The Best Outdoor Activities in Florida

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Swim and Cliff Jump at Madison Blue Springs

Florida / Madison Blue Springs State Park

This natural spring is easily one of the best hidden gems in Florida. The pool of water is crystal clear for swimming, scuba-diving, and jumping in from off on a cliff to the side.

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Swim at Ginnie Springs

Florida / Ginnie Springs Outdoors Campground

A few hours north and many worlds away from Disney, the Santa Fe River winds its way through the woods of north central Florida, headed for the Suwannee River. This is the real Florida.

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Snorkel at Ichetucknee Blue Hole

Florida / Blue Hole Spring Trail

At Ichetucknee Springs State Park, there are 2 main entrances - to get to Blue Hole (aka Jug Hole), go to the NORTH entrance. This is also where the main headspring is.

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Kayak Extreme Emerald Cut

Florida / King's Landing, Apopka

Start at King's Landing. Here you can either drop your own kayaks in or choose to rent. Kayak/Canoe rentals are $30 for the day.

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Kayak the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels

Florida / South Lido Mangrove Tunnels

Before entering South Lido County Park, take a left turn on Taft Drive for the kayak launch area. Parking is available at the end of the road.

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Exploring the Ruins of Fort Dade

Florida / Egmont Key State Park

Egmont Key Sate Park is only accessibly by boat, so be sure to book ahead if you need a ride.

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Cave Dive at Ginnie Springs

Florida / Ginnie Springs Outdoors Campground

Nestled on the banks of the Santa Fe River, at the end of a long country road, six springs add a burst of clear water to the dark, winding river.

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Camp and Explore Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida / Key West Ferry Terminal

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote National Parks you can visit. Located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, FL it is accessible via commercial ferry, sea plane, or private boat.

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Explore Guana State Park & Wild Life Preserve

Florida / Guana State Park Trailhead

From the parking lot, which has a $3 entrance fee per car, you walk to the trail head and grab a small pocket sized map that does a good job of showing markers and mapping out the different path ways.

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Kayak & Swim with Manatees at Three Sisters Spring

Florida / Hunter Springs Park

When the ocean becomes too cold for the manatees, they take refuge in the 70 degree water at Three Sisters Spring.

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Bike through Shark Valley

Florida / Shark Valley Visitor Center

The Shark Valley loop allows you to experience a peaceful bike ride and close encounters with wildlife found in the Everglades.

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Paddle to Cypress Spring

Florida / Cotton Landing

Starting at Cotton Landing, you paddle about a quarter of a mile downstream until you encounter the spring run to the right/north.

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Catch a Sunset at the Naples Pier

Florida / Naples Pier

If you're like me then you probably spend a fair amount of time chasing the setting sun around.

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Snorkel at Blue Heron Bridge

Florida / Phil Foster Park

Phil Foster Park has a large parking lot, but on weekends or during peak hours looking for a spot can get competitive, so leave yourself a little extra time to meet your target "in the water" time.

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Hike to Dames Cave

Florida / Dames Cave Trailhead

28.709378°, -82.451328° Dames Cave (aka Vandal Cave) are mostly locally known, so finding the trail head is the hardest thing to do.

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Camp on Amelia Island

Florida / Peter's Point, Amelia Island

Amelia Island is a small island near Fernandina Beach, Florida, and is one of the few places left where you can camp right on the beach for free.

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Hike to Devil's Millhopper

Florida / Devil's Millhopper Trailhead

Follow the paved path starting at the interpretive center. At the T-junction turn right, heading into the forest.

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Hike the Ancient Hammock Trail

Florida / Ancient Hammock Trailhead

Highlands Hammock State Park is one of the best places in all of Florida! There are multiple trails to choose from, but if you want to see ancient oak trees in a quintessential swamp then the Ancient.

