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Escape the Cold: Year-Round Sunshine in Florida

Visit Florida

With beautiful weather all year-round, the only thing that changes about Florida throughout the year is the unique natural adventures. Come discover and experience Florida's incredible outdoor activities and adventures this winter.

 

SANTA ROSA COUNTY: Tucked away near the historic city of Milton, nature enthusiasts are invited to experience a serene escape at Coldwater Gardens. This 352-acre sustainable agritourism destination centers on education, recreation and exploration of nature and agriculture practices. Those looking to book a stay at this unique outdoor accommodation can choose from private cottages, treehouses, cabanas and luxury tents. Guests can also enjoy a number of outdoor activities at Coldwater Creek including kayaking, hiking and biking. Don't forget to gaze at the stars from the stargazer platform, complete with a firepit, picnic table, and hammock chairs, offering a truly unforgettable experience.

 

A short drive away, you'll find Navarre Beach, a barrier island paradise. With its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and endless activities, it's a dream come true for those who love the sea. Take a leisurely walk along the longest fishing pier in the Gulf or explore the natural ecosystems at Navarre Beach marine Park.

 

For adventure-lovers looking for a unique stay or to soar among the trees, a must-visit is Adventures Unlimited. The park offers nearly 30 different overnight options including secluded cabins, campgrounds, treehouses and even a charming Schoolhouse Inn. The outdoor center offers more than just great nature lodging; it also boasts four ziplining courses with bird’s eye views of spring-fed Coldwater Creek and the expansive native longleaf pine forest.

 

COLUMBIA COUNTY: While summer tubing might be what Columbia County is known for, its waterways are a year- round natural wonder waiting to be explored. Embark on a serene kayaking adventure in the prehistoric paradise of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The pristine waters of Ichetucknee Springs maintain a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, making it a perfect winter activity. As you paddle past tall pine trees and untouched wilderness, immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the "Springs Capital of the United States."

For those craving a stay close to nature, Moonshine Acres RV Park presents a rustic yet elegant retreat. The property, once owned by a local moonshiner, exudes a spirit of adventure. Here, you'll find six pristine glamping tents with full electrical capabilities, ensuring you stay cozy while you soak in the outdoor ambiance. The log cabin clubhouse and old-fashioned general store transport you back in time, all while providing modern comforts.

 

TALLAHASSEE: Nestled in the heart of the Sunshine State, this charming city boasts an array of incredible activities to relish during the winter months. Explore the lush woodlands and scenic trails at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, where you can hike or bike through picturesque landscapes. For a taste of Florida's natural beauty, the Apalachicola National Forest presents endless opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife encounters. And if you're seeking a thrill, kayaking along the Wakulla Springs or paddleboarding at Lake Ella are fantastic choices. With its pleasant winter climate and an abundance of outdoor adventures, Tallahassee invites you to embrace the great outdoors in a truly Floridian style.

 

ST. AUGUSTINE and PONTE VERDA: The outdoors on Florida's Historic Coast make for one of the most kayak-friendly places in the U.S. Discover unique wildlife, flora and fauna along the beaches and parks, and don't miss the resort area, Ponte Vedra Beach, which has spectacular hiking areas. And for fishing, the area can’t be beat, complete withsaltwater and freshwater, inland and offshore. Take a fishing charter or fish from a pier; just be sure to get a license first.

 

St. Augustine is mostly known for its history but there is so much more. The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. After nine wooden forts designed to protect St. Augustine were burned by invaders, the Spanish militia took on the monumental task of constructing a stone fort that would protect the city and its treasury from pirates, the British and other attackers. The Castillo is made from coquina, a locally sourced stone-like compound made of shell and limestone.

 

The GTM Research Reserve is a hiker’s delight with more than nine miles of nature trails. The coastal estuary offers incredible views of lush vegetation, nesting bald eagles and possible encounters with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and the West Indian manatee. The GTM is also a popular fishing spot with boat ramp access. Throughout the year, GTM volunteers and staff offer monthly guided beach explorations and seining workshops. Natural and cultural history exhibits that illustrate the many functions of the coastal and estuarine ecosystem can be viewed in the Environmental Education Center.

 

CLAY COUNTY: As home to one of Clay County’s most popular trails, Black Creek Park and Trail covers just over 71 acres with a variety of ecosystems including pine flatwoods and wetlands. The eight-mile paved pedestrian and bicycle trail can be accessed from the parking lot and runs south along U.S. Highway 17. The park’s Black Creek Mountain Bike Trail system features three different trails of differing degrees each with their own elevation changes, tree roots and turns. Each trail begins and ends at the parking lot and is completely shaded, perfect for even the novice bikers. The Creek View trail is 2.5 miles long and has breathtaking views of Black Creek.

Known as one of Florida’s First State Parks, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights is home to 2,000 acres with 5.44 miles of trails along the Florida National Scenic Trail. The Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) passes through 5.4 miles of the park and connects to other public lands. Go fishing or go for a swim in Little Lake Johnson and if you’d like to explore the area by water, canoe rentals are available too. As a full-facility campground with 73 camp sites, overnight accommodations are available for RVs, tents and cabin rentals.

 

KISSIMMEE: A visit to Kissimmee isn’t complete without taking part in a thrilling airboat adventure. It is the perfect opportunity to zoom across the water, enjoy scenic views and spot some of Florida’s incredible wildlife. Anyone looking to take a ride on the wild side should check out Wild Florida, taking guests deep into the Headwaters of the Everglades through protected swamps, marshes and rivers. Gliding through the waters presents a great vantage point to see all kinds of animals in their natural habitats, including awesome alligators and beautiful bald eagles.

Peacefully drift across treetops and enjoy panoramic views of the lakes, wildlife and some of Kissimmee’s top attractions while in a hot air balloon. Bob's Balloon Rides offers flights for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, engagements or anyone just looking for a unique and fun activity while visiting Kissimmee. Guests will also be treated to a champagne brunch following their incredible early morning flight.

JACKSONVILLE: From inland to offshore fishing, Jacksonville can satisfy that itch to reel in a big one. Jacksonville offers everything you could want for a fishing trip: bass fishing, river fishing, inland fishing and offshore fishing. With more than 20 fish species in Jacksonville, making an exciting catch has never been more within reach.

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is the go-to spot for those in search of North Florida natural wonders. Hike through 46,000 acres of coastal wetlands, salt marshes and hardwood forests and explore historical sites like the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Kingsley Plantation on guided group tours or individual nature outings. It’s recommended travellers plan for at least two hours to explore these large, historical artifacts.

Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island State Parks are an intriguing mixture of both beach and coastal woodland settings. These secluded natural wonders offer some of the most unique ecosystems, beaches and outdoor recreational activities in the area. Explore the infamous Boneyard Beach, where uprooted, white-washed trees litter the sandy shores like a dinosaur boneyard, or visit one of the most popular fishing destinations in the area: the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park. Another main attraction, Blackrock Beach, has large black rocks along the shoreline – some of which are among the oldest rock formations in the world. The state park offers bike rentals and campgrounds to immerse yourself in the Florida wilderness. With Kayak Amelia, travellers can tour Simpson Creek, which is the body of water between the two Talbot Islands, to get a glimpse of the wildlife that lives there.

The Sunshine State offers visitors an assortment of unparalleled culinary options. To learn more and plan your next trip, visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com.

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