The Best Outdoor Activities in Florida
Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.
Swim and Cliff Jump at 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hike the Ancient Hammock Trail
Florida / Ancient Hammock Trailhead
This short, intermediate loop passes beneath huge and ancient trees, and is also a good spot for birding. At the T-intersection in the trail, turn left. Photo Credit: Houser and Larry Crovo
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Hike the Gator Hook Trail
Florida / Gator Hook Trailhead
This 5-mile swamp walk begins off of Loop Road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Catch the Sunset at Bean Point
Florida / Bean Point
Bean Point is the northernmost tip of Anna Maria Island.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hike the Lake Louisa State Park Trail
Florida / Louisa State Park Trail
This trail is accessible to hikers, cyclists, equestrians and dogs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kayak Camp on Panther Key
Florida / Panther Key
To reach Panther Key, kayaking and navigation of the tides and mangrove islands is a necessity.
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.
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.
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.
Kayak Round Island
Florida / Round Island
Florida receives plenty of attention from tourists, but rarely is it for its outdoor recreation.