We left the sunny wetlands behind, as the current on the Ichetucknee river pushed us forward into a dark tunnel of cypress trees. They stretched upwards, so tall they seemed to join each other at their tips, blotting out the winter sky. Bright orange foliage poked between the bleached white trunks. Gnarled stumps jutted from the rich soil. Nature’s art, worn smooth from years of river flooding. Turtles perched on half-submerged logs, stretching their legs out in a ‘plank’ pose. And schools of fish dashed beneath our kayaks, their bodies silvery flashes over the pools of turquoise on the limestone riverbed. It was us and the river. The only sounds were the swish of our paddles stirring the water and the birds in the trees.
Take a dive beneath the water at Salt Springs, a unique swimming hole in the Ocala National Forest.
A huge black winged bird swooped across our path and landed neatly on the picnic table in front of us. The ebony reptilian rolls around the bird’s neck jiggled as the creature leaned forward and peered into the blue and white striped canvas sack standing on the table top. I watched with a mixture of horror and fascination as the animal I recognized to be a turkey vulture, stuck his glossy beak into the bag and pulled out a piece of bread.
“Mom, do something,” my son urged.
Swarming bees, snakes, gators and legendary lost pirate gold. We started our day headed to the beach, and one turn in the road led us on an accidental adventure into Florida’s wilder side.
With the Florida beaches already teeming with college students, what is a family in Florida left to do? Sure you can fight the Frisbee games for your spot of sand, or join the throngs at a theme park for a 3 minute ride, but it’s no secret that we would rather be doing than waiting in a line. With that in mind, we came up with a list of alternative ways to spend your spring break in Florida.
Ditch those busy Florida beach destinations and rediscover the real side of Florida, where life is slower, ice cream parlors on the main street are the hot-spots, flip-flops are the main footwear and fishing poles are trendy. Here are the best Florida coastal towns your whole family will love.
A gator spotted us and ducked beneath the surface as we rounded a bend and gracefully curved onto the Spring Garden Creek. The airboat skimmed neatly over the weeds and water plants along the narrowing channel to Lake Woodruff, and it felt like flying- but without an airplane…
Some places are worth the extra effort, and to discover the secret gems of Poe Springs, you have to go the extra half-mile. A long winding boardwalk takes you under a canopy of leafy green and to a hidden freshwater spring…
5 paddle trips, 1 county in Florida. Explore the unique waterways of Marion County in North Central Florida with these 5 paddling adventures worth taking.
Hidden on Florida’s Nature Coast in Levy County, the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve is a 431 acre wildlife refuge, park and haven located on highway 40. Most people fly by the gravel road entrance, but those that dare take the turn will find themselves in for a pleasant surprise…