Whether you're a fan or an athlete, there are plenty of ways to stay sporty in Orlando

Whether you're a fan or an athlete, there are plenty of ways to stay sporty in Orlando
Photo by Jeremy Reper

Central Florida was made for the sports enthusiasts – during most of the year, the weather is perfect for hiking, running, biking and kayaking, and when it’s not, we have plenty of sports teams you can cheer on as a spectator.

Biking and hiking

Cady Way Trail

Entrance is 1/4 mile north of State Road 50 on Herndon Avenue

This 6.5-mile paved path, popular with bicyclists and stroller-pushing moms alike, connects Orlando and Winter Park and the Cross Seminole Trail in Seminole County. The trail features water fountains, rest stops and mile markers, as well as a cool 685-foot-long suspension bridge that crosses Semoran Boulevard.

Econ Trail

Dean Road, just north of State Road 50

This ever-expanding trail in East Orlando begins at Jay Blanchard Park and extends all the way to Alafaya Trail. It runs alongside the Little Econlockhatchee River, which offers pretty views and plenty of good spots to fish, canoe or just sit in the grass and enjoy a riverside picnic.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, 407-884-2008, floridastateparks.org/wekiwasprings

You can canoe or kayak here (rentals are available), but this park also has 13 miles of pristine, wooded hiking, biking and horseback-riding trails. This park is very popular, particularly in summer when visitors like to swim in the clear blue spring, and when the parking lot fills, the park entrance closes. So get there early.

Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

8300 W. State Road 46, Sanford 407-884-2008, floridastateparks.org/lowerwekiwariver

This section of the park has no amenities, but it does have 18 miles of multi-use trails you can hike or bike.

Rock Springs Run State Reserve

30601 County Road 433, Sorrento, 407-884-2008, floridastateparks.org/rockspringsrun

The park, located about 10 miles west of I-4 on County Road 433, is really just a giant swatch of underdeveloped land. It features 17 miles of multi-use trails.

West Orange Trail

501 Crown Point Cross Road, Winter Garden

This 22-mile trail – the county's longest – stretches through Winter Garden, Apopka and Orlando. It's open to walkers and bikers, and some parts are open to horses, too. Four trailheads with parking are located at various points along the trail.

Bicycle Shops

Ace Metric

1844 E. Winter Park Road , 407-790-7802, acemetric.blogspot.com

This bike shop rallies cycle enthusiasts from all around and carries cool gear for those on the go, too. The space, next door to Stardust Video & Coffee, is sleek and stylish and industrial.

Kyle's Bike Shop

203 N. Primrose Drive, 407-228-7088, kylesbikeshop.net

Bicycle sales and service, including repairs and custom wheels. Kyle's also has a parts junkyard – if something's broken on your bike, they might be able to save you some money on the repair by using a part from the junkyard rather than ordering new.

Loco Motion Bikes

1776 Jake St., 407-898-6411, locomotionbikes.com

In addition to sales and demos, this bike shop also offers rentals, a service that's particularly appealing because of its Baldwin Park location, just a leisurely ride away from a paved bike path that winds around Lake Baldwin.

Mr. Bikes n Boards

950 W. State Road 434, Longwood, 407-790-4964, mrbikesnboards.com

This is the former Mesh Skate Park owner's store. It leaves the park behind and goes heavy into skateboard and cycle culture. Mr.'s repairs old bikes and sells new ones.

Orange Cycle

2204 Edgewater Drive, 407-422-5552, orangecycleorlando.com

This is the area's largest bike store, and it not only carries cycles, clothing and gear – it's also a hub for the cycling community. This shop holds bicycling events and repair clinics, and its website is full of useful information if you're looking for bike paths or trails.

Ragin Cajun

1809 S. Orange Ave., 407-999-9821, ragincajunbikeshop.com

Commuters, tricycles, mountain bikes, fixies and even unicycles – this family-owned south Orlando bike shop is friendly, full-service and caters to cyclers of all ages and interests.

Retro City Cycles and Greenway Bicycles

1806 N. Orange Ave., 407-895-2700, retrocitycycles.com

The owners of Retro City Cycles don't just run a bike shop; they sort of run a cycling community. They're members of various biking organizations – they helped found women's mountain biking club the Dirty Divas – and they select the bikes they sell in store with the help of customer feedback.

Canoeing and kayaking

Blue Spring State Park

2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, floridastateparks.org/bluespring

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

Chuluota, dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/paddle.htm

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.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Near Titusville, fws.gov/merrittisland

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 if you're lucky. We also suggest Turnbull Creek and Eddy Creek for paddlers.

Rock Springs Run-Wekiva River

Apopka-DeBary, dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/paddle.htm

Put in at King's Landing near Apopka, if you want to experience the entirety of this 27-mile respite from congestion and travel a designated wild and scenic river right in the heart of the Orlando metro area. Stop at Wekiwa Springs State Park on your way for a swim in the clear blue springs.

1,000 Islands

Cocoa Beach, kayakcocoabeach.com

There are so many routes you could take paddling the 1,000 Islands and probably still not see everything. This site is found on the Banana River in Cocoa Beach. Paddlers often find themselves a bit geographically challenged when they are visiting here, so bring a compass with you.

