OAKLAND, Fla. — Thirty minutes outside of downtown Orlando, you’ll find a nature preserve that transports you to old Florida and connects you with nature.

  • Oakland Nature Preserve located 30 min. outside downtown Orlando
  • Preserve sits on 128 acres of Florida trails, wetlands
  • Nearly one-mile long boardwalk takes you right to Lake Apopka

“It’s a beautiful place to walk, and it’s nice because it’s really accessible for anyone and everyone to come enjoy the beauty that is Florida," said Oakland Nature Preserve employee Jennifer Hunt.

Oakland Nature Preserve sits on 128 acres of Florida trails and wetlands.

With their abundance of wildlife, you'll spot everything from native Florida birds, to exotic plants, gators, and some critters that are on the slower side, like the gopher tortoise.

All of this wildlife can be observed from the preserves winding boardwalk that takes you back among the wetlands.  

Your final stop on the nearly one-mile long boardwalk takes you right to Lake Apopka. It’s one of the largest lakes in the state, and this is one of the few access points you can take to get to it.

The views from their covered pavilion allow you to take in the nearly 13 miles of Florida’s fourth largest lake in Florida.

All this and more is just outside the City Beautiful, allowing you to find a wildlife retreat that reconnects you with the nature all around.

"Once people get to the preserve they really don’t realize how close they are to civilization, the city, and theme parks. This is really a chance for people who live here and are visiting to see the natural side of Florida," Hunt said.

Open year-round and free of charge, you can experience the Oakland nature preserve from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information on the preserve, head to their website.