With a large number of cheap Florida flights available, thousands of tourists are flocking to the Sunshine State to enjoy the great outdoors and gorgeous weather. Here are some unmissable activities for adventure seekers.
Florida’s abundant rivers, lakes, springs, swamps, and coastal areas offer an array of opportunities for water sports. Everglades National Park is the perfect location for lovers of outdoor pursuits, where visitors can sail, dive, snorkel, canoe and kayak. Remember to watch out for dolphins, sea turtles, ospreys and eagles as you sail through the lush Everglades landscapes.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea park in the United States, covering approximately 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangrove swamps. Divers from around the world visit the Park to explore the living coral reefs and can join a snorkelling tour organised on a personal or group basis.
From the end of May until early September, many people head to the springs to do river tubing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park. You can either rent a tube from the vendors or bring your own tube-bigger than 5 feet in diameter- and float freely down the natural river. River tubing is also available at the Blackwater River State Park, Blue Spring State Park and the Rainbow Springs State Park.
Hiking is an excellent way to explore the biodiversity and cultural treasures of Florida. With 161 state parks scattered across from Pensacola to Key West, visitors are spoilt for choice of where go. The varied terrain and diverse ecological system provides hikers, of all skill levels, unique opportunities for adventure and experience of the natural beauty of the Sunshine State.
Florida National Scenic Trail is another popular destination for visitors seeking outdoor recreation. It is approximately 1,300-miles long and begins on the edge of the Everglades ecosystem in Big Cypress National Preserve, ending in the white sands of Gulf Islands National Seashore at historic Fort Pickens. Visit the Florida Trail Association for a list of hiking routes, useful resources and updates of trail closures and notices.
Why not have fun riding on two wheels as you explore the downtowns, neighbourhoods, and forests in Florida? The state is a designated cycling environment, ranging from rural road with little traffic to densely urbanized cities. While lakes and parks offer easy riding, hills and valleys provide more challenge terrain.
The Polk County, also known as the Cycling Capital of Florida, has a number of cycling trails. The Van Fleet State Trail stretches 29 miles north to Mabel and wanders through dense forests full of oaks that are at least 300 years old. Mountain bikers will like the 7-mile Loyce Harpe Park Trail built on an old phosphate mining land.
Those who are looking to really push themselves can take part in the Everglades National Park Tamiami Trail Triathlon. The triathlon involves cycling a 15-mile loop road from the Shark Valley Visitor Center, hiking a 3-mile loop trail from the Oasis Visitor Centre, and canoeing or kayaking a 3.5-mile route from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City. You can take complete the triathlon at any time of the year if you’re up to the challenge!
Remember to consider some of these fantastic outdoor adventures when you next head to Florida for holiday.