Some years ago, Sandra spent time with Orlando mayor Carl T. Langford at a public event. Feisty and wry, he was hilarous to be around, a larger-than-life character even in retirement.
No wonder. A World War II major who served as mayor from 1967 until 1980, he was beloved by many Orlandoans and one of the first Distinguished Eagle Scouts in Florida.
Under his watch, Walt Disney World arrived. He finagled the acquisition of McCoy Air Force Base from the Air Force for $1 to create Orlando International Airport.
More significantly, Langford integrated city offices, opening the city’s police academy and firefighting schools to Blacks.
“Hizzoner” had a soft spot for conservation, too. So it’s fitting that this canopied park along Fern Creek is named for him.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 1 mile trail network
Trailhead: 28.54277, -81.35844
Address: 1808 E Central Blvd, Orlando
Restroom: In the middle of the park
Land manager: City of Orlando
Open 5 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs permitted. To reserve a pavilion, call 407-246-4471.
Restrooms also adjoin the playground at the neighborhood center, but we found them locked on a weekday.
From SR 408 in Orlando, take Crystal Lake Rd north 0.2 mile; from SR 50, it’s called Maguire Blvd southbound but is the same road, following the western edge of Orlando Executive Airport for 0.8 mile. Turn west onto E Central Blvd, which crosses Primose Dr and Bumby Ave at traffic lights before reaching a T sign where the road curves right onto Hampton Ave after 0.7 mile. Make the next left to stay on Central Blvd as it goes around the corner of Langford Park. The left before the neighborhood center is the nearest parking area. If it is full, continue along Central Blvd to a second parking area a block away at the Langford Park sign. Street parking might be possible at the address on Rosearden.
About the Park
An urban woodland bisected by Fern Creek in its flow towards Lake Greenwood, Langford Park is largely shaded except for its ballfields and tennis courts.
Its parking area adjoining the neighborhood center doubles as a trailhead for Dickson Azalea Park across the street, so our map below shows a mile-long walk across both parks.
Walk in front of the building and around past the playground to enter the park. The path curves downhill towards a white building in the distance under the oaks.
Take the first right to cross Fern Creek on a suspension bridge that bounces up and down as you walk across it.
Uphill to the right is the other parking area. Walk downhill paralleling the flow of Fern Creek towards the large picnic pavilion.
Cross over the next bridge. The path passes a white building that looks like cedar shakes but is concrete. It’s the park restroom.
Past it, cut across the grass under the oaks to another bridge. A marker declares it an joint design project by students from Boone and Edgewater High Schools.
Cross the bridge. Straight ahead and to the left are the ballfields and tennis courts. A half mile paved loop circles them, but it’s more pleasant to stay in the shade. Turn right.
The wide path winds through a sunny spot towards a tall cabbage palm missing its top. Curving past a well-shaded bench, the path crosses another bridge over Fern Creek.
To the left the path leads to two picnic pavilions. Turn right to walk upstream towards the larger pavilions under the oaks.
Ramble past the trio of picnic pavilions. Two are under the oaks, one shelters a solo table from the sun.
Reaching the bridge near the restrooms again, cross it and take a left to walk uphill, back towards the playground and neighborhood center by a different route.
Bear right and walk behind the playground towards the Little Free Library. Steps lead to a boardwalk into a wooden area. Climb up them to explore.
It’s a little maze across a wetland inside a sinkhole. Besides a viewing platform, there is a picnic table and a pavilion with built-in seating perfect for outdoor talks.
The boardwalk is a cul-de-sac, so exit the way you came, this time having a ramp available leading towards the parking area.
Adjoining the parking is a large open grassy space that is part of the park, where people walk dogs and families play catch. Our in-the-park ramble was a half mile.
You can extend it further with a brisk walk around the ballfields, or across the grassy expanse and around the sinkhole, or with a walk up the creek through Dickson Azalea Park.
Langford Park is also the gateway and parking spot for adjacent Dickson Azalea Park, established in 1924 along the banks of Fern Creek.
This linear park is at its finest in February for azalea blooms, but even during the summer months, it’s a jungle of ferns and palms.
A wander through Langford Park
See our photos of Langford Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Fifty acres of formal gardens hug Lake Rowena in this historic display of botanical diversity in Orlando.
Established as a camellia showcase, this public garden has a nature trail first built in 1956 to explore natural habitats within a 47-acre urban forest.
Inside the city of Orlando, the urban Bill Frederick Park has a wild side, too, with more than 2 miles of trails to meander through scrub forest and along Turkey Lake.