Deep in the heart of an ancient swamp, the Goethe Giant – one of Florida’s largest cypress trees – stands tall at the end of a boardwalk in Goethe State Forest.
Looping around a cypress-lined pond in the midst of pine flatwoods northwest of Dunnellon, the Buck Island Pond Trail at Goethe State Forest has quite a few interesting features, including a pitcher plant bog.
Providing a peek at the estuary along Crystal River, the Churchhouse Hammock Trail at Crystal River Preserve State Park has accessible and adventuresome options.
Stretching from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is a mile-wide recreational corridor that contains equestrian, mountain biking, hiking, and paved trails.
At Crystal River Archaeological State Park, a paved interpretive trail winds through a ceremonial mound complex built more than 2,500 years ago. The park is the home of Florida’s only petroglyph.
Established as an aquatic preserve to protect the sensitive estuaries between Crystal River, a spring-fed major river frequented by manatees, and the Gulf of Mexico, Crystal River Preserve State Park spans 20 miles of the Gulf Coast between Yankeetown and Homosassa.
Looking for manatees? You’ll see them up close at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where families can get up close to Florida wildlife in a natural setting.
Between New Port Richey and Crystal River, explore a variety of springs along the Nature Coast that provide splashing fun in summer and manatee watching in winter.
It’s one of the easiest trails to find along US 19 in Florida – right across from the Crystal River Mall. Churchhouse Hammock is part of Crystal River Preserve State Park.
Surrounding a sparkling first-magnitude spring, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has been a draw for tourists since its mermaids first started wooing visitors in the 1940s.