This state park fits my defination of a hidden paradise: A scenic kayak trail on a wild island that ends at a spectacular hidden beach you’ll have all to yourself. This little-known state park is accessible only by boat.
Kayak & Canoe
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.
Myakka is one of the oldest and biggest state parks, a great place for seeing wildlife, from huge gators to flocks of birds in winter. Go here for its log cabins, appealing camp sites, excellent kayaking, extensive hiking and good bike trails. It’s also a good spot for nature neophytes, who enjoy the airboat ride and canopy walk.
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.
Jonathan Dickinson State park can keep a lover of the outdoors busy for days with hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, wildlife watching and soaking up the natural beauty. Now’s the perfect season to plan an adventure there.
DeLeon Springs, about an hour north of Orlando, is a state parks with swimming, kayaking and fantastic history. But it’s best known for — of all things — its pancakes.
You need a boat to see most of Biscayne National Park, east of Homestead. About 95 percent of its 172,971 acres are underwater. Fortunately, if you don’t have a boat, there are a variety of experiences available to visitors including snorkeling outings and boat tours to islands.
This gorgeous, wild, winding river is well-known in Florida, but can only be paddled when water levels are high enough — and thanks to recent rains, that is NOW. This river belongs on the bucket list of those who love the Florida outdoors.