Northwest Florida

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

The main street on Cedar Key

Cedar Key: Coolest small town in Florida?

Cedar Key is cool. So says Budget Travel magazine, which announced its 10 Coolest Small Towns in America. The only Florida town among them is this charming island in an out-of-the-way location 60 miles west of Ocala.