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18 Unbelievable and Distinctive Issues To Do In North Florida


Sponsored by Go to Florida

Go away behind the well-known Florida locations and head to a quieter, extra rural expertise in Pure North Florida.

One the place your bliss is kayaking down meandering rivers, cooling off in refreshing luminous-blue pure springs, and catching your individual scallops off the Gulf shoreline.

Things to do in North Florida
Scalloping in Steinhatchee

Within the period of concern for well being and security in quieter areas, these are the locations in Florida your loved ones can really feel protected and cozy touring by way of!

While you go to North Florida, you’ll escape the everyday Florida crowds and welcome in house and serenity.

Throughout our one week highway journey by way of the Pure North Florida area we explored the areas of Suwanee Wilderness Path, Cedar Keys, Steinhatchee River, Wakulla Springs, and Monticello.

We skilled a few of our favourite Florida adventures and household moments up to now on our larger US highway journey and had been surprised we had not heard of this space earlier than.

Regardless of touring the globe for 22 years, I nonetheless handle to seek out locations that amaze me and hold me tapped into the magic of newness, awe, and surprise.

Our Pure North Florida highway journey podcast

We share our highlights and tales from our Pure North Florida highway journey in our podcast.

The place is Pure North Florida?

Cedar Key
Cedar Key

Pure North Florida is an space that encompasses unbelievable pure range between Gainesville to the east, Sopchoppy to the west, Cedar Key to the South, and the Florida-Georgia state line.

It’s an space that sits between the capital, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville on the Atlantic Coast.  

A part of the enjoyment of our journey running a blog way of life, is we could be launched to areas we’ve got by no means heard of earlier than, and so we are able to share their less-charted hidden secrets and techniques with you.

Because of our paid partnership with Go to Florida and Go to Pure North Florida we had been capable of go to and fall in love with the surprise of this space.

It was a kind of household roads journeys that gave us reminiscences we’ll discuss collectively ceaselessly.

Listed below are our solutions for the very best issues to do in North Florida.

Discover the Suwanee Wilderness River Path

Suwanee Wilderness River Trail
Suwannee State Park river stroll

The Suwanee River begins within the Okeefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia and travels 246 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Timucuan Indians felt the river was sacred to the Solar God who introduced coloration to the flowers of the earth. Its river affords nature lovers the grandeur of unspoiled previous Florida and the fantastic thing about outside journey.

The Suwannee River Wilderness Path begins in White Springs, Florida’s first vacationer city and is an space that provides exploration of small cities, state parks and pure springs.

The river continues for 170 miles by way of towering pines, stately cypress lining the riverbanks, excessive limestone outcroppings, salt marshes and gently slowing banks because it widens on its method to the Gulf of Mexico.

For these looking for a novel journey you possibly can take pleasure in a multi-day journey canoeing the river stopping on the river camps spaced a days’ journey aside.

We’re saving that journey for an additional day, on this brief journey we visited a couple of of the star points of interest within the Suwanee River Wilderness Path.

Suwannee River State Park

Suwannee River State Park, North Florida
Suwanee River Path

The Suwannee River State Park is positioned close to the city of Reside Oak and affords a few of the greatest backcountry canoeing alternatives within the state. 

This Florida State Park affords lovely mountaineering trails by way of the woods alongside the river and encompasses historic ghost cities, and Civil Struggle battlements, and remnants of a 19th Century steamboat.

Take the simple Suwanee River Path which runs for just below a mile alongside the riverbank and affords lovely views of its quickly working waters and the beautiful dwell oaks with Spanish moss dripping over the banks.

Suwannee River State Park, Florida
Suwanee River State Park – simple hikes for teenagers

You’ll be able to then proceed alongside the Balanced Rock, which toppled into the water years in the past, and is now solely seen when the water is low.

Because it was excessive, we turned again by way of the Lime Sink Run path which is just below a mile and takes you previous a novel Florida freshwater spring and weaves out and in of a hardwood forest lush with quite a lot of crops and wildlife.

Take your mosquito repellant!

Swim at Madison Blue Springs

Madison Blue Springs, Florida
Madison Blue Springs – nice swimming spot

A couple of 20-minute drive from Suwannee River State Park, is what has been dubbed by USA At present, “the very best swimming gap within the US” and one of many prime north Florida points of interest!

