20 Must-Do Adventures in Florida

    By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

    Explore everything the Sunshine State has to offer.

    Full of natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and plentiful opportunities for camping, biking, hiking, and paddling, Florida is an adventure-lovers paradise. Don't believe me? Here is just a small taste of what Florida has to offer:

    South Florida & The Keys

    Camp and Explore Dry Tortugas National Park

    Adventure by Jess Curren

    It takes a bit of effort to visit Dry Tortuga National Park, located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, but it's worth every second of planning to experience this spectacular island. Camping, snorkeling, a historic fort, and an unbelievable night sky for stargazing are just a few of the reasons to make the trek.

    Paddle the 9 Mile Pond Canoe Trail

    Adventure by Jess Curren

    Explore the watery meadows of Everglades National Park with this iconic paddle through mangroves to 9 Mile Pond. Start your journey at Flamingo Visitor Center, where you can rent a canoe from the on-site concessionaire. If you are enchanted by the beauty of the Everglades—it's hard not to be!—extend your visit by camping at one of Flamingo's two campgrounds.

    Watch the Sunrise at the Deering Estate People's Dock

    Adventure by Christian Murillo

    Think Miami is all glittery shopping areas and nightclubs? Think again. The waters of Biscayne Bay provide a beautiful palette for the colors of sunrise, and there is no better place to catch it than from the People's Dock at historic Deering Estate. Accessing the dock is free; exploring the rest of the beautiful estates grounds requires an admission fee.

    Mountain Bike at Markham Park

    Adventure by Jess Curren

    Mountain bikers of all skill levels with find something to ride at Markham Park in Sunrise. Markham Park's looped series of trails includes options for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders, as well as some built features and flow trails. The park itself also has a dog park, campground, target range, and running trails.

    Kayak the Estero River at Koreshan State Park

    Adventure by Charlotte Smith

    See southern Florida from a new angle with a canoe on the Estero River in Koreshan State Park. The Estero River is a calm tidal waterway that leads from the park to the Estero Bay. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent on-site. Keep an eye out to spot river otters, alligators, and often in the winter, manatees.

    Hike the Florida Scrub Nature Trail at Archbold Research Station

    Adventure by Alexis Triana

    Archbold Research Station in Venus is dedicated to studying and sharing the scientific knowledge needed to conserve Florida's biodiversity and foster stewardship of natural ecosystems. In addition to a visitor center with exhibits, Archbold has unique white sand trails that wind through beautiful Florida scrub. The Scrub Lookout is particularly lovely spot to watch the sunset.

    Camp at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

    Adventure by Keith Curry-Pochy

    Get away from it all with a visit to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida's first designated Dark Sky Park. Home to one of the last remaining tracts of Florida's dry palmetto prairie, Kissimmee Prairie offers trails for biking and hiking, wildlife and bird watching, and a campground for staying overnight to check out that epic night sky. If there is a rocket launch happening from an east coast space center, you'll be able to see it from here, too.

    Central Florida

    Hike the Buster Island Loop

    Adventure by John Maurizi

    Lake Kissimmee State Park is known for it's living history demonstrations in their 1876-era cowboy camp, but there is plenty more to explore. Hike the 6.7-mile Buster Island Loop for an incredible look at Florida's biodiversity, or hop in a kayak or canoe and paddle the 10-mile Buster Island Paddling Trail. Camping is available on-site, too.

    Wildlife Photography at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

    Adventure by Sophie Lamarche

    Bird lovers and families won't want to miss the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive through Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Brevard County. This 7-mile, one-way drive can take as little as 40 minutes and as long as a full day, if you're really keeping your eyes trained through your binoculars. A self-guided brochure is available near the drive entrance. Look for shorebirds and raptors on the wing, and alligators, wading birds, river otters, and bobcats on land and water.

    Hike Castle Windy Trail at Canaveral National Seashore

    Adventure by Yvonne Levesque

    The 0.8-mile Castle Windy Trail at Canaveral National Seashore tunnels through the coastal hammock landscape from the Atlantic Ocean to Mosquito Lagoon, traversing the entire barrier island. This shaded trail is a great place to escape from the heat, but Mosquito Lagoon is aptly named—be sure to pack bug spray! 

