7 Places to Explore Florida's Great Outdoors | Florida Travel Life

7 Places to Explore Florida's Great Outdoors

Get some sun on your face and earth under your shoes with these amazing Florida outdoor getaways.

We uncover the best of Florida's amazing wilderness with our favorite adventure activities — perfect for your next family vacation or just a long day away from home.

 

Little Devil Spring

This spring pool is part of the Ginnie Springs system in north Florida. Surrounded by soft grass and beautiful cypress tress, Little Devil Spring is popular with the picnic crowd, swimmers, snorkelers and even scuba divers. Picnic tables and a parking lot are next to the spring, which also seems to be popular with mermaids.

Ginnie Springs
5000 NE 60th Avenue
High Springs, Florida 32643

 

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

This state park off the coast of Key Largo is the first undersea park in the United States. Encompassing about 70 nautical square miles, John Pennekamp offers both above- and below-water experiences. But it's the coral reefs and the marine life that make their home there that are the top attractions. For guests who'd prefer to stay dry, glass-bottom boats offer tours. Snorkelers and scuba divers usually find their way to the Christ of the Abyss statue, which sits in about 25 feet of water. (This is just one of three Christ of the Abyss underwater statues; the others reside in Italy and Grenada.)

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Mile Marker 102.5 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037

 

Dry Tortugas National Park

Just short of 70 miles west of Key West sit the seven islands that compose Dry Tortugas National Park. Like so many outdoor attractions in Florida, it's popular with snorkelers, divers and swimmers. Those who want to keep their feet dry can feast on the scenery and diverse wildlife. To visit requires a little effort; the park is accessible via boat or seaplane. If you want to stay overnight, bring a tent because a campground is the only accommodations available (and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis). The park is almost home to Fort Jefferson, one of the nation’s largest 19th century forts and the brief home to Dr. Samuel Mudd, the physician who was imprisoned there for setting the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth.

Dry Tortugas National Park
Coordinates
24°38′00″N
82°55′12″W

 

St. George Island

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St. George is a barrier island, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola Bay. The island has a state park, an area of small businesses and a gated housing community with its own airstrip. Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park attracts sunbathers, boaters, hikers and fishers. Two boat ramps are available, and the park has six picnic shelters and a campground with 60 campsites.

Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
1900 E. Gulf Beach Drive
St. George Island, FL 32328

 

Ichetucknee Springs

The spring-fed Ichetucknee River flows 6 miles through north central Florida before it joins the Santa Fe River. Tubing is the favorite activity here, and the park opens for tubers from the end of May until early September. Scuba divers must be cave-certified to dive the beautiful but challenging Blue Hole. For tubing gear, check out the private business outside the park off State Roads 47 and 238.

Ichetucknee Springs
12087 SW U.S. Highway 27
Fort White, FL 32038

 

Juniper Prairie Wilderness

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The 14,283-acre Juniper Prairie Wilderness is perhaps the most popular of the four wilderness areas in the Ocala National Forest. It is a roadless attraction that appeals to hikers as well as kayak and canoe fans who favor the shallow lakes. Checking in at a district office is a good idea, to inform someone of your travel plans and get the latest info on weather conditions. It's recommended that overnight visitors check in with the office staff, who can advise visitors about campfire bans - common during times of high fire danger.

Juniper Prairie Wilderness
Latitude: 29.2147308
Longitude: -81.68764126

 

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

The Pinellas Trail is a linear park and recreation trail extending from St. Petersburg in the south of Pinellas County to Tarpon Springs in the north. Skaters, joggers, bikers and pet walkers share the space on the trail. All motor vehicles (except emergency vehicles and electric wheelchairs) as well as horses are prohibited on the trail, which is open only during daylight hours. Pedestrian bridges help trailblazers cross the county's busiest intersections along the 44-mile route.