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.
If you love kayaking and are planning a getaway, we recommend these six places as the best towns for kayaking in Florida. As we approach a year where travel plans are upended, these small towns will deliver exceptional and authentic experiences.
You can experience four outstanding Florida rivers in one trip if you base yourself in the Ocala area. In four days of paddling, you have a good chance to see wildlife — from manatees to American eagles to alligators and even monkeys. Three of the four rivers are aquarium-clear spring-fed streams. The fourth is a wild and peaceful place where you can escape the modern world.
Juniper just might be the most pristine spring-fed river in Florida. It’s also stunningly beautiful. On a hot day, the 72-degree water and shaded run help keep you comfortable.
The winter holidays are different in balmy Florida, but you might be surprised that you CAN hike into the woods and cut down a Christmas tree. In fact, it’s only $10 and you can also explore beautiful Ocala National Forest.
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.
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.
This historic restaurant near Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park at Cross Creek is a great place to eat like a cracker. It offers an old Florida ambiance and menu.
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.
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.