Central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge is made for exploration. It offers rolling hills, forests, streams, quaint small towns with lots of places for hiking, kayaking and camping.
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Organized bike festivals create safer longer rides for bicyclists while giving them beautiful places to explore and enjoy the scenery.
Labor Day brings together about 600 bicyclists from around the country to enjoy pedaling on scenic roads over gentle hills with friendly drivers.
Arbuckle Creek is a gorgeous river through an ancient cypress forest. It feels remote and wild but is convenient to Orlando and South Florida. It’s a gem, full of wildlife and magnificent scenery.
Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is for explorers – folks who like to find places that aren’t in the guidebooks. Here you can hike for miles in the woods, hear only nature and have a chance to spot wildlife, including bear, bald eagles and endangered scrub jays.
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.
As you plan your Florida travels for the lovely fall, winter and spring season, here are seven towns that I’ve found make great bases for exploring. Each puts you in the center of outstanding places to hike, bike, kayak and explore history. Each is surrounded by natural beauty.
The Kenilworth Lodge is one of those grand old hotels built for the rich in the age of railroads.