Natural Choice

The Shingle Creek Management Area offers a quiet escape in a bustling city.

Just south of the Ritz-Carlton lies an unlikely oasis—the Shingle Creek Management Area, a 1,750-acre parcel restored by the South Florida Water Management District. How unlikely? Well, look at the area on Google Maps and you’ll see this enclave of green surrounded by International Drive, Central Florida Parkway, John Young Parkway and the 417 expressway. Yet it’s possible to walk the quiet trails that run along Shingle Creek or across expanses of palmetto and pine and imagine that you are many miles from the city (the giant power lines along one section are about the only giveaway). Restored with money from developers and road builders to offset nearby development, this is one of the few sizable natural expanses left in southwest Orange-northwest Osceola counties. And the area goes way back: In the 1980s, along the banks of Shingle Creek, archeoloogists unearthed the remains of prehistoric stone tools that had been used by Indians as far back as 9,000 years ago.; search for Shingle Creek.