We didn’t expertise the total glory of Madison Blue Springs State Park and its typical luminous blue coloration on account of rising river ranges and darker coloration water, however that didn’t cease us from loving this refreshing technique to cool off from a scorching Florida day.

Give your lymphatic system time to regulate to the 68-degree year-round temperature. After the preliminary shock it’s divine.

Madison Blue Springs, FLorida
Enjoyable household exercise

There’s a robust present that may push you out to the sting of the Withlacoochee River and you may stroll again across the perimeter of the spring and benefit from the views.

Take your float and simply relax. There are picnic tables within the space in case you wished to make an entire day of it. This was considered one of our favourite issues to do in North Florida.

Different North Florida’s Pure Springs:

Sadly, there had been a little bit of flooding simply earlier than we arrived, which meant most of the springs had been closed due to what’s known as a brown out.

As you possibly can think about the rising river ranges took away the glory coloration of the pristine springs.

And due to COVID a few of the boardwalks had been closed.

Primarily based upon our analysis, these are the Pure North Florida springs we’ve got listed for a return to this space:

Keep: Music Pageant Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground

Suwanee Music Park and Campground
Beloved this campsite!

The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground is 800 acres of outside tenting enjoyable located alongside the banks of the Suwannee River.

Not solely does it provide primitive and powered tenting, it has miles of mountaineering and horseback driving trails, disc golf course, and canoeing and kayaking on the river.

You can even keep in cabins right here like we did in our 2-bedroom cottage.

Suwannee is not only a spot to pitch your tent, it’s rated as one of many US’s prime outside music venues. It hosts a number of outside music festivals every year, plus common live shows, and campfire pickin’ session.

Suwanee Music Park and Campground, Florida
Many hidden secrets and techniques to find

You already know we love our dwell music right here and so have pegged this as a spot to return to as soon as the dwell occasions begin once more.

We beloved our little self-driving tour of the huge property and discovering issues like outside amphitheater and phases, lovely fishing lakes, hidden campgrounds, the river, and this gigantic troll.

Is that this not the best art work you’ve ever seen?

Mates let’s meet up right here one 12 months for tenting and dwell music and troll hunts!

If you happen to’re in search of a spot to eat, whereas primarily based close to or at Reside Oak, the next two locations are really helpful.

Huge Wooden BBQ & Grill

Big Wood BBQ & Grill, Live Oak, Florida
What do you select?

We had been impressed by the dimensions and high quality of the meals right here. All of us selected one thing completely different: blackened shrimp, child again ribs, and rib eye steak, and sliders – all had been improbable.

I used to be impressed by the standard of the grilled greens and baked potato – the seasoning on it was good.

Dixie Grill

Dixie Grill, Live Oak, Florida
Breakfast in Reside Oak

If you happen to love pleasant Southern attraction, you’ll love eating at Dixie Grill.

The proprietor Charles walked round to greet every particular person with a fist pump, a coupon chat catch-up, or a dialog to find extra about you (in case you’re clearly not from spherical right here).

You’ll discover good home-cooked southern meals and beneficiant parts to get you thru the day.

Steinhatchee River

Steinhatchee River, Florida
Steinhatchee River from above

“Sluggish. Manatees round right here.”

The signal on the dock exterior my resort room immediately advised me I used to be in a cool place.

I hustled everybody out of the room to wander the fantastically manicured lawns of the Fiddler’s Resort on the banks of the Steinhatchee River.

We quickly discovered that swimming alongside the manatees are alligators and bull sharks and we’d not be becoming a member of them!

However we definitely wished to hitch the Key West boats cruising up and down the Steinhatchee River with music blaring and laughter ringing out.

This place will get me.

If you happen to’re in search of locations to go to in north Florida with the proper mix between journey and leisure in a surprising pure setting, you get that in Steinhatchee.

Scalloping within the Gulf of Mexico

Scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida
Wow. What a catch

In Steinhatchee, we had what the women dubbed, “essentially the most enjoyable ever!’ We went scalloping out within the Gulf of Mexico with Captain Mike, a non-public constitution captain.

