If you are looking for ways to make your vacation budget stretch a bit when you are visiting Orlando, the best thing to do is to look around for activities and attractions that are practically free. Theme parks are great, but Mother Nature has also done her part by providing us with the natural beauty which we can find in the parks of Florida. One gem that I recently discovered is the Turkey Lake Park, which is just a short distance from the Universal Resort.
Officially known as the Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, this is a beautiful 300 acre facility that is open year round, seven-days a week and features a number of outdoor activities as well as good camping facilities.
The park, which is operated by the City of Orlando, features a swimming pool and large pavilions for group picnics and smaller sun shelters for family picnics. The large pavilions are available on a rental basis and the family sized shelters are available on a first come and first served basis.
There is a well-stocked lake that should keep all the anglers in your family happy, and there is a children's farm which is remnant of the agricultural origin of this particular piece of land. A visit to the farm will give you an idea of what pioneer farming was like when Florida was first settled. Along with the farm, the park also has an Ecology Center with an air conditioned room, ideal for meetings.
In addition to swimming and fishing there are other activities including hiking, baseball/softball, volleyball, biking, and large playground for the kids. Compared to the theme parks and other major Orlando attractions all of these activities are inexpensive, and you can make them still more inexpensive by taking advantage of youth group rates, family Pass and individual passes offered by the park.
In addition, the park has limited availability for horse boarding. If you are interested in this option you should call the park office for availability and cost.
Camping is one of the biggest attractions of this particular park. You can choose from cabins that sleep up to 10, which could be perfect for groups and there are family camp sites for trailers and RVs complete with electricity, water and sewer hookups. The camping area is shaded and has picnic tables and barbecue pits. There is also another primitive camping area which costs only $7 per night for a four person tent. All camping, whether it is for a cabin or a tent requires prior reservations.
One tip if you are camping here, if possible bring along a cart to haul your stuff to the primitive camping area because the park does not provide this, and you can't take your car directly to the area.