Exploring Florida Wilderness on Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Looking for something different to do in central Florida? Want to see Florida wildlife up close? The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a great place to take a scenic drive and get up close with various wildlife without leaving your car! Did I mention it is also FREE?

The drive starts at 2850 Lust Rd in Apopka, FL 32703. This is just 30 minutes north of Walt Disney World or Universal Studios. The Apopka Wildlife Drive is an 11-mile unpaved drive on the north side of Lake Apopka. The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. It opens at sunrise and the entrance closes one hour before sunset.  Lake Apopka is the state’s fourth-largest lake and is located in the middle of the state of Florida.

We arrived around 1:30pm on a Sunday afternoon. The drive was surprisingly busy. But even so, overall, the drive took us 1 hour to complete. It is easy to get behind a slow car taking pictures, but there were places to either pull over or to pass, all along the drive.

The first section of the drive was through marshland where we saw a tons of birds.

There is an audio tour offered which was informative about the history of Lake Apopka and the wildlife. The audio tour is available on the St Johns Rivier Water Management District website.

Here you can find a map of the whole drive. They also offer birding and butterfly checklists on their site.

Along the drive, there were signs with information about the area and wildlife. There were also plenty of places to pull over and get out. There are also walking and biking trails all around Lake Apopka, not just on the North Shore.

As we approached the lake, there was a choice between 2 roads. We took the road on the left and were glad we did as it follows the lake with some spectacular views.

If you are looking for a way to see alligators in the wild, this is the drive for you! We were amazed at how many we saw. We saw well over 20, most of them just sunning themselves on the banks.

If you are looking to see “the real central Florida” the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a great way to spend a few hours up close with nature.

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