18 Implausible 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 places, these are the locations in Florida your loved ones can really feel secure and cozy touring via!

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

Throughout our one week highway journey via 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 highway journey and have been shocked 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 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?

boats docked next to an island
Cedar Key

Pure North Florida is an space that encompasses unbelievable pure variety 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 have been in a position to go to and fall in love with the surprise of this space.

It was a kind of household roads journeys that gave us recollections we’ll speak about collectively eternally.

Listed here are our recommendations for the perfect 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 shade to the flowers of the earth. Its river presents nature lovers the grandeur of unspoiled outdated 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 gives exploration of small cities, state parks and pure springs.

The river continues for 170 miles via 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’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 one more day, on this brief 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 Stay Oak and presents among the finest backcountry canoeing alternatives within the state. 

This Florida State Park presents lovely mountaineering trails via the woods alongside the river and encompasses historic ghost cities, and Civil Conflict battlements, and remnants of a 19th Century steamboat.

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

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

You may 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 vegetation 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 In the present day, “the perfect swimming gap within the US” and one of many prime north Florida sights!

We didn’t expertise the total glory of Madison Blue Springs State Park and its typical luminous blue shade on account of rising river ranges and darker shade water, however that didn’t cease us from loving this refreshing solution 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 when you wished to make a complete day of it. This was one in every 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 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 shade of the pristine springs.

And due to COVID among the boardwalks have been closed.

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

Keep: Music Competition 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 mountaineering and horseback using trails, disc golf course, and canoeing and kayaking on the river.

It’s also possible to 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 annually, plus common concert events, and campfire pickin’ session.

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

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

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

Is that this not the good paintings you’ve ever seen?

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

Should you’re on the lookout for a spot to eat, whereas primarily based close to or at Stay Oak, the next two locations are really useful.

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 completely 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 Stay Oak

Should you 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 discount chat catch-up, or a dialog to find extra about you (when 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 lodge room immediately advised me I used to be in a cool place.

I hustled everybody out of the room to wander the superbly 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.

Should you’re on the lookout for locations to go to in north Florida with the right mix between journey and rest in a shocking 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, “essentially the most enjoyable ever!’ We went scalloping out within the Gulf of Mexico with Captain Mike, a personal constitution captain.

This is likely one of the finest locations in Florida to go to for scalloping, an space often called 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 arms. Fairly quickly you get the grasp 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 liked the nearer connection it gave me to nature. You will have a a lot deeper appreciation for the place meals comes from if you go to the hassle 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 all over the world – taking time to bless and honor every animal that gave its life so we might 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 house – 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 acquired a better have a look at these superbly 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 reside music on the newly constructed deck overlooking the river.

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

That is undoubtedly the most effective issues to do in Florida with children!

Learn extra: Wild scalloping in Florida

Keep: Fiddler’s Resort

boats docked in the water
Implausible household lodging

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

Rooms have a screened in porch and grassed sections outdoors crammed with large jenga, corn gap, swinging chairs and fireplace pits.

Workers are pleasant and accommodating and have a number of insights on the encircling space.

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

Each artists we noticed have been unbelievable and the right solution 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. You should definitely seize a field of heat cinnamon donuts in your method 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 likely one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs on the planet. 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 disenchanted we couldn’t take the glass backside boat to tour the springs, really useful as one of many prime issues to do in north Florida. We may solely glimpse at its magnificence within the distance via 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 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 beautiful.

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

Gulf Seashore: Alligator Level

Alligator Point, Florida
Alligator Level – quiet and exquisite

In order for you 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 everyday brown shade this area is understood 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 house for scrumptious seafood on the water.

Alligator Point, Florida
Tiki Hut & Seinyard

Time it for sundown and be sure you reserve a desk!

Historic and Charming Monticello

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

Monticello was the right 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 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 delicate 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 neighborhood targeted on supporting native companies and a vibrant way of life.

You may learn extra concerning the great issues we did in Monticello.

Listed here are two of them we liked essentially the most and are particular don’t miss on our Pure North Florida highway journey. They’re among 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 vibrant inexperienced lilies overlaying river, navigating via 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 vital pristine and exquisite locations in Florida (and the USA) I’ve visited.  

You may learn extra of this journey, and the subsequent one, in our in-depth put up 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 via 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 finest to take this journey with an skilled information.

Kayaking in Florida
Head alligator spotter

The Slave Canal is marked however you could possibly simply get misplaced and regardless of the rapidly transferring water aiding 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.

Maintain 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 via Key West. Cedar Key on the Gulf Shore is likely one of the most original north Florida seashores experiences that retains outdated 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 liked 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 put up on issues to do in Cedar Key.

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

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

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

It’s also possible to discover these islands by boat. Put kayaking right here in your checklist 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 permit for views when 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 have been great

The skin deck is slender so there are about 4 non-public 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 all the time 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 Seashore motel for the perfect sundown views in the primary space,

The native’s tip for the final word sundown was the Tiki Bar slightly out of city. It’s an adults solely bar, which is why its on our checklist 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 Avenue with straightforward 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 the whole 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 ignored the road for later at evening when the ocean views have 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 setting or native communities we journey via.

As so lots of our superb recollections from our Pure North Florida highway 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 vegetation and the lands and waters they should survive.

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

Our ladies fell in love with the endangered lemurs due to our go to right here and need to assist shield them. You may be taught extra about that have in our Monticello put up.

Watch our Pure North Florida Highlights Video

Should you’re on the lookout for enjoyable issues to do in Florida with some pure magnificence, attraction, and recent native delicacies thrown in, contemplate Pure North Florida!

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