By Kevin Mims

 When it comes to family vacations, there’s nothing quite like a week spent camping at a Florida state park. Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, which has six lakes and encompasses 4,500 acres of unspoiled natural beauty, is a top family-friendly camping destination, not only for its plentiful recreational and camping opportunities but also for its proximity to some of Florida’s most popular theme parks and attractions.

Just 18 miles from Walt Disney World, Lake Louisa is the perfect choice for a vacation destination that combines the raw nature of central Florida with all that the Orlando area has to offer.

The park is packed with options for all kinds of family fun, from hiking and biking to horseback riding to swimming and kayaking, and there are as many ways to camp as there are activities to enjoy. Whether you want a rugged adventure or a stay that is a little more luxurious, you can find what you're looking for at Lake Louisa, where choices range from primitive tent camping all the way to glamping in oversized, air-conditioned tents and cabins on the water.

While many people staying at Lake Louisa have come for the big Orlando attractions, park manager Rachel Nunlist recommends checking out some of the lesser-known local places while you’re there.

“We see a lot of people who are visiting the theme parks and we always try to get different types of recommendations. So when someone says, ‘what is there to do in this area?’ the easiest answer would be ‘go to Disney,’ but there’s so many smaller attractions like Showcase of Citrus to our south and then the Citrus Tower to our north. So there’s smaller local attractions that are just as entertaining for families as Disney and much cheaper.”

Camp under the stars, in an RV or a cabin at Lake Louisa State Park.



Tent and RV camping

Lake Louisa has 60 campsites equipped with 30- and 50-amp service, so finding the right spot to put up your tent or park your RV is easy. The campground, situated between Dixie and Hammond lakes, is equipped with two accessible bath houses, two accessible fishing piers, and a dump station. If your goal is to truly get away from it all, leave the car behind and backpack to the park’s primitive campsites at the secluded Pine Point and Wilderness Point camping areas.


For a more luxurious night under the stars, book a glamping experience at one of the park’s CareFree Camping sites — no setup required. The waterproof canvas bell tents have 200 square feet of space inside and accommodate up to four people. They are air-conditioned and heated and come with their own furniture, including a queen bed complete with linens. If more beds are needed, there is an option to add up to two twin air mattresses to the space. In addition to the glamping tents, the park has off-grid eco tents, which have solar-powered lights, a queen bed with linens, a propane coffee station, and more.


The park has 20 cabins overlooking Dixie Lake, which are ideal for families who want the experience of staying at a state park while sleeping in a large, comfortable indoor space. Each cabin is heated and cooled with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a gas fireplace (available to use November through February). Cabins have kitchens and living rooms and are stocked with pots, pans, and linens. Have your morning coffee on the porch and spend evenings grilling outside.

Equestrian camping

Lake Louisa has everything you need for camping with horses at its primitive equestrian campground, including five paddocks, picnic tables, grills, a composting toilet, and pasture for grazing.

 Pack a picnic, swim at the beach, or walk along the picturesque shoreline at Lake Louisa Park.



When camping at Lake Louisa, there’s much to see and do in and outside of the campground.

“A lot of families hit the trails,” Nunlist said. “A lot of them use the swimming area and the beach playground and now a good portion are starting to take advantage of our concessionaire offerings, which are things like guided horseback tours, Segway tours, and canoe and kayak rentals.”

Raquel Manzo and Jose Malpica, who live in Central Florida, brought their teenage boys to Lake Louisa for a weekend of grilling by the RV and some light exploring. “They’re playing ball right now,” Manzo said while Malpica worked the grill. “They went out on kayaks and we have scooters so they can go around the park.”

Fishing, paddling, and swimming

One of the first places many visitors explore at Lake Louisa State Park is the beach of Lake Louisa itself and the scenic, cypress-lined boardwalk that leads there. Pack a picnic, swim at the beach, or walk along the picturesque shoreline.

With three major lakes, Lake Louisa has plenty of places to fish and paddle. Explore the water by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, whether you bring your own or rent one from the concessionaire.

Horseback riding

In addition to equestrian camping and 15 miles of multi-use trails for horseback riding, the park also offers guided trail rides through the concessionaire. Trail rides are open to guests ages 8 and up, regardless of experience level.

Hiking and biking

With 20 miles of unpaved, multi-use trails and seven miles of paved roads, there are plenty of options for hiking and biking. With the park’s varied terrain and ecosystems, exploring the trails here is always an adventure. Didn’t bring a bike? That’s not a problem — just rent one from the concessionaire.

Segway tours

There’s yet another way to explore this park, and that is by Segway. Hop on one of the concessionaire’s guided tours for a three-mile adventure ride on the trail.



Showcase of Citrus, 3 miles, a 2,500-acre estate that grows more than 50 varieties of citrus.

Citrus Tower, 8 miles, a 225-foot monument to Florida’s citrus industry with a glass-enclosed observation deck.

Lakeridge Winery, 13 miles, offers daily winery tours and tastings.

Bob’s Hot Air Balloon Rides, 17 miles, takes visitors up and over central Florida for bird’s-eye views of Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties.

Walt Disney World, 18 miles

Universal Orlando Resort, 28 miles

Harry P. Leu Gardens, 31 miles, a 50-acre botanical garden and museum along Lake Rowena near downtown Orlando.

Places to Remember


Known as “The Choice of Champions,” Clermont’s distinct rolling hills, lakes, climate and sports facilities have earned it an...


Less than an hour by car from the attractions of Orlando, the lakefront city of Tavares is pleased to share with visitors an entirely different taste...

Mount Dora

Mount Dora, a laid-back, relaxing getaway just an hour from Orlando, offers you the pleasure of Old Florida country living.