Central Florida

The beach at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral is hard-packed and offers great recreational opportunities. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Jetty Park: Beachfront cabins & camping in Cape Canaveral

Jetty Park, with a terrific beach, fishing jetty and a view of passing ships, has a campground and small cabins. It’s an appealing getaway, with a few catches.

The water in the Juniper Spring run is so clear it looks like you're floating on air. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service.)

Juniper Springs in Ocala Forest: Fab kayaking at pristine spring run

Juniper just might be the most pristine spring-fed river in Florida. It’s also stunningly beautiful and easy to kayak. On a hot day, the 72-degree water and shaded run help keep you comfortable.

Couple enjoys weekday ride

Seminole Wekiva Trail: Smooth riding

The Seminole Wekiva Trail is a 14-mile multi-purpose, paved “rail trail” in the Wekiva River Basin that is part of a network of existing and planned trails across Central Florida in the Orlando metro area.

Muscadine grapes by Flattop341 via Flickr

Florida wineries stomp grapes at harvest festivals

Harvest time in 88 degree August? Grapes in Florida? You bet. For the next few weekends, Florida wineries celebrate their harvests with grape stomping festivals.

Lake Placid grows 98 percent of the caladiums sold.

Local color: Lake Placid Caladium Festival, July 28-30, is about a vivid plant

This small town festival celebrates a uniquely Lake Placid product: caladiums, a colorful plant grown commercially almost nowhere else. There’ll be music, food, a car show, arts and crafts plus bus tours of the caladium fields.

Rosalie Creek, one of the most scenic sections of the Buster Island Loop Paddling Trail.

Buster Island Loop: Challenging kayak trail circles Lake Kissimmee State Park

It’s rare in Florida to find a loop trail for kayaks and this one, with three lakes, two creeks and a canal, is a challenge. The 11-mile trail circles the state park.

Where to experience firefly season. Wait, what’s firefly season?

Where to experience firefly season. Wait, what’s firefly season?

Blue Spring State Park, home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay one hour after closing during firefly season in April. If that took you by surprise, you’re with me. But there is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.

Scenic roads: A drive in Old Florida cow country

Scenic roads: A drive in Old Florida cow country

A scenic two-lane road across the state gives you a glimpse of a forgotten Florida: Pioneer cabins, cattle ranches under old oak trees, sandhill cranes in the fields.

Clear turquoise water along Silver River. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Silver Springs State Park: Famous spring plus cabins, hiking, history

If you haven’t experienced Florida’s most famous spring, you’re missing one of the most beautiful spots in Florida. This weekend, Ocali Country Days, a special living-history festival, will re-create the Ocala of the 1800s. Year-round, this park has it all: kayaking, hiking, glass-bottom boat rides, horseback riding and terrific cabins.

Sponge fishing boat in Tarpon Springs.

Anclote Key: Visit dazzling island and Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs is best known for its Greek sponge docks. But a boat trip to Anclote Key, one of Florida’s most remote state parks, is even better. Anclote Key is a perfect island beach, perhaps more tantalizing because it’s not easy to visit.