Apopka is Orange County’s second-largest city that sits about 20 miles northwest of downtown Orlando but offers much in the way of nature for outdoor enthusiasts. Spring, parks and other protected swaths of land are suitable for a host of activities. And while Apopka is close to Orlando proper, the place here is easygoing and suitable for families as well as its retirees. In 2012, Apopka was listed among Forbes’ “Friendliest Cities in America.”

 This area of Central Florida is rife with Native-American history; it takes its name from the language of the Seminoles. One of Apopka’s interesting distinctions: It had one of the longest-serving mayors in the nation. The late John H. Land — first elected in 1949– served for more than 60 years with one small break.

 Apopka has for decades been known as the “Indoor Foliage Capital of the World” for its nursery businesses, which are fewer in number these days but still a big part of the town’s identity. Every spring, it pays homage to is Apopka Art & Foliage Festival.

 The town itself is a mix of lush woodland and homes both historic and modern suburban. There are lots of development, commercial and residential, afoot. Apopka is a roughly 30-minute commute to Downtown Orlando, and whether alone or with friends it’s likely you’ll be going by automobile, with State Roads 429 or 414 the likely highways. Commutes to Seminole Country destinations, such as Altamonte Springs, are accessible by S.R. 436, a heavily traveled local road with traffic lights. Lynx bus service is available, as well.

 Apopka is well-known for its location on the edge of the Wekiwa Springs State Park, where canoeing, kayaking, hiking and outdoor pursuits are popular. Apopka’s Kelly Park is home to Rock Springs, where a relatively brief tube run in a spring-fed river culminates in a refreshing swimming hole. Nearby Mount Dora is a haven for shopping, dining and antiquing; its well preserved historic homes are notable and a big draw for visitors.

  The real estate market has boomed in the last couple of years in Apopka. There are many houses for sale available in the area, both new construction as well as pre-owned homes.