Northwest Florida

The spring at Fanning Springs State Park on the Suwanee River. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Fanning & Manatee Springs: Hidden treasures for cabins, camping

Fanning Springs and Manatee Springs state parks offer beautiful springs, cabins, camping, kayaking & biking in Northwest Florida. Where is this Florida wonderland? Far off the beaten path.

The view from the diving platform at Wakulla Springs. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Wakulla & St. Marks: Out of the way, this Big Bend area is full of discoveries

The Big Bend area of Florida around St. Marks and Wakulla Springs is rich in things to do and see: Kayaking, biking, historic sites, springs, lighthouses. Yet, it is a less visited area off the tourist trail.

Lafayette forms two beautiful pools of water, each lined with limestone rocks, surrounded by hard packed earth and separated by a natural limestone bridge.  (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Springs & the Suwannee: Two northwest Florida parks are great bases for exploring

Remote, rural and picturesque, northwest Florida rewards your long drive with sparkling springs, the beautiful Suwanee River and scenic rural roads. Two state parks with cabins and campgrounds make great bases to explore the region.

6 outstanding state park campgrounds along I-75 in North Florida

6 outstanding state park campgrounds along I-75 in North Florida

Just a hop and a skip from an I-75 off-ramp, these scenic campgrounds are loaded with outdoors fun, ideal stopovers for a night or a week.

Rodney Atkins

Early November for Florida’s oldest seafood festival

Apalachicola celebrates its local seafood industry, and oysters take center stage (along with country music star Rodney Atkins)

Kayaking behind Dock Street on Cedar Key. Photo by Kellie Parkin.

Cedar Key Seafood Festival, Oct. 21-22, 2017

Seafood festivals are common in Florida, but Cedar Key Seafood Festival is uncommonly appealing. Not only is Cedar Key historic and charming, it’s also clam capital of America.

Pitch your tent in the sand.

Best beach camping in Florida’s Panhandle

Falling asleep to the soothing rhythm of waves lapping on your own beach is every camper’s dream, so we pick the best beach campgrounds on Florida’s Panhandle.

A view along the Suwanee River near Gopher Creek.

Free kayaking guide to Hidden Coast

The Hidden Coast, the Gulf Coast north of Cedar Key, is a wonderland to explore by kayak, according to Nick and Sandra Crowhurst, who have written a kayaking guide that is free for you to download.

Nature Coast Trail near Fanning Springs State Park

One of state’s best bike trails: Nature Coast Trail in rural northwest Florida

The Nature Coast Trail is a high-quality rail-trail with a picturesque train trestle over the Suwanee River and some good scenery. Two great state parks are nearby: Manatee Springs for camping and Fanning Springs for cabins. It makes a great weekend for cyclists.

Crystal River manatees: How to see, kayak or swim with manatees

Crystal River manatees: How to see, kayak or swim with manatees

The magic of manatees draws thousands to the Crystal River on the Gulf Coast each winter. Here’s a practical guide to manatee experiences in Three Sisters Springs and Kings Bay — kayaking with manatees, swimming with manatees or admiring them from a boardwalk.

Pristine, white-sand beaches are the big attraction at many state parks in the Panhandle. (Photo/John Mayer)

Camping at state parks in Florida’s Panhandle

State park campgrounds in the Panhandle are popular in summer, while spring and fall are best to enjoy spectacular beaches, paddling, hiking, fishing — and Florida’s highest waterfall.

The Suwanee River will reward you with tranquility and beauty

Suwanee River: Skip the song; but go for kayaking & camping

If you think all there is to the Suwanee River is an old song with problematic lyrics, you’re missing out on one of Florida’s greatest kayaking, canoeing and camping rivers.

I do not think it is a coincidence that the Stephen Foster Museum at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park looks like a class Southern plantation.

Stephen Foster State Park: Glorious river; great cabins, odd old museum

This state park has superior cabins and is a great base for kayaking the Suwanee and hiking. It’s also home to an oddly dated museum on Stephen Foster. (We considered it a funky Florida find.)

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