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Local sodas are back at Sebring Soda Festival, April 1-3, 2022

Sebring, a small town along the lovely Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida, is staking a claim for something new — Florida’s first (and only) craft soda festival, the Sebring Soda Festival. Local small-batch sodas made with real sugar are making a comeback, partly as an outgrowth of the craft beer phenomenon. This Sebring festival is a good opportunity to taste what it’s all about.

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Silver Springs State Park: Famous spring plus cabins, hiking, history

If you haven’t experienced Florida’s most famous spring, you’re missing one of the most beautiful spots in Florida. This weekend, Ocali Country Days, a special living-history festival, will re-create the Ocala of the 1800s. Year-round, this park has it all: kayaking, hiking, glass-bottom boat rides, horseback riding and terrific cabins.

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Local color: Lake Placid Caladium Festival, July 23 to 25, 2021, is about a vivid plant

This small town festival celebrates a uniquely Lake Placid product: caladiums, a colorful plant grown commercially almost nowhere else. There’ll be music, food, a car show, arts and crafts plus bus tours of the caladium fields.

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Discover Lake Wales Ridge State Forest for hiking, exploring, camping

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.

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Outdoor adventures near Orlando theme parks: See the real Florida when visiting Disney 

We know what the big draw is in Orlando, and it’s not nature. But it should be! Even if your destination is a theme park, here are eight natural experiences and places that are memorable additions to a visit to Central Florida

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Kayaking Blue Cypress Lake: Exceptional scenery, so many ospreys, near Yeehaw Junction

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Blue Cypress Lake near Yeehaw Junction. If that’s so, you’re missing a spectacular natural lake rimmed by old growth cypress trees and home to hundreds of ospreys and osprey nests. This lake is the headwaters of the mighty St. Johns River. What a great kayak destination!

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Ocala: Four great kayak or canoe rivers within 45 minutes

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.

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