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.
The clear waters flowing out of Alexander Springs are the start of a great paddling trail inside Ocala National Forest. It’s an easy stream to paddle with lots of wildlife, especially birds and fish.
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.
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park in New Port Richey is not well known outside its area. But it’s a good place to kayak both to see springs in the park and to paddle into the Gulf to see historic stilt houses.
The Santa Fe River near Gainesville is a treasure for its many clear bubbling springs and its unspoiled beauty. It’s one of Florida’s most beautiful places to kayak, canoe, snorkel and swim. It’s way north, but worth making part of a trip.
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.
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.
The Mount Dora Bicycle Festival attracts thousands for competitive rides over hill and dale. This is your guide to the festival with schedules, a list of nearby campgrounds and links to hotel and vacation home reservations.
The park is beautiful, the swimming is fabulous and paddling opportunities are numerous. Blue Spring State Park in southwestern Volusia County has something special year-round.
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!
Inexpensive and smothered in nature, these scenic campgrounds are the best for RV and tent campers within an hour’s drive of Disney World.
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.
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.