Bioluminescent Bay

Mosquito Lagoon, Near Titusville

If you can't afford to travel to Puerto Rico's famous bioluminescent bay, Florida's Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon come alive with bioluminescence from May through September. The luminescence is caused by dinoflagellates (tiny things you can't see), which glow neon-blue whenever the water is disturbed. Guides are recommended for this paddling adventure, but they are not necessary. Paddlers should begin their paddle at dusk.

5Ks, marathons and fun runs

Savage Race

Oct. 22-23, 2016

17951 Hamilton Road, Dade City, savagerace.com

This aggressive 6.5-mile race requires participants to conquer 25 insane obstacles with names like the Colon Blow, the Mud and Guts, and the Nutt Smasher.

IOA Corporate 5K

April 7, 2016

Lake Eola, Central Boulevard and Eola Drive, corporate5k.com

Insurance Office of America has sponsored this event since its inception 21 years ago; business and nonprofits form teams to participate, and more than 18,000 runners and walkers from 700 organizations participate.

Color Vibe 5K

April 10, 2016

Florida Mall, 8001 Orange Blossom Trail, thecolorvibe.com

Run/dance/walk your way through this 5K, in which runners are doused in colored powder at various stations on the course.

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Nov. 3-6, 2016

Walt Disney World Resort, rundisney.com

A series of races for runners of all ages, including a Jungle 5K, runDisney kids races and the Wine and Dine half-marathon, which concludes with a finish line party at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival.

Tough Mudder

Nov. 5-6, 2016

The Compound, SW Wingham Drive, Palm Bay, toughmudder.com

Hardcore obstacle race along a 10- to 12-mile long course.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon and Track Shack Lake Eola 5K

Dec. 3, 2016

Lake Eola and downtown Orlando, trackshack.com

More than 6,000 runners take to the streets of downtown Orlando for this annual event, which is one of the biggest road events in the Southeast.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Feb. 24-27, 2017

Walt Disney World Resort, rundisney.com

A weekend of "majestic" runs in the Magic Kingdom, with special courses, princess events and Disney princesses along the running route to cheer you on.

Sports leagues

8Coed Sports and Social


Soccer, flag football, kickball and softball played in parks around the city. Open to players 18 and older.

The Orlando Shuffle


Free shuffleboard games the first Saturday of each month at the Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Ave.

Orlando Sport and Social Club


Fun sports league offers soccer, flag football, sand volleyball, softball, kickball and more. After the game, meet your teammates for a beer at one of the league's sponsoring bars.

WAKA Central Florida Coed Kickball


This World Adult Kickball Association league is open to players 21 years of age and older

XL Soccer

825 Courtland St., 407-641-4791, xlsportsworld.com

Adult and youth indoor and outdoor soccer leagues, offering games for all experience levels. After a game, get a bite to eat and a beer onsite at the Sideline Pub and Eatery.

Yoga studios

College Park Yoga</p>

3029 Edgewater Drive, 407-999-7871, collegeparkyoga.com

This studio teaches ashtanga, vinyasa and power yoga classes, but also offers a yoga-for-wimps beginner class. For those on a tight budget, "community yoga" is offered every Saturday at 9 a.m. for $5.

Full Circle Yoga

972B Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-3288, fullcircleyoga.com

This busy studio offers classes seven days a week, and drop-in classes are $15 each. Full Circle has spacious studios and variations on traditional yoga styles.

Harmony Yoga Studio

110 N. Orlando Ave., Maitland 407-234-6454, yoga.harmonywellnesscenter.com

This studio offers something for everyone: gentle yoga for beginners, prenatal yoga for expecting mothers, yoga for fitness and a sampling of specialty classes, including laughter yoga and mysore yoga.

Orlando Power Yoga

2415 E. South St., 407-719-0101, orlandopoweryoga.com

The Baron Baptiste-style of power yoga takes the spotlight at this yoga sanctuary. Don't be surprised if the air conditioning's not on; to raise students' internal heat, this studio stays ablaze at 85-90 degrees.

Shine On Yoga

619 N. Thornton Ave., 321-236-2068, shineonyoga.com

This yoga studio believes yoga should be affordable and accessible to all – based on that philosophy, all classes are now donation-based, pay-what-you-can. Cash only.

Yoga in Lake Eola Park


Free yoga classes outdoors in downtown's Lake Eola park, taught by a rotating team of yogis. Lake Eola Park, check Facebook for exact meeting spot.

Sports teams

Orlando Magic
NBA basketball
Season: October-April
Amway Center
400 W. Church St.

Orlando City Soccer Club
Major League Soccer
Season: March through October
Orlando Citrus Bowl
1610 W. Church St.

Orlando Solar Bears
East Coast Hockey League
Season: October through April
Amway Center
400 W. Church St.

Orlando Predators
Arena Football League
Season: March-August
Amway Center
400 W. Church St.

Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls
Roller Derby League
Season: February-November
Semoran Skateway
2670 Cassel Creek Blvd., Casselberry

UCF Knights
NCAA College Football
Season: August through January
Bright House Networks Stadium
University of Central Florida


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