Florida Guide > Days Out
Lake Louisa State Park
We know most people’s image of Orlando is Walt Disney World, Universal Studios or one of the many shopping malls! However, there are some hidden gems to be found in the Sunshine State and one of these is Clermont´s best kept secret…. . Lake Louisa State Park. Over the past 10 000 years various Native American cultures have occupied the lands surrounding the lakes which make up the park. Lake Louisa State Park is located south of State Road 50 on the U. S. 27 and offers some of the most beautiful selection of views in Central Florida and within it’s 4 500 acres can be found six lakes with 105 acres of shoreline, two streams and 11 natural communities.
On entering the State Park you will be required to stop at the ranger station and for a car of up to 8 persons part with the princely sum of $5. 00…. what good value is that…much cheaper than parking at any theme park. At the ranger station you will be provided with detailed maps and a number of leaflets outlining what the park has to offer and where to find them. So whether you be a walker; angler; horse or bicycle rider or simply someone wanting to enjoy the great outdoors your needs will be more that adequately catered for.
In addition to all those pastimes detailed above, Lake Louisa State Park has been voted in America’s top 100 Family Campgrounds by Reserve America so if you happen to be towing a caravan, driving an RV or simply have a tent in the boot of your vehicle, you will find numerous sites with full facilities, should you require them where you can pitch up for a night or longer. However, if sleeping under canvas or in a purpose built vehicle is not you cup of tea the park also offers 20 modern cabins for hire equipped with a kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, fireplace and a view over Lake Dixie to die for!
We visited the park on a beautiful sunny but cool spring day. After a short drive to orientate ourselves we parked at one of the numerous trail heads and chose to embark upon, although not participate in, the fitness trail. For those of a more sporting disposition not only can you choose to walk or jog along this flat sandy trail, but also, at various intervals partake in a series of exercises at the nine different fitness stations such as chin-ups, press-ups, traversing the parallel bars etc. The trail, which is approximately 2 or so miles in length meanders through scrub land, orange groves, forestry, in fact other than seeing the shore line of any of the park’s lakes, it gives the participants a real overview of the parks numerous landscapes. Whilst on this trail, which is part of some 23 miles of trails along which you can choose to hike or bike, we heard numerous bird calls and actually sighted an American Swallow Tailed Kite. In addition, we spotted deer and other animal footprints but sadly failed to see one of the park’s protected species the Gopher Tortoise, which burrows underground living in communities of up to 30 or more animals. In addition to the Fitness Trail there are nature trails and the like varying in length from as little as 0. 5 miles up to the Equestrian/Bronson Loop, which is 5. 5 miles long. All are well signposted and marked within the trail map guide provide by the ranger on your arrival.
So after we had taken, as in our case, a gentle stroll along one of the park’s many trails we then chose to have a sit down on the shores of the park’s largest lake…. Lake Louisa. This lake has a lovely sandy beach with picnic tables dotted amongst the trees, where you can enjoy a leisurely picnic and take in the beautiful views. Here you can also see a memorial to Lieutenant Dean R. Gilmore of Pennsylvania, whose P51 Mustang plane crashed and was lost in the lake on a training flight on November 14th 1944. The monument honours the Lieutenant and all aviators. Facilities at the lake shore include toilets/restrooms and showers which are spotlessly clean!
The next largest lake is Dixie Lake which is surrounded by trees draped with Spanish Moss. Hammond Lake on the other hand is notable for it’s proliferation of lily pads floating on the surface. Between these two lake is situated the main campground which is equipped with numerous flat, hard core sites for the parking of caravans and RVs as well as a number of grassy areas where tents can be pitched. On this campground there are a couple of toilet blocks/restrooms which include not only the obvious but also showers and laundry facilities…again as at Lake Louisa, they are all spotlessly clean. Also there are a number of benches, jetties onto the lake and free standing picnic tables.
We experienced a truly memorable few hours exploring this most beautiful park and feel it only adds to the numerous attractions that can be found in the Orlando area.
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