lake
Stand up paddle boarding couples non-impact exercise with a full-body workout, not to mention a one-of-a-kind view of Central Florida’s spectacular waterways. Paddleboard Orlando’s “Friendly First Timers” class introduces beginners to the sport. Within 15 minutes, the group is on the water, headed to Lake Mizell in Winter Park. The course is designed to prepare students for Paddleboard Orlando’s “SUP-faris” such as the Crystal River Manatee experience.
Canoe or Kayak at a State Park
Wildlife and outdoor adventure reign at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Traverse the 13 miles of hiking trails across the property and you may encounter deer, bald eagles or black bears. A Native American term for “bubbling water,” Wekiwa is an appropriate name for the springs that churn out anywhere from 43 to 45 million gallons of fresh water daily. Take a dip in the water before you rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard to explore the Wekiva (“flowing water”) River. www.floridastateparks.org/wekiwasprings
Tucked into the high-rise bank buildings and corporate headquarters of downtown Orlando, an oasis of oak trees and green space surrounds Lake Eola. On your scenic stroll around the lake be sure to catch a glimpse of the black and white swans that reside there. For the most unique perspective of the park, however, hop in a swan paddleboat with up to four family members or friends, check out the fountain at the lake’s center, and enjoy the vistas of the city’s architecture. Every Sunday, a free yoga class is offered on the lawn along with a seasonal farmers market.
Climb Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse
Forgo the hotel’s stairstepper and head instead to the historic beach town of Ponce Inlet, just 80 minutes northeast of Orlando and the home to the state’s tallest lighthouse with 209, calorie-burning steps. Tours are offered daily, or on the night of the full moon, the “Principal Keeper” and his assistant, both donning traditional garb, lead guests to the top of the tower, and even into the lens room, where a bird’s-eye view of the seaside awaits as the sun sets and moon rises.
Bike the Orlando Urban Trail
Running 3 miles long, from Magnolia Avenue in downtown Orlando to Mead Garden, Orlando’s Urban Trail is a well-tended secret. A walk along the trail will acquaint you with different elements of the city, and markers every quarter mile will enable you to keep track of your progress. Exercise equipment available at Lake Ivanhoe enables you to skip the gym and opt instead for an outdoor route showcasing community and local flavor.
Jog Celebration’s Boardwalk
Just a few miles from Walt Disney World is the town of Celebration, perfect for spending a day. Behind the Bohemian hotel is a bicycle stand where options range from traditional bikes to four-person surreys. If you’d rather set out by foot, a wooden boardwalk through palm forests and scenic wetlands links each of the town’s five quaint villages.
Train Like a Circus Performer
At Orlando Aerial Arts, students of all levels are invited to try their skills up in the air by using silk ropes, hoops and other apparatus suspended from the ceiling. Beginners learn how to wrap and climb to aerial poses while more seasoned students learn artistry and choreography. Strength training, professional tips and stretching are a part of the classes. Private lessons for individuals and groups are also available.