As the authors of Explorer’s Guide: North Florida & The Panhandle, we’ve spent a great deal of time exploring the outdoors here. This region has some of the more rugged trails in the Florida peninsula, with a surprising number of destinations where a scenic view is at the end of your walk.
Most of the world’s first magnitude springs bubble forth in this region, forming crystalline spring runs and short, broad rivers. The Suwannee River and St. Johns River have many miles of protected shorelines. With a wild coastline on the Gulf of Mexico and a highly developed coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, North Florida offers a full range of beach experiences, with vast estuaries and sweeping scenic views. In the central part of the region, two National Forests offer plenty of outdoor recreation – the Ocala National Forest and the Osceola National Forest.
Paynes Prairie: A North Florida Gem
A natural landform between Gainesville and Micanopy, Paynes Prairie is an immense and ever-changing basin
Paddling the Bartram Trail in Welaka
Learning how botanists William and John Bartram traveled along the St. Johns River in the 1700s, I followed an experienced river guide for a look at part of the Bartram National Recreation Trail from the water on our Bartram Adventure Tour in Palatka.
How To Prepare For A Backpacking Trip
What does a hiker need to spend a week, or a month, or three months on the trail? Here are trail-tested suggestions for backpacking in Florida for trips of a week or more
I Did A (Bit of) I Did-A-Hike
Despite pouring rain and thunderstorms, nearly 240 people showed up to tackle the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River for the annual I-Did-A-Hike, and it made for a memorable experience.
Bear season in Florida
As Florida black bears become active in late winter and spring, the chances of a bear encounter go up significantly if you leave food unsecured outdoors – whether in your campsite or at home.
Every Kid Outdoors
Got kids? If any of them are in fourth grade, they can get a free pass to ALL Federal public lands good for the whole family through the end of August. Here’s how.
In spring, alligators become more active as the days warm up. It’s also mating season, so alligators are on the move. Expect to see them anywhere and everywhere along Florida’s trails.
Do Not Feed the Bears
Bear bagging is the art of hanging your food properly out of reach of bears. If you’re a Florida backpacker and haven’t learned how, here’s a short course. Securing your food from bears is required in the Ocala, Osceola, and Apalachicola National Forests.
Botanically rich hikes along the Florida Trail
With more than 1,400 miles of hiking statewide, the Florida Trail provides a gateway to grand landscapes for botanical beauty. Here are our top suggestions for fascinating botanical destinations along the Florida Trail.
The Over 80 Across Florida Hike
In 2007, a group of senior hikers made Florida hiking history by successfully completing a backpacking trip from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico via backroads, the Florida Trail, and the Withlacoochee Bay Trail. All were over age 80.
Paddling Juniper Run
Paddling Juniper Run from Juniper Springs to the take out at SR 19 in the Ocala National Forest, a popular paddling trip along this sinuous, spring-fed waterway that winds through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness.
Florida’s Best Urban Parks
When you live in a tightly packed space, you need somewhere green as your go-to place nearby. These are our top picks for parks in Florida’s urban areas, chosen for their diversity of outdoor activities and/or their unique green spaces.