Florida is a beautiful country, graced with yearlong sunny skies, ocean breezes, subtropical foliage, and abundant wildlife. This southernmost continental state delivers a whole host of pure adventures on both water and land. There is certainly more to Florida than oranges and Walt Disney World, including luxury Florida RV camping hotels and adorable Florida campgrounds to get your road trip a terrific success.
The Gulf Islands National Seashore in Gulf Breeze stretches some 150 miles across the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline, from Pensacola, at Florida’s northwest border, to Davis Bayou and the barrier islands in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This federal saltwater treasure is a kaleidoscope of turquoise water, bright white sand dunes, seaside marshes, wooded nature trails, historic fortresses and archaeological sites which tell the long-ago tales of Native American people. Visitors are free to camp, hike, fish and swim on the gulf or Santa Rosa Sound. Beach-goers also have been known to talk about the park’s sandy terrain with these”locals” as diamondback terrapins, armadillos and sea turtles.
Florida’s huge, outdoor playground is available for all seasons and therefore are many Florida campgrounds which makes this nation a snowbird paradise.
The Emerald Coast Beaches in Navarre, Fort Walton, Destin, and Santa Rosa are shining examples of Northwest Florida’s gulf shore. Do not miss’em if you are in the region.
Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, the website of Florida’s only lighted tour cavern, is a Natural National Landmark. The highlight in this park is surely the ranger-guided tour of Florida Caverns and the explanations of its varied calcite formations – stalagmites, stalactites, columns and brimstones. But don’t fret about the geological terminology, there will not be a test afterwards. Needless to say, there are cave creatures to reckon with, such as many species of (gasp!) bats. However, the park also shelters some surprising species such as 200-pound alligators, snapping turtles, barred owls and beavers. The budding geologists on your team should enjoy the marine fossils embedded in the cave ceilings and walls that tell a fascinating tale of Florida Caverns’ ancient submerged beyond. When it is time to ascend into the park’s ground level, the selection of actions is delightfully well-rounded. Swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding and canoeing are easily available. The scenery consists of atypical vegetation such as orchids, flame azalea, columbine and various wildflowers, including a dash of colour to the excursion.
In north central Florida, travelers enter a universe of winding rivers, cold, freshwater springs, and refreshing, green woods. The Ichetucknee River in Fort White is a popular place for tubing; a laidback, solo solution to whitewater rafting. Grab an inner tube, recline, and push off into a leisurely present (about 1 mph). In Ichetucknee Springs, the crystal-clear river is fed with multiple springs which supply an amazing daily influx of 233 million gallons of water. And tubers can not help but”chill out” as the river registers a bracing, yearlong temperature of 72? F. Tubing trips at Ichetucknee are almost effortless because there are shuttle buses between authorized launching and take-out points.
Small streams tumble down the steep slopes of the sinkhole, disappearing through cracks in the bottom. Regrettably, the sinkhole’s contents, in the kind of seashells, sharks’ teeth, and fossilized animal relics, have contributed geologists invaluable clues to Florida’s natural history. Visitors are afforded views of the sinkhole from boardwalks, stairways, or by a nature trail on the top rim. The interior of Devil’s Millhopper features little streams rushing down its sheer walls and lush plant development, like ferns and orchids, that resemble Appalachian mountain foliage.
Head east on your Florida travel, and you will be rewarded by a region that provides beautiful Atlantic beaches, quiet salt marshes and scores of graceful shorebirds. Take Little Talbot and Big Talbot Islands at Fort George, for example, only 17 miles from Jacksonville via a series of bridges. As close as they are into the”big city,” those isles offer a refreshing sense of escape from civilization. Even better, they provide convenient oceanside parking for your RV and effortless boardwalk access to five miles of unspoiled Atlantic beaches. Besides researching sandy shores, flowering deserts, marshes, and maritime forests, Talbot’s visitors immediately take to such activities as swimming, shelling, saltwater fishing, boating, biking, or horseback riding. The Talbots protector nearly 200 species of birds and aquatic creatures; gopher tortoises, river otters, and occasional bobcats are still a few of these.
Anastasia State Recreation Area, a barrier island east of St. Augustine, is one of Florida’s finest and busiest coastal parks, so we urge when staying in a Florida campground nearby you make reservations beforehand. It offers all of the beach blanket principles – a coastal shore, rolling waves, scenic dunes, a lagoon, tidal marshes and sea meadows. Additionally, it provides opportunities to swim, kayak, fish, or learn the art of windsurfing. For people who simply want a small R&R, visit the designated picnic area surrounded by ancient, and somewhat unusual, pine trees slowly bleached and twisted by the salty sea winds. Do not overlook the wildflowers, nature paths, magnolia trees and interesting creatures to behold: red-shouldered hawks, swallowtail butterflies, sea turtles, screech owls and Anastasia’s own beach mouse – which make this place unique.
