Floridians weather the heat and humidity of brutal summers by turning to the state’s wealth of clear, refreshing springs, spilling cool water out of crevices in the ground at the rate of thousands of gallons a minute..
Thanks to Florida’s award-winning state park system, Central Florida is the ideal place to plan a family vacation in a cabin surrounded by nature. There are four great state parks within 90 minutes of Orlando that offer affordable cabins in exceptional settings.
Florida Southern College in Lakeland has been named the most beautiful college campus in the country. While some may debate that title, there’s no disputing the campus is unique: Nowhere else in the world has more buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Hontoon Island is a terrific refuge for camping or a stay in a rustic cabin and as a base for a kayaking or canoe trip. The paddle around the island is 10 miles filled with birds and wildlife, past ancient cypress and oak trees. This Central Florida state park is near several other great parks, too.
A scenic kayak outing on Turkey Creek takes you to Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek Sanctuary, where you can explore 3.5 miles of trails. Along the way, see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife.
Environmentalists have won a few battles in Florida and paddling the Ocklawaha is a good reminder. This is a wild, untouched river that was once destined to be lost forever. Today, it is a beautiful spot to explore.
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.
The Gamble Mansion has white columns to rival Tara and was the site of a dramatic Civil War event. It’s the only antebellum mansion left in South Florida.