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Hike the Wekiwa Springs Loop

Florida / Wekiwa Springs Trailhead

This is a pleasant hike with varied terrain, good for families and dogs. There are a number of adjoining trails so you can adjust your route. Photo Credit: Rain0975

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Beach Day at Blackrock Beach on Big Talbot Island

Florida / Blackrock Beach Trailhead

Venturing along the industrialized highway leading to Big Talbot Island will have one wondering how there could be any hope for a natural experience on the outskirts of Jacksonville.

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Kayak Camp on the East Cape, FL

Florida / Flamingo Marina

Camp along a 3 mile stretch of untouched old Florida. Not only is this the real southernmost point in the continental US (the Keys are islands), but you will most likely have it to yourself.

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Camp on Fakahatchee Island

Florida / Fakahatchee Island

From Tamiami Trail, 5.2 miles west of Highway 29, turn left on the unmarked road. You will be able to leave you car here and launch.

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Hike the Sinkhole Trail

Florida / Sinkhole Trailhead

This boardwalk trail passes by a number of sinkholes, leading ultimately to the most known attraction, Falling Waters Sink, a sinkhole with a waterfall dropping into it.

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Camp at Cape Canaveral National Seashore

Florida / Cape Canaveral National Seashore

What could be better than laying on soft sand, listening to the crashing waves, and gazing at Florida's best sun and stars?  Cape Canaveral National Seashore has 14 primitive campsites, with only two.

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Swim with Manatees in Blue Spring State Park

Florida / Blue Spring State Park

Located near Orange City, Florida, Blue Spring State Park is the largest spring on St. Johns River.

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Hike to Big Shoals via Florida Trail

Florida / Florida Trailhead

From the Bell Springs Trailhead, take the unmarked access road into the forest, where it meets with Florida Trail (blue blazes). Hop onto the Florida Trail.

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Hike the Gator Hook Trail

Florida / Gator Hook Trailhead

This 5-mile swamp walk begins off of Loop Road.

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Mountain Bike at Markham Park

Florida / Markham Park Mountain Bike Trails

I was very impressed with the mountain bike trails at Markham Park. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we were hesitant at first but quickly warmed up to the trails.

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Camp at Alexander Springs

Florida / Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Alexander Springs Recreation Area is an incredible natural area that provides something for any adventure seeker to love.

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Kayak to Shell Island, Florida

Florida / Fort Island Trail Boat Launch

Take Fort Island Park Rd (Hwy 44) all the way until it dead-ends, it will end at Fort Island Park. The park also has a sandy entrance for paddle or small crafts to the left of the main boat ramp.

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Hike the Turtle Mound Trail

Florida / Turtle Mound Trail at Canaveral National Seashore

After first entering Canaveral National Seashore, this is the stop of many hiking options in the park. We walked in toward Mosquito Lagoon and found three well spaced picnic tables and two paths.

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Visit St. Marks Lighthouse

Florida / St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse

There are multiple out-and-back and loop hikes in this wildlife refuge, but the main attraction is the lighthouse along the Gulf Coast.

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Photograph a Gulf Coast Sunset at Clearwater Beach

Florida / Pier 60, Clearwater Beach

If you find yourself near the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg areas, I highly recommend taking a trip out to Clearwater Beach.

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Hike the La Chua Trail

Florida / La Chua Trail Head

Located in Gainesville, FL this easy to moderate trail is approximately 3.1 miles round trip. Approximately a quarter of the trail is an elevated boardwalk that is handicapped accessible.

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Hike the Wilderness Preserve Trail

Florida / St. Joseph Peninsula Parking

Parking is open and free for all designated spots within the state park. At the end of the parking area, there is a gate with a large brown sign. This sign reads "St.

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Hike the Alafia River State Park Trail

Florida / Alafia State Park Trailhead

The Alafia Trail is a 3.6 mile loop is a very scenic way to get your heart pumping. The bright and lush vegetation will keep you intrigued all along the way.

