click to enlarge cactus3_photo_by_lindsey_thompson.jpg

Photo by Lindsey Thompson

Apopka is definitely worthy of a weekend day trip from Orlando 

Thirty minutes from downtown Orlando, Apopka gets a bad rep as a place where nothing happens. But perhaps that’s where the trick is. Time has seemingly stood still at several nature hangouts surrounding this small city, making it one of the best spots in the county to reconnect with our wild side. Apopka is home to two crystal-clear springs, several nature trails and multiple camping sites. If the outdoors life isn’t your thing, there are enough other quirky spots in the “Indoor Foliage Capital of the World” to make a day trip worth your time.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, floridastateparks.org

Part of the headwaters of the Wekiva River, this clearwater spring is immensely popular with residents and tourists alike for its snorkeling and kayaking opportunities. Make sure to get there early in the day – it's hard to snag a spot after noon and the park frequently closes when it reaches capacity.

Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park

400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, 407-254-1902, ocfl.net

The locals like to keep a secret of this bubbly spring where you can hang out in the water, rent floats and tube down the spring run. Like Wekiwa, this place fills up quickly during the summer, so plan accordingly.

Florida Cactus

2542 Peterson Road, Apopka, 407-886-1833

Dive into a quirky greenhouse of colorful succulents and cacti. The only problem here (aside from an occasional cactus pinch) is you might take too many plants home.

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

2803 Lust Road, Apopka, 386-329-4404, sjrwmd.com

By the shores of the recovering Lake Apopka, this 11-mile one-way drive allows you to see animals up close in their natural environments from the comfort of your car. Visitors have spotted 362 species of birds, alligators, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Trader Maes Furniture and Décor

2001 Rock Springs Road, Apopka, 407-703-7869, facebook.com/tradermaes

It may look like just a bunch of storage units put together, but inside, Trader Maes boasts 100 small shops with everything from chic bed furniture to antique perfume bottles. Don't be surprised if you stay here for a while exploring all the trinkets each room has to offer.

Porkie's Original BBQ

256 E. Main St., Apopka, 407-880-3351, porkiesapopka.com

A restaurant can't go wrong with the tagline, "You can smell our butts a mile away." This award-winning barbecue spot stands out not only for its delectable meat but also for its wide variety of sauces.

Aunt Gingibread's Bakery

409 S. Park Ave., Apopka, 321-231-9378, facebook.com/auntgingibreadsbakery

Family-owned and hidden off the main drag of Park Avenue, Aunt Gingibread's sells homemade tarts, cupcakes and other sweets; treat yourself to some sugar after that long hard day of swimming in the springs.

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