Florida's year round temperate to tropical climate makes it a perfect place for outdoor adventure.
The state is bordered by 1,300 miles of saltwater coast. Its interior is bejeweled by 30,000 lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams.
Florida has an extensive state park system, along with national parks, local parks, and bike trails. There are limitless places for boating, fishing, or just plain beach combing and shell hunting.
Florida is made for enjoying the outdoors.
Here are some favorite outdoor things to do:
Horseback Riding on the Beach, Amelia Island
Babcock Ranch Ecotours, Punta Gorda
Florida Fish Camps, Various Locations
Ginnie Springs Outdoors, High Springs
Ichetucknee Inner Tube Trip, Fort White
Kayaking at Topsail Hill, Santa Rosa Beach
Paynes Prairie, Trails, Wildlife Viewing
Scalloping in the Gulf of Mexico, Various Locations
Sea Turtle Nesting Season, Indialantic
Withlacoochee State Trail, Inverness
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If you've ever dreamed of galloping through foamy surf on a fast horse, this adventure is for you.
Debbie Manser has been operating this unique attraction for more than 25 years. You call her and arrange to meet her and her horses at Peters Point Beachfront Park in Fernandina Beach.
She trailers the horses in from their stable close to Amelia Island.
Once you start riding on the beach, you will do so for one hour.
Debbie can accommodate 2 to 4 riders at one time, but with advanced notice can handle up to 6 riders.
Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours takes place on a working 92,000 acre ranch that is typical of what Old Florida was all about.
Florida has a historic tradition of having large cattle ranches, and this is one of them.
This is a ranch where you may see an endangered Florida panther in its wild home, and you will see the tough bulls and cows unique to Florida known as Cracker cattle.
The way you will see most of this ranch is on their Swamp Buggy Tour that takes an hour and a half
Florida’s fish camps provide a glimpse into what the state was like before the massive development that’s taken place in recent years.
With thousands of miles of coast line and numerous lakes and rivers, fish camps offer boat rentals, fishing gear, and in some cases, overnight lodging.
Some of them also provide catch and release experiences for the kids.
Ginnie Springs is a privately owned park that offers a lot of outdoor activities.
You can scuba dive, camp, go canoeing and kayaking, and enjoy the 200 acre natural Florida setting.
There are 90 full service campsites on the property, along with picnic tables, grills, and bathrooms to serve the campsites.
The water in the springs is crystal clear and even received the ultimate compliment from Jacques Cousteau, the father of SCUBA.
With its year-round good climate, Florida is a golfer’s paradise.
There are golf courses ranging from small public facilities to tournament quality private clubs.
No matter where in Florida’s 67 counties you find yourself, there is sure to be a golf course nearby.
Floating down the Ichetucknee River is a Florida tradition that spans many generations.
The crystal clear river flows 6 miles through shady natural hammocks and wetlands before it reaches the Santa Fe River.
There are several private concessions in addition to the public state park where inner tubes can be rented.
The tubing season is from the end of May until early September.
Topsail Hill is one of Florida’s natural treasures.
It includes miles of white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico with dunes more than 25 feet high. When you are in a boat offshore, the dunes resemble the sails of old square riggers.
It also features 3 rare coastal dune lakes. Visitors can canoe, kayak, or paddleboard on Campbell Lake or on the Gulf.
Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards can be rented at the park.
Hiking, Biking, Observing Wildlife
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a 22,000 acre ecosystem with a rich array of habitats including marshes, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks. It is located between Gainesville and Micanopy in North Central Florida.
The preserve is just north of Lake Wauburg and is crossed by I-75 and US-441, and is a U.S. National Natural Landmark. The visitor center is near Micanopy.
Scalloping season is usually July through September.
During season, thousands of people gather along the gulf coast from south of Steinhatchee up to the Carrabelle area.
Their fishing equipment consists of snorkel gear and buckets.
A saltwater fishing license is required to harvest the tasty little critters unless you wade into the shallow waters and feel for the animals with your feet and hands without using a mask or snorkel.
Florida has an abundant supply of beautiful sand beaches, and sea turtle nesting season is every year from May to October.
The mother turtles crawl up the beach to the dune line, dig holes in the sand, and lay their eggs.
Some experts say that sea turtles make 40,000 to 84,000 nests each year on Florida beaches.
A favorite place to observe this nesting activity is on Florida’s east coast.
The Sea Turtle Preservation Society is located near the center of this stretch in Indialantic near Melbourne Beach.
The Withlacoochee State Trail is a 46 mile long path on abandoned railroad tracks that follows a route roughly parallel to the nearby Withlacoochee River.
The path is now paved and is a great location to hike, bike (no motors), and skate.
It’s mostly flat so even geezers and out of shape people can enjoy it.
You can start the path at either end (north or south) or at one of the towns or villages along the route. One of the most interesting towns is Inverness.
There are stores along the route and restrooms too. There is also a bike repair and rental shop in Floral City.
Zip lining is another year-round outdoor activity made possible by Florida’s moderate climate.
Ziplines are found in many playgrounds and theme parks, and in Florida a large number of them are located in natural settings where you can soar through the treetops above natural settings.
There are even ziplines where you can soar safely above alligators and other wildlife.
Some of the ziplines are for beginners and others are more challenging obstacle courses.