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Camp at Clubhouse Beach

Florida / Flamingo Visitors Center, FL

Head west from the Flamingo marina and hug the shoreline for about 4 miles (25.130287, -81.039099). Once you see an opening in the mangroves and there is sand visible you have hit your spot.

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Hike to Falling Creek Falls

Florida / Falling Creek Falls Trailhead

The hike starts out in a meadow before heading into the forest. Continue past the junction at 0.2 miles. The boardwalk takes you through the floodplain forest.

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Beach Day at Bahia Honda SP

Florida / Bahia Honda State Park

When you arrive at Bahia Honda you will have to pay an entrance fee which is usually by the carload if I remember correctly.

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Hike Little Talbot Island's Dune Ridge Trail

Florida / Little Talbot Island Visitor Center

Starting in the parking, lot you are going to follow the road back to the ranger station and from there you can pick up the Dune Ridge trailhead.

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Hike the Flatwoods Trail

Florida / Flatwoods Trailhead

It is advised to first stop at the Main Graywood State Park Entrance and get a trailmap from the rangers. To access the trail, park at the pulloff on E Co Hwy 30A across from Old Miller Pl.

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Hike the Morris Bridge Park Loop

Florida / Morris Bridge

The Morris Bridge Trail is a 14.4 mile loop of endless swampy intrigue. Experience deep Florida Nature from well-kept trails.

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Hike Ahinga Trail

Florida / Ahinga Trailhead

The Everglades National Park is a superb spot for viewing wading birds and alligators off an easy paved path. There are a number of observation decks along the way, off of the main path.

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Hike through the Econ River Wilderness Area

Florida / Econ River Wilderness Area

The Econ River Wilderness Trail is a largely unnoticed section of preserved land, although it is just 1.5 miles away from University of Central Florida and nestled between residential communities.

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Catch a Sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor

Florida / Ft Zachary Taylor Parking Area

Although small, there is still one untouched secret location in Key West where you can escape all the herd following tourists. Not much in life is more picture perfect and memorable than a sunset.

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Catch the Sunset at Bean Point

Florida / Bean Point

Bean Point is the northernmost tip of Anna Maria Island.

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Hike Castle Windy Trail at Canaveral National Seashore

Florida / Castle Windy Trailhead

Park across the road from the trailhead and visit the Atlantic ocean before crossing onto the Castle Windy Trail. The trail is shaded and a breeze is ever-present.

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Paddle the Hillsborough River Wilderness Preserve

Florida / John B Sargeant Parking Area

Start at John B Sargeant State Park--they do have a $2 parking fee. There is a canoe rental and shuttle service on site called Canoe Escape. They do have kayaks as well.

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Catch the Sunrise at Rod & Reel Pier

Florida / Rod & Reel Pier

With a pier stretching 100 feet into Tampa Bay, the Rod & Reel Pier is the perfect spot to be for sunrise.

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Hike the Lettuce Lake Regional Park Loop

Florida / Lettuce Lake Loop Trailhead

The Lettuce Lake Regional loop is a short and sweet 1.2 mile hike appropriate for all ages.

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Walk the Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades NP

Florida / Everglades National Park

Located a short drive off the main drag to the Flamingo Visitor Centre (and only a few hours from Miami) this short boardwalk through a lush Mahogany and Gumbo-Limbo plants is an easy walk for famili.

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Camp at Princess Place Preserve

Florida / Princess Place Preserve

Princess Place Preserve is very easy to find and offers a variety of activities. You can visit the historic landmarks, ride down the equestrian trails, go kayaking, etc.

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Swim at Blue Springs Park

Florida / Blue Springs Park

Blue Springs Park is a privately owned property that encompasses a few springs along the Santa Fe River, you can learn more here.

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Hike the Orlando Wetlands Loop

Florida / Orlando Wetlands Parking

Start in the parking area off of Wheeler road in Orlando Wetlands State Park. Follow the signs for the Orlando Wetlands Loop.

