The Big Bend Scenic Byway links a big national wildlife refuge, three state parks, three historic lighthouses, one of the best beach islands in Florida and picturesque fishing towns. It winds through an area that sees fewer tourists, and offers rustic Old Florida delights at every turn–from black bears to white squirrels.
Things to do in Northwest Florida, Gainesville, Lake City and getaways to outdoor recreation, hiking, biking, trails, canoeing, kayaking, trails, RV and tent camping, places to stay, places to eat, road trips and Funky Florida.
Diverse eco-systems are the hallmark of North Florida state parks with camping, from beaches to cool springs and deep woods hideaways. Part 4 in our series.
There are 14 Florida state parks with camping in the Panhandle, and many are on spectacular sugar-sand Gulf beaches.
The magic of manatees draws thousands to the Crystal River on the Gulf Coast each winter. Here’s a practical guide to manatee experiences in Three Sisters Springs and Kings Bay — kayaking with manatees, swimming with manatees or admiring them from a boardwalk.
Kayaking the Chaz on the central Gulf Coast takes you over turquoise springs, down twisty creeks, and you might just see a manatee, otter or bald eagle. This is one of Florida’s premier kayaking rivers.
What will you see at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge this fall? There’s a flamingo who has been spotted regularly for several years; monarch butterflies migrate through as do many varied types of birds. It’s a vast place with scenic vistas and a historic lighthouse — a hidden gem in the Big Bend region.
Florida’s northernmost state park campground will be the first to shed humidity and cool off in Fall. Book it now before anybody else reads this story.
Remote, rural and picturesque, northwest Florida rewards your long drive with sparkling springs, the beautiful Suwanee River and scenic rural roads. Two state parks with cabins and campgrounds make great bases to explore the region.
All those “lazy river” water attractions at hotels and parks? They’re just trying to recreate the exhilarating experience of tubing the clear, wild Ichetucknee River in north central Florida. Try the real thing. Summer tubing season has started.
Floridians survive the heat and humidity of our brutal summers by turning to the state’s wealth of cool, clear, refreshing springs. But you need to get to the best Florida springs early, especially on weekends.
Crystal River is the only river in Florida where you are allowed to swim with the manatees, and it’s undergoing a remarkable restoration.
Wind direction plays a role in red tide’s impact on Southwest Florida beaches.
Like Cedar Key itself, the Cedar Key Art Festival is a slice of authentic Old Florida. This historic small town is located on an island on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Not only is the Suwannee a stunning wild river worth exploring for its beauty, it also offers five unusual river camps accessible only by boat. The camps have screened, covered camping platforms with electricity and a central bathhouse with hot water. The free river camps provide comfy conditions for multi-day trips.
Seafood festivals are common in Florida, but Cedar Key Seafood Festival is uncommonly appealing. Not only is Cedar Key historic and charming, it’s also clam capital of America. Although Cedar Key was whacked by a hurricane, the festival is ON.
If you think all there is to the Suwannee River is an old song with problematic lyrics, you’re missing out on one of Florida’s greatest kayaking, canoeing and camping rivers.
O’Leno State Park is a Florida treasure. It is here that the Santa Fe River vanishes, only to re-emerge a few miles south to continue its scenic crawl to the Gulf of Mexico.,
The Ichetucknee is the most pristine spring run in the state. It has eight major springs, crystalline water, lush jungly vegetation plus plentiful birds and wildlife. It’s a shame that most visitors only experience it as a busy tubing river. It’s a fabulous winter kayaking destination in North Florida — worth a drive!
Atsena Otie island is a ghost town founded before Florida was a state. It’s a half-mile kayak trip from the Cedar Key beach and rewards you with a sandy beach, an atmosperic cemetery and good paddling and birding.
It’s a long way from just about anywhere — and that’s part of its beauty. But it’s also a great place to bicycle, kayak, hike, watch sunsets and spot birds. An 1859 hotel, now a charming B&B, plus fresh seafood restaurants add to its appeal.
Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River are among Florida’s top tubing and kayaking spots. People love this waterway because of the pure, clear water and spectacular natural setting. In winter, it’s a peaceful place to kayak and perhaps see otters. In summer, it’s full of tubes floating through a cool paradise.
There are 35 pawrific dog beaches in Florida. Find one near you.
Wakulla Springs State Park has a historic lodge, spectacular spring/swimming hole, scenic boat rides and many spots to hike, bike and kayak nearby. The Big Bend region of Florida is often overlooked by visitors, who are missing out on a rustic, rural area.
This is Old Florida as it should be, rustic and ready for curious visitors, so pack the tent or stock the RV for some camping at what seems like the end of the world. Endless vistas, great kayaking, quaint village, and don’t forget those sweet, delicious little Cedar Key clams.
Driving Florida’s northern tier on Interstate 10 is a long and lonely road. Florida state parks camping eases the stress with a layover in a peaceful oasis.
These 12 Florida State Parks campgrounds are a short hop from Interstate 75 and offer unique experiences — roaming buffalo, a disappearing river and one even memorializes a strange and wacky cult.
Crossing the Florida state line is something to cheer about, but there’s a lot more road ahead. Here are a few suggestions for overnight stays at these RV campgrounds.
The Nature Coast Trail is a high-quality rail-trail with a picturesque train trestle over the Suwannee River and some good scenery. Two great state parks are nearby: Manatee Springs for camping and Fanning Springs for cabins. It makes a great weekend for cyclists.
Fanning Springs and Manatee Springs state parks on the Suwannee River offer beautiful springs, cabins, camping, kayaking & biking in Northwest Florida. Where is this Florida wonderland? Far off the beaten path.
Dunnellon is known for its spectacular Rainbow Springs and River, especially during tubing season. But there are more reasons to visit in cool weather, including another exquisite river– the Withlacoochee — several good restaurants, and trails for both hiking and biking.
One of Florida’s oldest state parks sits on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River offering spectacular views — and fall colors!