Shangri-la Springs is a historic hotel surrounded by eight acres of gardens with fountains, ponds, towering trees and the original spring the town is named for. You are welcome to visit the grounds or have breakfast or lunch at its restaurant, which serves produce from its organic garden. It’s an Old Florida hidden gem!
Florida has the highest concentration of springs and spring runs in the world, and many offer recreation such as swimming, scuba diving, paddle trails, camping, fishing and summer escapes.
Central Florida is home to a diverse selection of Florida state parks with camping. Something for everybody, even if you don’t own a tent or RV. (2nd in a series)
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is known for its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also a great place for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
Good news: One of Florida’s favorite kayak runs, Juniper Springs, is open again. It might be the most pristine spring-fed river in Florida. It’s stunningly beautiful, a narrow twisty stream, best for experienced paddlers. It had been closed since 2020.
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.
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.
Kelly Park is best known as a summer destination for swimming its cool springs and for paddling scenic Rock Springs Run. We loved camping there.
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.
It takes some chilly water to cool you off during a Florida summer day, but these spring-fed Florida rivers have that and more. These seven springs and rivers are among the most beautiful spots in Florida and are ideal locations for tubing. They’re so popular, however, you need to do your homework before going.
One of the classic experiences of an Old Florida vacation was a scenic boat tour. Here are nine iconic boat tours. How many of these have you taken?
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.
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.
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!
For paddle boarding, it would be hard to find a better destination than Tampa Bay. In addition to beaches and bays, you can paddle amid mangrove islands, in tannic rivers with alligators and, within a two hour drive, one of the most spectacular clear spring runs in Florida.
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.
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.
Tucked into a corner of Hillsborough County is a quiet, well-shaded campground that packs a lot of nature into a small 160-acre preserve along the Alafia River.
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.
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.
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.
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.