Hikers should discover the Nature Conservancy’s Tiger Creek Preserve, one of several sites located on Florida’s “central highlands,” a beautiful, hilly landscape with many appealing trails.
Now in ruins, the historic (and notorious) Yeehaw Junction landmark has occupied the busy crossroads of State Road 60 and U.S. 441 since the late 1800s, when Florida Crackers hauled crops to market and cowboys herded cattle through the intersection. (And yes, it was once a brothel.)
The nation’s first wildlife refuge was created by President Teddy Roosevelt to stop plume-hunters from wiping out several species of birds. The birds are back, and spring is a great time to visit. (You’ll need a kayak for a closeup look.)
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.
Not all of Central Florida’s magic is at Disney. North of Orlando is a vast ecological preserve that offers an abundance of recreational opportunities with unique exposure to Florida’s great outdoors.
The Seminole Wekiva Trail is a 14-mile multi-purpose, paved “rail trail” in the Wekiva River Basin that is part of a network of existing and planned trails across Central Florida in the Orlando metro area.
Here’s an interesting stop far off the beaten path: The Jacaranda Hotel opened in 1926 and has been providing comfy rooms and good food ever since. It’s located in the historic district of Avon Park, a little town in the middle of the state’s cattle and orange-grove country.