Wednesday

5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida

My family moved to Florida the summer before my senior year of high school and I thought I had moved to hell. The humidity was awful. The only time I enjoyed being outdoors was at the beach, and even that took some getting use to. The bugs were huge and there were more pine trees than palm trees, at least in north Florida. But I had a huge change of heart during my time there and made many wonderful outdoor adventures happen. You can read a little more about my change of heart in my post Making Adventure Happen No Matter Your Location.
5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida

I am at the point now where I miss Florida terribly, so I thought I would share some of my favorite outdoor adventures from that unique state.
Most people associate Florida with Disney and the beach. There isn't any wrong with that but you are missing out on some wonderful experiences if that is all you see when you visit. But before I send you off, here are a few things I have learned that make outdoor adventures in Florida more enjoyable.

Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors in Florida

  1. It is extremely hot and humid in Florida in the summer. I recommend sticking to activities that involve water. Or better yet, vacation in Florida in the fall, winter or spring
  2. Where there is water in Florida, there CAN (doesn't mean there is) be alligators and water moccasins. But please don't let them keep you indoors. I have never been chased by either and I worked and recreated outdoors in Florida since 1997. The biggest concern is for children and small dogs. Please read How To Be Safe Around Alligators and this site on venomous snakes in Florida for more information.
  3. If you choose to camp in the summer bring a battery powered fan to sleep by at night and take showers in the evening. Personally, I wouldn't camp during the summer. I am a seasoned outdoors person and I don't enjoy it.
  4. Use a screened in table canopy. There are a lot of bugs and this will make all the difference. 
  5. Place tent in the shade. It isn't a lot cooler in the shade but it will keep the tent cooler than if it was in the direct sunlight. 
  6. Avoid the hottest parts of the day. Early morning is the best time the enjoy the outdoors. 
Here are a few of my favorite outdoor destinations by region in the beautiful state of Florida.

Northeast Florida

  • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park - The gardens are beautiful but what sets this park apart is actually the beach. The shoreline is covered in coquina rock. It is one of the only places to see it in Florida. 
    5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida
Northwest Florida
  • Suwanee River Wilderness Trail - If you a looking for a canoeing destination, this is an excellent choice. There are camp site set up along the trail and the water is calm and relaxing. 
    5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida
    There are no shortages of rope swings along this trail either. 
  • Florida Caverns State Park - There are the only a few caves in Florida that are dry, not filled with water, and this is the only one open to the public on a state park. I wouldn't go just to see the caves but if you are driving along I-10 and need a break, these are perfect. There is also camping, water activities and such in the area. 
    5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida

Central Florida

  • Santa Fe River Full Moon Canoe Trips - This is a beautiful trip during a unique time of day. The fireflies were the most memorable part of the trip for me. Most of the time I see fireflies in town with lots of artificial light around but in the wild with just the stars, they are amazing. The outpost even has a camp fire waiting when you return. If you can't make it to a moon light trip, the day trips are beautiful as well. There are at least three springs that feed into the river that you can explore. 
    5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida

South Florida

  • Everglades/Ten Thousand Islands - The possibilities are endless here and it isn't really unexpected, I know, but I couldn't resist. I have hiked and camped on the eastern side of the park and in Big Cypress, enjoyed boardwalks a short drive from Miami and canoe camped in Ten Thousand Islands. This article has a pretty comprehensive list of activities.
5 Unexpected Outdoor Adventures in Florida
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    Have you explored the outdoors in Florida? What are your favorite spots?

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