Parks & Forests

The beach is rocky but beautiful with good snorkeling. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Key West hidden gem

What took me so long? Like a lot of visitors, I had overlooked Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park on my visits to Key West because it is tucked away out of site. But the historic fort and great beach are worth discovering.

Rhesus monkey at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Kayaking Silver Springs: Exquisite trail for kayaks is highlight of Silver River

The new Silver Springs State Park near Ocala gives kayakers their first chance to launch at the famous springhead and paddle an exquisite waterway that has never been open to kayakers before.

Kayaking the Alafia River near Tampa

Alafia River: Kayaking through tame rapids a half hour from Tampa

This cypress-lined Alafia river has an unusual feature for Florida: Rocky shoals that create fun rapids to kayak. It’s near hiking trails, springs and a very nice paddling trail at Little Manatee River State Park.

An antique train trestle on the Little Manatee River is a good place for a lunch break. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Little Manatee River near Tampa: Great for kayakers, hikers & campers

Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.

One of the original campgrounds, Old Prairie, at Myakka River State Park.

Best Camping Near Tampa Bay: 9 choice campgrounds

We’ve selected nine public campgrounds near Tampa Bay for their scenic beauty, low prices and prime opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing. We think you’ll like these choices.

Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne

Cape Florida on Key Biscayne: Top beach, lighthouse & sangria

This state park is more natural than it has been for decades. Enjoy the terrific beach and tropical hammock, tour the historic lighthouse, dine at restaurants with great views and walk or bike trails.

Stop at little known Lake Griffin State Park for a famous tree and more

Stop at little known Lake Griffin State Park for a famous tree and more

A very old, very big live oak tree inspired me to stop at this park near the Villages in Central Florida, and I found it to be a nice place to picnic, paddle and take a short hike.

The Turner River's mangrove tunnels are beautiful -- so full of bromeliads. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Turner River kayak trail: The best in the Everglades

I’ve paddled a lot of trails in the Everglades, but so far, the Turner River is my favorite. It goes from pristine cypress swamp, through mangrove tunnels to sawgrass marsh, and it teems with birds, gators and fish. It’s everything the Everglades offers in one trip.