Northwest Florida

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.

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.)

The main street on Cedar Key

Cedar Key: Charming, historic, off the beaten track

It’s a long way from just about anywhere — and that’s part of its appeal. But it’s also a great place to bicycle, kayak, hike, watch sunsets and spot birds. The 1859 hotel, now a charming B&B, is reason enough to go.

2011 Suwannee River paddlethon

2011 Suwannee River paddlethon

The tribes gather on Oct. 13 at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park near Live Oak in preparation for an exhilarating 123-mile paddle down Florida’s legendary Suwannee River to Manatee Springs State Park. The expedition is one of five sponsored over the next year by PaddleFlorida.org.