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.
This 46-mile paved Central Florida rail trail is a smooth, safe ride. But what makes it special is the scenery, parks & towns to explore along the way.
The Van Fleet Trail into the Green Swamp is one of the most rural, isolated rides you’ll find in Florida. It’s flat. It’s straight. But if you want to truly get away from it all and encounter a little wildlife along the way, here’s the place.
Silver Springs State Park near Ocala lets kayakers launch at the famous springhead and paddle an exquisite waterway where paddlers often see monkeys, manatees and an array of birds and other animals.
Canaveral National Seashore is quiet and peaceful with bountiful wildlife, and you can always find your place in the sand.
TITUSVILLE — Some say it’s touristy; some say it’s authentic. But pretty much everyone agrees that the hushpuppies at Dixie Crossroads are irresistible.
The Withlacoochee River meanders through an unspoiled forest in rural Florida but still within an hour of Orlando and Tampa.
Jetty Park, with a terrific beach, fishing jetty and a view of passing ships, has a campground and small cabins. It’s an appealing getaway, with a few catches.
A very old, very big live oak tree inspired me to stop at this park near the Villages in Central Florida, and I found it to be a nice place to picnic, paddle and take a short hike.
Blue Springs State Park is beautiful, the swimming is fabulous and paddling opportunities are numerous. In winter, it’s the best place in Florida to see manatees.