Heading south you will find Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville. It was set up nearly four years ago through a cooperative effort between NASA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River to the west, this subtropical locale provides a pleasing mix of ancient oak hammocks, sandy dunes, salt marshes, mangroves, ocean shores and piney woods. The refuge is a significant winter home not just for legions of migrating birds, but indigenous sandpipers, ibises, and wood storks. For visitors who would prefer to catch their own dinner, shrimping, crabbing, clamming, freshwater or surf-fishing and/or controlled waterfowl hunting are allowed at Merritt Island.
Scores of endangered native and migratory birds call the area home. Visitors who arrive by kayak, canoe, or boat tour visit jet-black anhingas and assorted kinds of herons, egrets, ibises and terns. The lucky folks may catch a glimpse of any one of four kinds of sea turtles and endangered manatees, which occasionally linger at Pelican’s peaceful refuge. The 1903 introduction of this island’s protected status indicated the momentous start of the total National Wildlife Refuge System.
When tourists proceed west to the heart of Florida, they enter a property of freshwater lakes, dense woodlands, and bubbling springs. Ocala National Forest is the southernmost national forest in the continental U.S. and also the earliest such woods established east of the Mississippi River. This lively destination has much to offer, such as hundreds of sparkling lakes, springs and two important rivers – the Ocklawaha and the St. Johns – with every offering ample opportunities for swimming, boating and angling. Snorkeling enthusiasts surely can not withstand the transparent waters and amazing aquatic viewpoints in Ocala’s chilly springs, can they? After all, there is over 430,000 acres to pay, so you may want to leave yourself a little time to research. When you do, you might happen upon black bears, bald eagles and other rare species rarely seen outside the boundaries of Ocala National Forest.
Paddling canoe trails, horseback riding, and hiking on Florida’s National Scenic Trail are also popular pastimes and lots of Florida RV camping hotels provide resort packages that include these activities and much more with your stay in their campground.
The wooded terrain around Lake Kissimmee in Lake Wales was once the homeland of Native Americans that were attracted to the area because of its bounty of fish, plants and animals. Today’s travelers look equally eloquent, especially those who prefer to hike, ride horse, ship fish or about Florida’s third largest lake. Trophy bass are plentiful in its own waters.
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park invites visitors to learn firsthand about Florida’s native creatures in a natural setting. The park’s centerpiece, Homosassa Springs, is a 45-foot profound, 72? F headspring pumping millions of gallons of water per hour to the scenic Homosassa River. The spring itself is home to over 30 species of fish. The adjoining wildlife park presents interactive animal displays, an indoor nursery for baby alligators and crocodiles, and special ranger programs designed to introduce participants to Florida’s population of birds, reptiles and manatees. Visitors can practically rub elbows with gentle manatees in the underwater observatory.
The Myakka River near Sarasota delivers natural experiences on one of Florida’s finest”wild and scenic” waterways. And for guests who prefer a guided tour, Myakka’s refuge could be looked at from narrated tram and airboat tours.
Florida’s southwest region provides world-renowned shelling, island getaways and shining Gulf coast sunsets. J.N.”Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is the most obvious example of enduring local conservation efforts. Based on the season of birth, refuge guests may see a colorful songbird, splashing otter or lounging crocodile. The informative, self-guided Wildlife Drive tour could be completed on foot, by bicycle or vehicle. Suggested stops are marked with wooden signs and volunteer interpreters are available to answer questions.
The Everglades National Park, North America’s only subtropical preserve, is a 1.5 million-acre”sea of grass” in the southern tip of southern Florida. It is a place where Caribbean plants and animals coexist in a curious mixture of swamps full of cypress and mangroves, saw grass prairies, pine and hardwood trees. 1 third of the park’s acreage is truly underwater, such as Florida Bay which borders the park, much to the delight of canoeists. Drier park pursuits include biking; ranger-led trail walks or tram tours; and wildlife-watching for manatees, alligators, crocodiles, evasive Florida panthers, over 300 varieties of birds, as well as the Everglades’ most prolific species, mosquitoes.
For the marine species that reside there, the park showcases and protects the only living coral reef in the continental United States. A high-speed, glass-bottom catamaran is the best way to see the sights (narrated, also ). Otherwise, grab a snorkel and a few fins. Scuba dive or paddle a”spyak” (a customized kayak with a large, transparent viewing floor) for a much closer look.
Bahia Honda State Park, in Big Pine Key’s mile marker 37, is an eye-appealing island jewel with sandy beaches, waving palms, and bright blue waters that ripple onshore in the Atlantic Ocean into Florida Bay. Besides boasting a number of the Key’s best swimming, fishing and snorkeling beaches, Bahia Honda has rolling dunescapes, mangrove forests and tropical hardwood hammocks.