Florida outdoors: 3 travel guides

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    Photo: Peter W. Cross for VISIT FLORIDA

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    More than 1,350 miles of coastline have made the Sunshine State notable for its never-ending beaches, but when it comes to enjoying the Florida outdoors, don’t limit yourself. Take some time to go inland, as well, to check out the state’s rugged wetlands, vast seas of sawgrass, and crystal-clear springs — all of which support postcard wildlife including alligators, manatees, and rare panthers.

    On your trip to experience the diversity of Florida’s landscapes, do it all — ride the Atlantic’s waves, but also ride horseback through pristine oak hammocks. Get in some beach time, but don’t neglect your mangrove time. Within the three regions profiled below, you’ll find all this and more, showcasing some of the very best this wild state has to offer.

    This guide is proudly produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA.

    Ocala

    Photo: VISIT FLORIDA

    In the heart of north-central Florida, Ocala’s rich history and unique topography are a dangerous combination for any too-short itinerary. From turquoise springs framed by serpentine live oak trunks to the state’s second-largest national forest, Ocala is the side of Florida you don’t often see in the glossies. And that’s fine, because you really should see it in person instead.


    Juniper Prairie Wilderness

    Tucked along the St. Johns River just west of Orange City, Blue Spring will transport you.

    Visit


    Ziplining over canyons

    Ziplining above Ocala means soaring through palm-thatched canopies…

    Visit

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    Martin County

    Photo: Peter W. Cross for VISIT FLORIDA

    Bookended by the calm waters of Lake Okeechobee and the frothy surf of the Atlantic, Martin County is a blend of sandy beaches, eco-adventures, and Old Florida charm. And that’s not even touching on the local arts, history, and nearly endless sunshine.


    Blowing Rocks Preserve

    This unexpected Florida landscape makes for a different kind of beach day…

    Visit


    Stand-up paddle boarding the Treasure Coast

    Hop aboard The Ohana Bus and get ready to SUP…

    Visit

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    Fort Lauderdale

    Photo: Peter W. Cross for VISIT FLORIDA

    It has postcard beaches, shipwrecks, and an extensive tangle of canals that give it the nickname “Venice of America” — Fort Lauderdale is worth a whole trip in itself. The wilds of the Everglades are in its backyard, but you don’t even have to go that far to find some serious adventure.


    Airboating through the Everglades

    These flat-bottom, fan-driven boats glide above the Everglades’ sawgrass-strewn wetlands…

    Visit


    Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

    Hugh Taylor Birch is to Fort Lauderdale what Central Park is to New York City…

    Visit


    Flamingo Gardens

    This property features more than 3,000 species of rare tropical and subtropical plants, along with the state’s largest collection of native wildlife…

    Visit

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    This guide is proudly produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA.

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