This is without doubt one of the greatest locations in Florida to go to for scalloping, an space often known as the scallop capital of the US. Yearly from June to August, folks can free dive for scallops within the grassy shallows.

We spent 4 hours snorkeling among the many turtle grass, spying the scallops camouflaged and grabbing them with our palms. Fairly quickly you get the cling of it and might spy their mouths opening and shutting.

There are limits on what number of every particular person can catch, and we didn’t even come near that, ensuring we solely grabbed as a lot as we may eat.

Scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida
The youngsters will love scalloping

I beloved the nearer connection it gave me to nature. You’ve got a a lot deeper appreciation for the place meals comes from once you go to the trouble of catching it your self.

It additionally gave me a deeper sense of gratitude and honor for the scallop that gave me one thing to eat. It is a observe indigenous cultures have all over the world – taking time to bless and honor every animal that gave its life so we could eat.

Captain Mike was a improbable information with a straightforward going, pleasant nature.

He took us to a sand bar on the way in which dwelling – once more waist deep, the place we may swim and hunt although the sand for sand {dollars}.

Scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida
A enjoyable day trip for households

Fortunately, he was capable of finding a pair and we received a more in-depth have a look at these fantastically designed animals.

Captain Mike organized for our sea scallop bootie to be shucked again on the marina, after which Fiddler’s Restaurant at our resort cooked them up or us and we loved them with a chilly drink and dwell music on the newly constructed deck overlooking the river.

Leisure scalloping begins on June 15 and ends on Labor Day.

That is positively top-of-the-line issues to do in Florida with youngsters!

Learn extra: Wild scalloping in Florida

Keep: Fiddler’s Resort

Fiddler's Resort
Unbelievable household lodging

We loved the simplicity of our keep at Fiddler’s Resort. The resort is laid-back and blends in lovely with the gorgeous pure setting of its Steinhatchee River location.

Rooms have a screened in porch and grassed sections exterior full of big jenga, corn gap, swinging chairs and fireplace pits.

Workers are pleasant and accommodating and have numerous insights on the encircling space.

One other should not miss in Steinhatchee is the nightly dwell music exterior on their new, spacious deck overlooking the water.

Each artists we noticed had been unbelievable and the proper technique to finish a wonderful day in North Florida having fun with the sunshine and pure magnificence

Eat: McDavid’s Cafe

Places to eat in Steinhatchee, Florida
Native breakfast spot. Donuts for the win

Seize your conventional Southern breakfast at native’s favourite McDavid’s Cafe. Be sure you seize a field of heat cinnamon donuts in your manner out.

The ladies had been delighted to have these to snack on throughout our scalloping journey. (And okay, the subsequent day too as we drove to Wakulla Springs!)

Video: Scalloping in Steinhatchee, Gulf Coast Florida

Discover Wakulla Springs State Park

Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida
Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs is without doubt one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs on the earth. Its sapphire waters are plentiful with wildlife together with manatees, alligators, turtles, deer, and birds.

The cypress mangroves rising out of the swamp offers it an eerie and ethereal really feel and it’ll really feel acquainted to you.

Hollywood beloved its primeval setting and filmed scenes from Tarzan and the Creature of the Black Lagoon right here.

We had been so disillusioned we couldn’t take the glass backside boat to tour the springs, really helpful as one of many prime issues to do in north Florida. We may solely glimpse at its magnificence within the distance by way of the boats lined up on the jetty. It was closed on account of COVID.

Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida
A soothing day in your North Florida trip

There’s a small swimming part out the entrance of the historic Wakulla Lodge, which was in-built 1937.

The water is a refreshing 70 levels and there’s a diving platform for further enjoyable. Because it was COVID, we selected to swim in our personal quiet space. The jungled canopied views surrounding it had been gorgeous.

Staying at Wakulla Lodge for a few nights was a tranquil expertise and the meals of their eating corridor was wonderful.

Gulf Seaside: Alligator Level

Alligator Point, Florida
Alligator Level – quiet and delightful

If you would like a hotter ocean swim, a thirty-minute drive from Wakulla Springs will take you to Alligator Level with this white sandy seaside on the Gulf Shore.

The water is the everyday brown coloration this area is thought for, however nonetheless great for swimming and snorkeling among the many grassy beds.

