With hiking, swimming, tubing and camping, Kelly Park is a family friendly recreation area for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway. There are four trails totaling seven miles and a ¾ mile stretch of spring gives you an opportunity to go tubing or just float (must rent outside of park). While spending time in Kelly Park, you will have the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife such as birds of prey, bears, otters and turtles. The well-marked and easy to hike trails give anyone the chance to step out of their daily routine and spend some time surrounded by beautiful trees and immersed in the sounds nature has to offer.
What Makes It Great
Located just 18 miles from downtown Orlando, Kelly Park is close enough to go after work, but is secluded and quiet to make you forget about the city. Just a short drive from a major city and you are stepping into a different world. You can come out for a run or hike, and cool off afterwards with a swim or float down the spring.
For hikers, Kelly Loop Trail is the longest trail (2.75 miles) and runs around the main portion of the park, marked by yellow blazes. The trails west of the main area are the Oakhill Trail (1.8 miles) and the Prairie Lake Trail (1.5 miles), and have heavier woods and more wildlife due to the lower amount of visitors on the trails. All trails are firm sand and dirt with palms and oaks providing plenty of shade. There are benches and shelters spaced out across all the trails, giving the opportunity to stop, relax, and listen to the rustle of leaves sounds of nature.
This area gets very busy during the peak months (from March to September), so plan on arriving very early or after 3:00pm when the crowds are a bit smaller. The off-season months (October-February) are great, because there are fewer visitors. With fewer visitors you will enjoy quieter trails, also increasing the chance of spotting some wildlife.
Who is Going to Love It
The park is perfect for families looking to introduce their children to the outdoors. The trails are perfect for all fitness and experience levels, designed to be enjoyed by all. Anyone looking to take a short hike can choose one of the three trails over 1 mile, or can hike all three for a bit of exercise. If wildlife photography is of interest, there are ample opportunities to see all types of animals.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The main parking area is very large and offers easy access to the Kelly Loop Trail at multiple points. To access the trails west of the park, you must exit and go behind the fire station across the road. Hours are 8:00am – 8:00pm during the summer and 8:00am – 6:00pm during the winter.