While the great state of Florida boosts the Southernmost point of the US, it is a state that does not always have Southern Charm. How, can I say this about the state I reside? Simple- places like Disney, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens, etc while great tourist attractions are simply just that.. They are large theme parks that are entirely commercialized. While I understand that tourism is one of the largest economic drivers in the state, I wish that the millions who travel to Florida each year would also take a day or two to visit some of the natural landmarks, and take in some of natures beauty…. Some of my favorite “spots” in Florida include: 1. St. George Island- known as The Forgotten Coast, the habitat surrounding St. Geroge is rich in preserved public lands, and while small the Island boots tons of character, and white beaches.
2. Wakulla River Kayaking- There are paddling trails throughout the county, from the Ochlockonee River, Sopchoppy and Wakulla Rivers to the St. Marks River, along with plenty of side trips to Shepherds Spring at Spring Creek and East River at the Lighthouse.the Wakulla River, fed from Wakulla Springs, it is one of the most pristine in the world. Abundant with wildlife, osprey and eagle nest in the cypress trees in March, the manatees arrive in April, all to fill the summer with sightings till the fall.
3. The Florida Trail- The Florida Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest is certified as Florida National Scenic Trail. The entire length of the trail in the National Forest is also designated as part of the Florida Statewide Greenways and Trails System. This portion of the Florida Trail offers some of the most remote hiking areas available in the Florida.
4. State Parks- with O’leno being one of my favorite! ocated along the banks of the scenic Santa Fe River, a tributary of the Suwannee River, the park features sinkholes, hardwood hammocks, river swamps, and sandhills. As the river courses through the park, it disappears underground and reemerges over three miles away in the River Rise State Preserve. One of Florida’s first state parks, O’Leno was first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The suspension bridge built by the CCC still spans the river. Visitors can picnic at one of the pavilions or fish in the river for their dinner. Canoes and bicycles are available for rent. While hiking the nature trails, visitors can look for wildlife and enjoy the beauty of native plants. The shady, full-facility campground is the perfect place for a relaxing overnight stay.
Stay tuned for some of my other favorite Southern locations in upcoming blogs!