Apopka has its roots in vast farms along the northern shoreline of Lake Apopka, one of Florida’s largest lakes. While many of the farms have been converted to conservation land or housing developments, Apopka is still strongly involved in growing ferns and landscaping plants, with many nurseries located northwest of town. The massive lake and the Wekiva River basin define the boundaries of Apopka.
Springs are the big thing here. While there are many smaller springs around the Orlando metro area, Apopka is where you can swim, paddle, tube, and camp along spring basins at Kelly Park and Wekiwa Springs State Park. Both parks are very busy with swimmers during the summer months and close their gates once at capacity. A ribbon of public lands protects the spring-fed Wekiva River as well as a portion of Lake Apopka’s shoreline.
Cyclists will appreciate Apopka’s connectivity to other communities via paved biking trails. The West Orange Trail begins near Kelly Park in Apopka and continues south to Winter Garden. Along its route, the statewide Florida Coast to Coast Trail joins in on its journey west.
For families in the know, Kelly Park is a favorite destination for tubing, the southernmost tubing run in Florida. But it also has some great hiking trails where you will probably see wildlife.
As I discovered later, bear sightings are common at Kelly Park. But this bear certainly surprised me at the end of my research hike for Five Star Trails Orlando.