The winter holidays are different in balmy Florida, but you might be surprised that you CAN hike into the woods and cut down a Christmas tree. In fact, it’s only $10 and you can also explore beautiful Ocala National Forest.
Ocala National Forest features more than a dozen developed campgrounds and two state parks you can use as a base to explore more than 600 square miles of wilderness.
Ocala National Forest covers more than 600 square miles of Central Florida, and all of it is open to dispersed, primitive camping.
The clear waters flowing out of Alexander Springs are the start of a great paddling trail inside Ocala National Forest. It’s an easy stream to paddle with lots of wildlife, especially birds and fish.
Encompassing more than 600 square miles in North Central Florida, Ocala National Forest is bursting with adventure. Hike the Florida Trail, camp in the deep woods, spend a lazy day at a cool, bubbling spring, ride the equestrian trails, paddle a spring run, a lake or a river.
You can experience four outstanding Florida rivers in one trip if you base yourself in the Ocala area. In four days of paddling, you have a good chance to see wildlife — from manatees to American eagles to alligators and even monkeys. Three of the four rivers are aquarium-clear spring-fed streams. The fourth is a wild and peaceful place where you can escape the modern world.
Juniper just might be the most pristine spring-fed river in Florida. It’s also stunningly beautiful. On a hot day, the 72-degree water and shaded run help keep you comfortable.
Some of the best hiking near Orlando can be found at the Little Big Econ State Forest, where bluffs along a scenic river add interest. The forest is 5,000 acres preserved in a suburban area in the middle of the triangle formed by Orlando, Cocoa and Daytona Beach.
This historic restaurant near Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park at Cross Creek is a great place to eat like a cracker. It offers an old Florida ambiance and menu.
There’s not much going on in Lake George State Forest, making it an ideal getaway for a few days of solitude along the St. John’s River.