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Take a Sunrise Stroll around Matheson Hammock

Florida / Matheson Hammock

Matheson Hammock is a beautiful park in the heart of one of the oldest sections of Miami, just off of Old Culter Road.  This is far off the tourist map which is mostly confined to South Beach.

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Snorkel at Sombrero Reef

Florida / Marathon Public Boat Ramp

Sombrero Reef is a coral reef 8 miles offshore from Key Colony Beach. Launch your private boat from the free 33rd Street Public Boat Ramp or book a catamaran tour from Marathon.

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Hike the Lake Louisa State Park Trail

Florida / Louisa State Park Trail

This trail is accessible to hikers, cyclists, equestrians and dogs.

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Paddle the Weeki Wachee River

Florida / Weeki Wachee Spring

The Weeki Wachee River begins its 7.4-mile journey at the world famous Weeki Wachee spring.

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Hike through Shark Valley

Florida / Shark Valley Visitor Center

I would like to preface this adventure by saying that if you prefer to bike Shark Valley, please reference Rob Witt's adventure "Bike through Shark Valley".

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Hike the Hanna Park Loop

Florida / Hanna Park Parking Area

Park in the parking lot and make your way onto the trail. Follow the signs to complete the loop around the park. You may be sharing the trail with (leashed) dogs and mountain bikers.

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Hike the Balm Boyette Scrub Loop

Florida / Balm Boyette Scrub Trailhead

The Boyette Scrub Loop trail is 9.2 miles long and not densely populated, though it is shared by hikers, runners, and cyclists.

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Wildlife Photography at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

Florida / Blackpoint Wildlife Dr.

If you are looking for a place to capture images of wildlife, especially birds, then the Merritt Island Refuge is the place to go.

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Hike the Kitching Creek Loop in Jonathan Dickinson SP

Florida / Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Jonathan Dickinson State Park has 3 main trails, the East Loop Trail (9.8 miles), Hobe Mountain Trail (0.4 miles), and the Kitching Creek Loop (7.5 miles).

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Hike Big Cypress National Preserve Loop

Florida / Florida Trail I-75 North Trailhead

First, you'll arrive at the Collier County Rest Area (26.1674944,-81.0806947) off of the Everglades Parkway.

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Kayak Camp in Canaveral National Seashore

Florida / Parking Lot #7 Eldora Road loop, Canaveral National Seashore

Drive South on Atlantic Avenue in New Smyrna Beach until you see the guard shack. Pay the $5 entrance fee. Parking area #7 is a good place to start.

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Paddle the 9 Mile Pond Canoe Trail

Florida / 9 Mile Pond, Florida

If you only do one thing in the Everglades, I highly recommend canoeing through the mangrove and lake meadows of 9 mile pond.

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Run or Bike the West Orange Trail

Florida / West Orange Trailhead

Park at the Killarney Station where you can find the West Orange Trail trailhead. Enjoy as much of the 12.7 miles of paved trail as you like.

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Hike Holmes Beach

Florida / Holmes Beach

With a 3 miles stretch of fine, delicate sand along the Gulf of Mexico, Holmes Beach is an ideal setting for a shore hike.

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Stroll along the Mahogany Hammock Trail

Florida / Mahogany Hammock Trailhead

Parking is available right next to the trailhead. Hop onto the boardwalk for a 0.5 mile hike through the Florida everglades. The boardwalk takes you across marshes and dense foliage.

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Paddle The Everglades' Wilderness Waterway

Florida / Wilderness Waterway - North

The Wilderness Waterway in the Everglades National Park can be navigated either by kayak or canoe. This is an endurance voyage that typically takes upwards of 10 days if you are solo-canoeing.

