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Annual Manual 2013

Orlando Sports & Recreation

Spectator sports, biking and hiking, canoeing and kayaking, yoga and more

Photo: Fernando Medina, License: N/A

Fernando Medina

Orlando Magic

Retro City Cycles
1806 N. Orange Ave.
Cool-looking cycles are popular with the trendy set. This shop, celebrating six years in business, reaches out to women, in particular, with its “Wine Down” clinics and cool accessories like bicycle necklaces.

Canoeing and kayaking

Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail
This 1,515-mile long paddling route along the coastline of Florida would take you months to complete. Lucky for you, it is divided into 26 segments, so you can take all the time you need. The nearest chunk to Orlando is the Space Coast segment, which is 81 miles long.

Blue Spring State Park
2100 W. French Ave., Orange City
Covering more that 2,600 acres, Blue Spring State Park is a designated Manatee Refuge. It is an excellent place for a swim, paddling or a picnic. During manatee season, mid-November through March, the waterways are closed – you can look at the dozens of manatees that winter here, but you won’t be allowed in the water.

Econlockhatchee River
An absolute jewel hidden at the eastern edge of the Orlando sprawl, the Econ can be easy or difficult, depending on the water levels (high in the summer, low in the spring). Paddlers will be able to catch a glimpse of a diverse array of wildlife from sandhill cranes to bald eagles to bears along the 19-mile stretch.

Juniper Springs Run
Ocala National Forest
17417 E. State Road 40,
Silver Springs
This is probably the best paddling opportunity in the massive Ocala National Forest you’ll get. Although it’s only seven miles long, the runs, twists and obstacles you’re likely to encounter here will have you navigating Juniper Springs Run for about four hours. This one is definitely not for beginners.

Lake County’s Blueways
Similar to a hiking trail, a blueway has physical markers that guide trail users through the waterways. The area includes the mile-long Dora Canal, connecting lakes Dora and Eustis, which was once dubbed “the most beautiful mile of water in the world” for its towering cypress trees draped with Spanish moss.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Near Titusville
This refuge offers somewhat limited paddling opportunities since paddling is not permitted in refuge impoundments, but what is available to paddlers can be spectacular. You might see manatees, scrub jays or an alligator. We also suggest Turnbull Creek and Eddy Creek for paddlers.

Peace River
Fort Meade
Though not technically in Central Florida – the town nearest the launch is Fort Meade – this tea-colored stream is worth the extra drive for the prehistoric sense it imparts. Paddle its 57 miles and you’ll feel like Juan Ponce de Leon when he found Florida, provided other paddlers don’t ruin the illusion.

Annual Manual
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