Tiki bar lovers will take pleasure in grabbing a day drink from the Oasis Tiki Hut simply down the highway on the small marina.

We extremely suggest stopping in at The Sieneyard Rock Touchdown on the way in which dwelling for scrumptious seafood on the water.

Alligator Point, Florida
Tiki Hut & Seinyard

Time it for sundown and make sure to reserve a desk!

Historic and Charming Monticello

Monticello
Monticello – charming North Florida city

Monticello was the proper finish to our pure North Florida highway journey and a chance for us to get to know the historic and cultural heartbeats that make up this lovely area.   

This charming, historic city is positioned 24 miles east of the state capitol, Tallahassee and has a inhabitants of simply 2,000.

It’s the seat of Jefferson County, which is named the Keystone County for its unspoiled magnificence and gentle local weather providing the ‘keys to high quality residing.’

We found a spot filled with journey, distinctive and pristine magnificence, historic and academic experiences, and a group targeted on supporting native companies and a vibrant way of life.

You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the great issues we did in Monticello.

Listed below are two of them we beloved essentially the most and are particular don’t miss on our Pure North Florida highway journey. They’re a few of the greatest adventures we’ve had within the USA.

Airboat Journey on the Wicassa River

The Wacissa River Florida
A FUN journey for households

The Wacissa River is a primary magnitude clear, spring-fed stream that’s fed by about 20 springs at its headwaters at Wakulla Springs.

Simply seeing the fantastic thing about this area is sufficient to fulfill you, however we extremely suggest exploring the springs and the river by kayak or, as we did, airboat – it’s one of many coolest issues to do in north Florida!

One of many distinctive issues to do in Florida is an airboat journey.

We joined Captain Brad Cooley from 5 Rivers Journey who took us on an 11-mile airboat journey zig zagging over the eelgrass and vibrant inexperienced lilies protecting river, navigating by way of slender channels canopied by Spanish moss cypress and oak timber, chasing egrets and bald eagles, and quick diving alligators.  

airboat the Wacissa River
The Wacissa River was so lovely

It was an exhilarating journey made all that significantly better by Savannah’s tight grip on my arm and squeals of equal terror and delight. The Wacissa River captured my coronary heart.

It’s actually one of the crucial pristine and delightful locations in Florida (and the USA) I’ve visited.  

You’ll be able to learn extra of this journey, and the subsequent one, in our in-depth publish on Exploring the Wacissa River and take a look at this different superb airboat tour in Sebring, Fl.

Kayaking the Slave Canal

The Slave Canal, Florida
An adventurous kayak journey

We traded our airboats for kayaks and set off on an exhilarating and difficult journey by way of the Slave Canal, which connects the Wacissa to the Aucilla River.

The Slave Canal was initially constructed by the slaves for plantation homeowners to move cotton right down to the Gulf. Blocks of limestone stay and are a reminder alongside the way in which of the arduous work compelled by slaves.

It’s greatest to take this journey with an skilled information.

Kayaking in Florida
Head alligator spotter

The Slave Canal is marked however you can simply get misplaced and regardless of the shortly shifting water aiding your paddling, it’s fairly a technical paddle as you navigate slender areas, fallen logs and the overhanging branches of historic oaks, cypress and palmettos draped with Spanish Moss.

Hold a watch out of the alligators poking their eyes above the water watching you!

Cedar Key

Cedar Key, Gulf Coast Florida
Cedar Key from above

Step again into the times Hemingway roamed by way of Key West. Cedar Key on the Gulf Shore is without doubt one of the most unusual north Florida seashores experiences that retains previous world attraction.

There’s no bling or over-development right here. It doesn’t want it. It’s plentiful with quiet, pure magnificence and journey.

We beloved its small city, fishing village vibe and sloth-like tempo. It’s about gradual morning dawn begins, light day time paddles, scrumptious seafood, and sundown views.

We’ve an in-depth publish on issues to do in Cedar Key.

Listed below are the do-not miss issues to do in North Florida or your highway journey cease in Cedar Key.

Kayaking the Cedar Refuge Islands

Cedar Key kayak adventures
Kayak to Atsena Otie

The Cedar Key Nationwide Refuge is an space composed of 13 offshore islands jutting into the Gulf Coast.