    Paddle the St. Johns River from East Orlando

    Adventure by Christian Murillo

    Explore the heart of Central Florida on kayak, canoe, or standup paddle board with a trip on the St. Johns River. Located just 45 minutes from downtown Orlando, this paddle is a quiet escape from the crowds and bustle of the city. The flow of the St Johns River is gentle, making this the perfect experience for beginner and experienced paddlers alike.

    Bike the Clearwater Causeways

    Adventure by Chloe Donlan

    Beaches, bridges, ocean views, and wildlife sightings await on a bike of the Clearwater Causeways near downtown Tampa. Bring your binoculars to watch for dolphins, birds, turtles, and stingrays, and bring your wallet to stop at one of the tempting restaurants and coffee shops along the route. There are plenty of opportunities to access the beach, too!

    Paddle Silver Springs State Park

    Adventure by Dave Miller

    Silver Springs State Park's artesian springs are some of the biggest in the world. Experience them either by taking a tour on one of the park's famous glass bottomed boats, or rent a canoe or kayak and ply the waters yourself. The park also has hiking trails, camping, equestrian trails, and mountain bike trails.

    Camp at Alexander Springs

    Adventure by Christian Murillo

    An hour and a half north of Orlando lies the Ocala National Forest, where you'll find plentiful hiking trails and beautiful Alexander Springs, the only spring in the forest that allows scuba diving. Strap on your scuba gear if that's your pleasure, or just take a dip in the crystal clear, 72 degree water. Nearby, campsites await for a quiet night in a shady oak and palm forest.

    Snorkel & Dive at Devil's Den

    Adventure by Allison Foyles

    Devil's Den may sound ominous, but don't let that scare you off. This underground spring is a welcome retreat from a hot Florida day, and its cool waters are refreshing year round. Open swimming is not allowed, but diving and snorkeling are. If you don't have your own snorkeling equipment, rentals are available on-site.

    North Florida & The Panhandle

    Explore Guana State Park & Wild Life Preserve

    Adventure by Devin Roberts

    Just north of the historic town of St. Augustine lies Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, or GTM for short. This beautiful stretch of coastline along the A1A features stunning natural dunes along the shoreline, and a landscape of small islands inland along the slow-moving Tolomato River. Hike, paddle, fish, look for shark teeth on the beach, or simply bring a picnic to enjoy this wild stretch of Florida.

    Swim and Cliff Jump at Madison Blue Springs

    Adventure by Em Renly

    Madison Blue Springs State Park in Lee is a popular spot for swimming, cave diving, and cliff jumping in northern Florida. The spring itself flows through a limestone basin that is surrounded by lush vegetation, creating a beautiful landscape for your adventures. Paddling is allowed, too.

    Snorkel at Ichetucknee Blue Hole

    Adventure by Jennifer Adler

    Experience "Old Florida" with a trip to Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Tube on the pristine waters of the Ichetucknee River, dive or snorkel in the gorgeous Blue Hole, or hike one of the short trails that wind through the park. The number of tubers allowed each day is limited to protect the river, so head to the park mid-week for the best chance at experiencing the float.

    Fishing in St. Andrew's Bay

    Adventure by Evans Head

    Cast a line into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Saint Andrew Bay near Panama City, a popular destination along Florida's panhandle. The shallow waters and gentle tides make this an ideal spot for fishing. The scenic fishing hole is particularly spectacular during the golden hour after sunset, and there are picnic areas nearby to enjoy dinner al fresco.

    Hike the Wilderness Preserve Trail

    Adventure by Kelley Le

    Those who are looking for a place to really stretch their legs will love the long hike along the Wilderness Preserve Trail to the trip of Cape San Blas peninsula. This 14-mile roundtrip journey is ideal for finding quiet solitude, birdwatching, and spending long hours looking out over the gulf. 

    This is just a tiny example of the unique adventures that are awaiting you in Florida. For a more exhaustive list,  check out this overview from our partners at VISIT FLORIDA. You can also search our curated collection of Florida adventures

    Cover photo by Jennifer Adler

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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