Lake Louisa State Park – A Trip To The Mouse Like A Country Bear
With all of the Disney Theme Parks, not to mention Universal Studios, SeaWorld and all the water parks, what is your favorite Central Florida attraction?
Ask Bob Sehlinger, creator of the Unofficial Guides and you might expect his response to be “Expedition Everest” or “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” when he coyly responds “Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest.” Bob’s first publications were guide books for canoeing and kayaking the white waters of Kentucky, so it is no surprise that the natural wonders of Florida hold a place in his heart alongside the world class theme parks.
So the question becomes, is it possible to do both? Experience the mind-melting hi-tech thrills and soak up the tranquility of the Florida landscape, all in a single trip? Lake Louisa State Park is a 4,372 acre oasis of gently rolling hills located twenty minutes from the edge of Walt Disney World property. Besides Lake Louisa, the park encompasses several other small lakes perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking and even swimming – just not where it says “no swimming, alligators.” The hiking trails are extensive, including an equestrian loop with a primitive equestrian camping site. Two other primitive camping sites are available, as well, for $5.50 per night. So of course, I had to try it!
So I stuffed the tent, sleeping bag, Mickey ears, and trail mix into the backpack, and off I went. The three-quarter mile trek to Pine Point was worth every step. Next to Big Creek, the luxury accommodations at Pine Point that feature a picnic table, a fire pit, and…well, that’s it. I suppose it is not about what is there, but what isn’t. No city lights, no cars, no people. For those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle, it is hard to imagine a better place. On my first day I was able to ride Space Mountain during the day and sleep under the stars at night.
For the less adventurous Lake Louisa State Park offers family cabins. Rustic but not too rustic, the cabins overlook Lake Dixie and offer two bedroom accommodations for up to six people. All the supplies are provided, including a fully stocked kitchen and a fireplace that operates seasonally. The cabins are clean, comfortable, and well-suited for a family of 5 or 6 but feature no televisions or telephones, which you may either find refreshing or frightening. Relax, most families travel with their own entertainment devices nowadays, anyway, and I never lost cell signal at anytime throughout the park. From the boat launch area across from the cabins on Dixie Lake you can see Disney’s fireworks in the distance. At $120 per night, these cabins are a real value.
Guests who choose Lake Louisa State Park as home base for their Disney trip appreciate the quiet respite from a rugged day of park hopping. Try to settle down your kids at 11pm at a hotel when a cheer-leading squad is rehearsing by the pool, and you’ll appreciate the remoteness, too!
Driving to Walt Disney World from the park is simple: go south on Highway 27 and then east on Highway 192 (West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway). I drove to the Transportation and Transit Center in 30 minutes. The park offers a campsite, as well, with 60 full-facility sites for RVs or tents at $25 per night. Check out http://www.floridastateparks.org/lakelouisa/ for more information.
6 thoughts on “Lake Louisa State Park – A Trip To The Mouse Like A Country Bear”
Here’s an important question for you, Fred. Do the cabins have A/C? I have memories of camping in our pop-up trailer in a Florida orange grove in the summer. I was pretty sure that little camper would become my coffin. I can’t go anywhere in the summer months without air conditioning of some sort. Thanks for a great article. I’d never heard about this state park!
Yes! The cabins are fully equipped with a gas fireplace (that operates seasonally), central heat and A/C and even include a dishwasher.
It’s all fun and games until Swamp Cabbage Man shows up.
Ha! Good call Kenny. I should have included a hazy photo of something rising out of the water, just to start an internet rumour 🙂
If you ever need a hazy photo, or one with a thumb in it, I’m your guy.
I’d say it’s worth the trip just to see the change in the landscape from the wilderness & orange groves of Route 27, down 192 to Disney. It makes it even more remarkable to imagine what it must have been like to be Walt Disney and look around at all that Florida scrubland and imagine what he wanted to do (and did!) with it. Another fun field trip during the winter months is to go see the manatees enjoying the relative warmth of Blue Spring, near DeLand/Orange City, northeast of Orlando. As a Disney-loving friend of mine said when I took her there, “I feel like I’m somewhere ELSE.”