The best places to explore Florida’s great outdoors

Stef Zisovska

Florida is one of the states that offers the largest diversity of stunning wilderness and adventure opportunities. If you want to have an unforgettable experience and see the best of Florida, then check this list with the most amusing places to explore in the Sunshine State.

Devil’s Den Cave

Devil’s Den Cave in Florida – Author: Matthewjparker – CC BY-SA 4.0

Near Williston, in Florida, there is a natural wonder called the Devil’s Den. It’s actually a cave hole with a window on the top that collapsed in the underground river. It’s known as a SCUBA diving and recreational spot, though it’s located on private land. The underground water’s temperature is a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it perfect for swimming and diving. Even during the cold months, the temperature remains the same.

The name of the cave comes from the ancient civilizations living in the area when they witnessed water vapor rising from the surface of the river, forming a visible plume above the entrance to the cave, representing the chimney of Hell. If you are interested in exploring mysterious caves, then Devil’s Den is the right place for you.

Juniper Prairie Wilderness

Juniper Prairie Wilderness in the Ocala National Forest, Florida, USA – Author: Rolf Müller – CC BY-SA 3.0

This protected wilderness area inside the Ocala National Forest in Florida is one of the most amusing natural places to explore. It’s a road free attraction that hikers love to visit frequently and roam its 14,283 acres. Kayak and canoe enthusiasts that favor the shallow lakes also find the prairie a place that they can enjoy. If you’re planning on visiting the forest, make sure you check in with the district office and get information on the latest weather conditions. Those who decide to camp overnight need to be mindful of the campfire restrictions which are common during the season of high fire risk.

Ichetucknee Springs

An afternoon at Head Spring – Author: Pengd0t – CC BY-SA 4.0

Ichetucknee Springs is a 2,241-acre state park, 4 miles northwest of Fort White. The Ichetucknee River is a spring fed river that flows for 6 miles through central Florida before it joins Santa Fe River. The favorite activity of the spring’s visitors is tubing, available from May to September. Scuba divers must be cave-certified to dive the beautiful but challenging Blue Hole. The year-round temperature of the river is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it super refreshing in the hot afternoons. The park is open every day, including holidays, from 8 a.m. until sunset.

St. George Island

Beach at St. George Island State Park – Author: Rachel Kramer – CC BY 2.0

St. George is a barrier island surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Apalachicola Bay. The island, although small, has a state park, a gated housing community, and small businesses. The state park on the island attracts hikers, sunbathers, boaters, and fishermen. There are two boat ramps, six picnic shelters, and a campground that has 60 camping spots.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Various soft corals at Molasses Reef – Author: Todd Murray – CC BY-SA 3.0

The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is off the coast of Key Largo and it’s the first underwater park in the States. The park offers above and underwater adventures for all of you that enjoy exploring the marine life. The biggest attractions at John Pennekamp are the coral reefs that attract a lot of visitors. Snorkelers and scuba divers have a unique opportunity to see the Christ of the Abyss statue that sits 25 feet under the water. Another way to observe the coral reefs and the marine life in the underwater park is to take a glass-bottom boat tour. All of you that don’t like scuba diving or snorkeling should take a part of this tour.

Florida’s natural environment offers so much to explore and will satisfy every person’s taste for adventure. No matter where you decide to go, this state will give you top-quality adventure and natural landscapes that you won’t find anywhere else. Good luck!

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