18 Improbable and Distinctive Issues To Do In North Florida

Sponsored by Go to Florida

Depart 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 personal scallops off the Gulf shoreline.

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 secure and comfy touring by way of!

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

Throughout our one week street 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 to this point on our higher US street journey and have been surprised we had not heard of this space earlier than.

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

Our Pure North Florida street journey podcast

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

The place is Pure North Florida?

boats docked next to an island
Cedar Key

Pure North Florida is an space that encompasses unimaginable 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 may be launched to areas we have now by no means heard of earlier than, and so we are able to share their less-charted hidden secrets and techniques with you.

Due to our paid partnership with Go to Florida and Go to Pure North Florida we have 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 speak about collectively ceaselessly.

Listed below are our recommendations for the most effective 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 provides nature lovers the grandeur of unspoiled previous Florida and the fantastic thing about out of doors journey.

The Suwannee River Wilderness Path begins in White Springs, Florida’s first vacationer city and is an space that gives 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 strategy to the Gulf of Mexico.

For these searching for a novel journey you’ll be able to 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 quick journey we visited just a few of the star sights 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 situated close to the city of Reside Oak and provides a number of the finest backcountry canoeing alternatives within the state. 

This Florida State Park provides lovely climbing trails by way of the woods alongside the river and encompasses historic ghost cities, and Civil Conflict 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 provides lovely views of its quickly working waters and the gorgeous dwell oaks with Spanish moss dripping over the banks.

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

You possibly can 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 through 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 a wide range of crops and wildlife.

Take your mosquito repellant!

Swim at Madison Blue Springs

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

A few 20-minute drive from Suwannee River State Park, is what has been dubbed by USA As we speak, “the most effective swimming gap within the US” and one of many high north Florida sights!

We didn’t expertise the complete glory of Madison Blue Springs State Park and its typical luminous blue coloration as a result of rising river ranges and darker coloration water, however that didn’t cease us from loving this refreshing method 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 sturdy present that may push you out to the sting of the Withlacoochee River and you’ll 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 a complete day of it. This was one in all 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 have been closed due to what’s known as a brown out.

As you’ll be able to think about the rising river ranges took away the glory coloration of the pristine springs.

And due to COVID a number of the boardwalks have been closed.

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

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

Suwanee Music Park and Campground
Cherished this campsite!

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

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

You can too 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 high out of doors music venues. It hosts a number of out of doors music festivals annually, plus common concert events, and campfire pickin’ session.

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

You recognize 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 liked our little self-driving tour of the large property and discovering issues like out of doors 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!

For those who’re searching for a spot to eat, whereas based mostly close to or at Reside Oak, the next two locations are advisable.

Huge Wooden BBQ & Grill

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

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

For those who love pleasant Southern appeal, 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 outdoors my resort room immediately instructed 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 affix the Key West boats cruising up and down the Steinhatchee River with music blaring and laughter ringing out.

This place will get me.

For those who’re searching for 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 ladies dubbed, “probably the most enjoyable ever!’ We went scalloping out within the Gulf of Mexico with Captain Mike, a personal constitution captain.

This is without doubt one of the finest locations in Florida to go to for scalloping, an space referred to as the scallop capital of the US. Yearly from June to August, individuals 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 dangle of it and may 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 might eat.

Scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida
The youngsters will love scalloping

I liked the nearer connection it gave me to nature. You’ve 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 apply indigenous cultures have world wide – taking time to bless and honor every animal that gave its life so we might eat.

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

He took us to a sand bar on the way in which residence – once more waist deep, the place we might 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 take 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 among the best issues to do in Florida with youngsters!

Learn extra: Wild scalloping in Florida

Keep: Fiddler’s Resort

boats docked in the water
Improbable 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 outdoors full of big jenga, corn gap, swinging chairs and fireplace pits.

Employees are pleasant and accommodating and have numerous insights on the encompassing space.

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

Each artists we noticed have been unimaginable and the proper method to finish an excellent 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. Make sure you seize a field of heat cinnamon donuts in your approach out.

The women have 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 liked its primeval setting and filmed scenes from Tarzan and the Creature of the Black Lagoon right here.

We have been so dissatisfied we couldn’t take the glass backside boat to tour the springs, advisable as one of many high issues to do in north Florida. We might solely glimpse at its magnificence within the distance by way of the boats lined up on the jetty. It was closed as a result of COVID.

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

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

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

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

Gulf Seaside: Alligator Level

Alligator Point, Florida
Alligator Level – quiet and exquisite

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

The water is the standard brown coloration this area is understood for, however nonetheless fantastic 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 street on the small marina.

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

Alligator Point, Florida
Tiki Hut & Seinyard

Time it for sundown and you’ll want to reserve a desk!

Historic and Charming Monticello

road leading to a white building
Monticello – charming North Florida city

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

This charming, historic city is situated 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 called the Keystone County for its unspoiled magnificence and gentle local weather providing the ‘keys to high quality dwelling.’

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

You possibly can learn extra concerning the fantastic issues we did in Monticello.

Listed below are two of them we liked probably the most and are particular don’t miss on our Pure North Florida street journey. They’re a number of the finest adventures we’ve had within the USA.

Airboat Experience 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 experience.

We joined Captain Brad Cooley from 5 Rivers Journey who took us on an 11-mile airboat journey zig zagging over the eelgrass and vivid 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 really one of the pristine and exquisite locations in Florida (and the USA) I’ve visited.  

You possibly can learn extra of this journey, and the subsequent one, in our in-depth submit 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 pressured by slaves.

It’s finest 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 rapidly shifting water helping your paddling, it’s fairly a technical paddle as you navigate slender areas, fallen logs and the overhanging branches of historical oaks, cypress and palmettos draped with Spanish Moss.

Preserve 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 appeal.

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

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

We now have an in-depth submit on issues to do in Cedar Key.

Listed below are the do-not miss issues to do in North Florida or your street 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 possibly can kayak over to discover the island. It’s a simple paddle over, and if fortunate, you might have dolphins as your companions.

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

Cedar Key, FLorida
Enjoyable household exercise in Cedar Key

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

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

Seafood at Steamers, Cedar Key

Steamers, Cedar Key
Clam heaven

Among the best 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. Nonetheless, 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 have been fantastic

The surface deck is slender so there are about 4 personal nook areas the place you’ll be able to 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

It’s possible you’ll get colours within the sky at Steamers for sundown. In any other case you’ll be able to run across the nook to the pink Seaside motel for the most effective sundown views in the primary space,

The native’s tip for the last word sundown was the Tiki Bar slightly out of city. It’s an adults solely bar, which is why its on our listing 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 seashore 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 Road with straightforward strolling distance to all over the place.

We stayed within the two-bedroom, Pearl Suite with a dwelling space and kitchen. We couldn’t consider we had all the high 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 neglected the road for later at night time when the ocean views have been gone and the individuals 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 help the surroundings or native communities we journey by way of.

As so lots of our superb reminiscences from our Pure North Florida street journey got here from our interactions with the beautiful magnificence we discovered right here, we donated to a few 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 initiatives world wide.

Our ladies fell in love with the endangered lemurs due to our go to right here and wish to assist defend them. You possibly can be taught extra about that have in our Monticello submit.

Watch our Pure North Florida Highlights Video

For those who’re searching for enjoyable issues to do in Florida with some pure magnificence, appeal, and recent native delicacies thrown in, contemplate Pure North Florida!

Pin Under To Save To Pinterest:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *