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5 great places to stroll in Seminole County

Sanford, Altamonte Springs included in list

Lake Lotus Park (WKMG)

SANFORD, Fla. – Fall in Florida means open windows, sweaters and afternoons spent outdoors, and there are plenty of places to enjoy nature in Seminole County, where you can walk through the woods or stroll by a lake.

Here are five spots to walk, jog or play.

Lake Lotus Park

Lake Lotus Park is in the city of Altamonte Springs. It is a nature preserve, with about 150 acres, 120 of which are woods and wetlands. Guest can enjoy a one-mile boardwalk that includes a fishing pier and an enclosed pavilion with a lake view. There are also picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, an education center, playground areas and restrooms inside the park. Lake Lotus is closed Monday through Wednesday, but the park opens to the public Thursday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Weekday parking is available inside the park. Tram service is available from the off-site parking area on weekends and during special events. Admission and parking are free to the park. For more information about the rules of the park, visit: https://www.altamonte.org/959/Lake-Lotus-Park

Restrooms: Yes

Dogs Permitted: No

Difficulty: Low

Lake Lotus Park

Cranes Roost Park

Another park in Altamonte Springs is Cranes Roost Park in the heart of Uptown Altamonte and surrounding Crane Roost Lake. The lake is encircled by an one-mile continuous walkway with benches and covered seating areas. Guests can watch ducks, turtles and other wildlife enjoying the lake. Cranes Roost Park is used for many outdoor events in Seminole County, including Red Hot & Boom in July. During the holiday season, the Holiday Fountain Show takes place from November 28, 2019 to December 31, 2019. The park is open every day of the week and is free. Sunday through Thursday, the operating hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the park is open from 7 a.m. to midnight. For more information about events, rules, and address, visit: http://www.altamonte.org/367/Cranes-Roost-Park

Restrooms: Yes

Dog Permitted: Yes with leash, No for Events (Check rules)

Difficulty: Low

Crane Roost Park

Seminole Wekiva Trail

The nearly 14 mile Seminole Wekiva Trail is a paved recreational trail that is perfect for long walks with your dog, a bike ride with your kids or a run with your friends. The trail was built on the former Orange Belt Railway, which at one time was the longest railroad in the country. Part of the trail that runs west of the I-4 trail overpass to the county line at the Wekiva River is also a designated Florida National Scenic Trail. The trail has four starting or ending points: the San Sebastian Trailhead, Seminole County Softball Complex, Jones Trailhead, and Markham Trailhead. To do the entire 14 miles, it is recommended you start at the San Sebastian Trailhead near Semoran Boulevard in Altamonte Springs and go all the way to Markham Trailhead off Markham Road in Lake Mary. Each trailhead has different amenities, including picnic tables, water fountain, restrooms and parking. The Softball Complex has the most amenities. For more information about the Seminole Wekiva Trail, visit: https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/leisure-services/greenways-natural-lands/trails/seminole-wekiva-trail.stml

Restrooms: Yes, but only parts of trail

Dogs Permitted: Yes, with leash

Difficulty: Low

Seminole Wekiva Trail

Sanford Riverwalk

The Sanford Riverwalk Trail follows the shoreline of Lake Monroe and extends from U.S. 17-92 to Mellonville Avenue. It is considered one of the most scenic paved trails in the country. Sanford Riverwalk Trail connects Lake Monroe with Wayside Park, Log Cabin Memorial Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Fort Mellon Park, Sanford City Hall, Seminole County Courthouse, Sanford Museum, a public boat ramp and the restaurants and shops of downtown Sanford. Right now, the trail is 1.8 miles long, however, there is a new segment under construction that will extend the trail west for 2.4 miles. It is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020. Once completed, the trail will go from Central Florida Hospital to just west of Interstate 4. Visitors can bike, skate, fish, walk or jog along the riverwalk. The trail endpoints are at E. Seminole Blvd. at N. Mellonville Ave. and W. Seminole Blvd. just past Mangoustine Ave. Visitors can park at the trail endpoints. For more information about the Sanford Riverwalk, visit: https://www.sanfordfl.gov/departments/planning-and-development-services/sanford-riverwalk

Restroom: Yes

Dogs Permitted: Yes, with leash

Difficulty: Low

Sanford Riverwalk

Black Bear Wilderness Area

If you are looking for a walking area to experience Florida’s wetlands, Black Bear Wilderness Area in Sanford is a place you need to visit. BBWA is about 1,600 acres in northwest Seminole County. BBWA trail system is a nearly 7.1 mile loop along the St. Johns River. There are boardwalks along the trail where visitors can view Florida’s diverse wildlife. Wet Prairie, Hydric Hammock and Cypress Swamps form a habitat, which host wildlife such as the white-tailed deer, swallow-tailed kite, American alligators and Florida black bears. BBWA trails stay dry most of the year, however, part of it is located within the floodplain of the St. Johns River and may experience significant flooding during the rainy season. Also, if you need a smooth and bug free trail, skip BBWA. Visitors will encounter sloops, tree roots, and animal burrows. It is recommended visitors wear proper hiking shoes. BBWA is located at 5298 Michigan Avenue in Sanford, and is free to the public. For more information on hiking and camping, visit: https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/locations/Black-Bear-Wilderness-Area.stml

Restrooms: No

Dogs Permitted: Yes

Difficulty: Moderate

Black Bear Wilderness Area