Cedar Secret is nestled amongst many of those small islands 4 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and about half a mile out from Cedar Secret is Atsena Otie, which was the unique village till a hurricane blew it down.

You’ll be able to kayak over to discover the island. It’s a straightforward paddle over, and if fortunate, you’ll have dolphins as your companions.

There’s a small seaside for swimming and remnants of the previous pencil manufacturing facility and cemetery. These wishing for an extended journey can paddle the additional 1.5 miles across the island and thru the internal marshes.

Cedar Key, FLorida
Enjoyable household exercise in Cedar Key

Bold paddlers can go on to different close by islands of the Cedar Key Nationwide Refuge. They’re mentioned to have good seashores.

You can even discover these islands by boat. Put kayaking right here in your record of enjoyable issues to do in north Florida!

Seafood at Steamers, Cedar Key

Steamers, Cedar Key
Clam heaven

The most effective issues to do in Florida is eat recent native seafood.

Since 95% of farm-raised clams are harvested within the clear waters of Cedar Key, we suggest grabbing your self a bowl of steamed clams in a white wine sauce at Steamers, a seafood restaurant.

Suspended on stilts over the water, you get prime Gulf views over Atsena Otie and different islands of the Cedar Key Nationwide Refuge.

There are massive home windows that enable for views in case you want to sit inside. Nevertheless, to make your meal right here a memorable expertise, we suggest grabbing one of many nooks on the deck.

Steamers, Cedar Key
The views right here had been great

The skin deck is slender so there are about 4 personal nook areas the place you possibly can sit with entrance row seats of the view, the balmy breeze in your pores and skin, and dolphins frolicking in entrance of you.

Cedar Key Sundown

Cedar Key, Florida sunset
Florida sunsets are at all times magical

You might get colours within the sky at Steamers for sundown. In any other case you possibly can run across the nook to the pink Seaside motel for the very best sundown views in the principle space,

The native’s tip for the final word sundown was the Tiki Bar somewhat out of city. It’s an adults solely bar, which is why its on our record for a future go to to Cedar Key (with babysitters!)

And Savannah has put her foot down and demanded we come again to Cedar Key for a for much longer Florida Island seaside trip.

Keep: Harbor Grasp Suites with superb dawn views

Family accommodation Cedar Key, Florida
Have a look at these dawn views – superior household accommodaiton

Harbor Grasp Suites has entrance row stilted place on D Avenue with simple strolling distance to in all places.

We stayed within the two-bedroom, Pearl Suite with a residing space and kitchen. We couldn’t consider we had all the prime deck to ourselves.

We had a spot for morning espresso and dawn views over the Gulf, a spot for afternoon drinks, after which one other hidden screened in porch that missed the road for later at night time when the ocean views had been gone and the folks watching simply began.

Giving again to Pure North Florida

Meeting the lemurs at the North Florida Wildlife Center
Assembly the lemurs on the North Florida Wildlife Middle

As a part of the marketing campaign partnerships we do with native tourism boards, we donate again to native non-profits or native companies that assist the atmosphere or native communities we journey by way of.

As so a lot of our superb reminiscences from our Pure North Florida highway journey got here from our interactions with the beautiful magnificence we discovered right here, we donated to 3 causes that touched our hearts.

The Tall Timbers Analysis works to guard to preserve land within the Monticello/ Tallahassee Area. No Wal-Marts and subdivisions allowed! Solely pure pure magnificence.

The Fish and Wildlife Basis of Florida works to guard the area’s excellent animals and crops and the lands and waters they should survive.

The North Florida Wildlife Middle in Monticello companions with animal conservation tasks all over the world.

Our ladies fell in love with the endangered lemurs because of our go to right here and wish to assist shield them. You’ll be able to study extra about that have in our Monticello publish.

Watch our Pure North Florida Highlights Video

If you happen to’re in search of enjoyable issues to do in Florida with some pure magnificence, attraction, and recent native delicacies thrown in, think about Pure North Florida!

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Planning to visit Florida? Why not consider North Florida for a change for fun activities like kayaking, swimming in natural springs, eating fresh seafood, and beaches. Here are 18 fantastic things to do in North Florida.

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