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Lake Nona, a 17 square mile planned community similar to Celebration and Baldwin Park but on a much larger scale, is being developed in southeast Orange County, principally to service the growing life sciences center (dubbed Medical City). About 40% of the land is designated as parks and green space, with 44 miles of paved and unpaved trails including portions of Orlando's Southeast Trail. Lake Nona continues to grow, supporting the medical and educational facilities with residential neighborhoods, retail centers, hotels, multiple community parks, country club, and recreation including a YMCA, water park, and a Sports and Performance District anchored by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) complex. (Map, photos below.)
Lake Nona... Biking Map
Location: Orange County
End Points: Varies
Trailheads/Parking: Town Center, Heroes Community Park, YMCA, along the roads. (See map)
Nearby Points of Interest: Moss Park, Orlando International Airport, Veterans Memorial Park (at the VA Medical Center)
Bike Shops / Rentals:
44 miles of paved and unpaved trails criss-cross the community. The multi-use/bike trails and paths run throughout Lake Nona, linking neighborhoods, schools, parks, and business. Serving primarily as neighborhood and commuter trails, most biking is parallel to roadways but some goes through parks, providing welcome shade. As the Lake Nona Town Center is developed, amenities appear, and planned trail connectors are completed, this will be an interesting cool-weather ride. Located near Orlando International Airport (7 miles) we did hear air traffic overhead.
SR 417 roughly divides Lake Nona into north and south sections, below we explore some neighborhoods on both sides. Bike paths along Narcoossee Road and Lake Nona Blvd. serve as spines connecting the areas.
Lake Nona Town Center across from the Medical City includes restaurants, shops, hotels, and offices with more under construction. From the SR417 exit, follow Lake Nona Blvd. south to Tavistock Lakes Blvd. and turn right into the Town Center. Limited street parking, parking garages provided.
The Lake Nona Medical City is linked by trail to the Town Center and Lake Nona neighborhoods. It includes the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center, the Orlando VA Medical Center, Nemours Children's Hospital, a University of Florida Research and Academic Center, and more to come. Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park is located next to the VA Medical Center.
Laureate Park is a neighborhood within Lake Nona, with residential areas, school, parks, recreational facilities, and a resident-only aquatic center. The Laureate Park Village Center includes restaurant and retail.
Heroes Community Park, a City of Orlando park located in Laureate Park across from the VA Hospital, is a trailhead for the Orlando Southeast Trail with parking, restrooms, picnic pavilions, and playing fields.
Adjacent to the park, we were impressed by the Adventure Center, a water park with floating aqua park, cable park for wakeboarding, climbing tower and bistro. A popular community destination - we saw several birthday parties in progress - open to the public.
This area includes Northlake Park, the YMCA, Lake Nona Country Club, US Tennis Association National Campus and Waters Edge neighborhood. The parks offer welcome shade.
East of Narcoossee Road, the Orlando Southeast Trail includes a section parallel to Moss Park Road leading to Moss Park, offering boat launch, fishing, camping, swimming, playgrounds, picnicking. One mile of the trail to the park remains to be completed. Isle of Pine Preserve adjacent to Moss Park is for hiking and equestrian only. Along Moss Park Road another short trail comes in from John Wycliffe Blvd. This trail loops around a small lake and past the USA headquarters of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
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