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Take a Stroll on the Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook Trail

Florida / Pa-hay-okee Trailhead

Park at the trailhead and hop onto the boardwalk trail. Its very short--just 0.2 miles, so take your time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

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Paddle the St. Johns River from East Orlando

Florida / St. Johns River (E. Orlando)

Paddling along the St. Johns river is the perfect relaxing escape that lets you see the real Florida.  Bring your Kayak, Canoe, or SUP to explore on one of the few rivers worldwide that flows North.

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Camp at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Florida / Kissimmee Prairie Preserve Campground Entrance

Sweeping views of open sky and vast palmetto prairies greet  visitors as they drive along the park drive.

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Stroll around the Lake Underhill Park Loop

Florida / Lake Underhill Park

Park in the lot and head out either direction for an easy loop around the lake.

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Hike Little Manatee River Loop

Florida / Little Manatee River Loop

This 6.5 mile trailhead is actually located outside the main entrance, just north of the river off of US 301 S.

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Run the Cypress Grove Park Loop

Florida / Cypress Grove Park Parking Area

Park in the Cypress Grove Park parking area, hop onto the trail and go either direction. Enjoy the stunning views of the estate, the lake, and the towering trees.

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Photograph Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Florida / Homosassa Springs

Homosassa Spring State parks showcases native Florida wildlife including the manatees which can be seen from an underwater observatory in the main spring.

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Bike the Beaches of Saint Augustine

Florida / Saint Augustine Beach Parking

Park at one of the many beach parking lots to the north of downtown St Augustine. A great place to start is the parking lot at the corner of 1st Lane and the A1A.

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Kayak Camp on Panther Key

Florida / Panther Key

To reach Panther Key, kayaking and navigation of the tides and mangrove islands is a necessity.

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Kayak the Estero River at Koreshan State Park

Florida / Estero River Kayak Launch in Koreshan State Park

Go to the Koreshan State Park. The fee is $5 per car + $4 to access the boat ramp.

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Hike the Bear-N-Oak Trail to Indian Lake

Florida / Bear-N-Oak Trailhead

The adventure begins at the main trailhead and parking area for The Bear-N-Oak hiking trail. Located on the East side of County Rd 35 just north of Baseline and Hwy 326 intersection.

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Hike through Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Florida / Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is over 125 acres of wetlands and ponds that were created to help improve the quality of water contained in the Paynes Prairie wetlands and the Florida aquifer.

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Hike the Gobbler Ridge Trail

Florida / Gobbler Ridge Trailhead

I'm not sure why this trail is called Gobbler Ridge. I do understand the Gobbler part as there are wild turkeys in the park.

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Hike the Christian Point Trail

Florida / Christian Point Trailhead

The trail begins as a boardwalk through the mangrove forest. In 0.1 miles you enter into a prairie, before skipping back in and out of a stretch of forest to a larger prairie.

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Hike the Buster Island Loop

Florida / Buster Island Trailhead

The Buster Island Loop hike is the longest hike in the park at 6.7 miles. It is completely flat and easy hike that goes through a varied landscape.

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Kayak Round Island

Florida / Round Island

Florida receives plenty of attention from tourists, but rarely is it for its outdoor recreation.

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Frisbee Golf at Easterlin Park

Florida / Easterlin Park

Easterlin Park's 18-hole disk golf is the perfect balance of challenge and fun for all skill levels. And it is FREE.

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Hike the St. Francis Yellow Trail

Florida / St. Francis Trailhead

All of the pictures were taken during the epic collaboration between The Outbound Collective and The North Face in the Basecamp Orlando event.

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Watch the Sunrise at the Deering Estate People's Dock

Florida / Deering Estate People's Dock

The Deering Estate is a magnificent and historic property with a home built in 1900.  To see the house and check out its immediate property, you will need to pay to enter the gates.

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Hike the Florida Scrub Nature Trail at Archbold Research Station

Florida / Archbold Biological Station

The Archbold Research station has plenty to see as they have a visitor center with exhibits, but the main attraction for me is the great nature trail that takes you through a very unique habitat call.

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