R.O. Ranch: Mayo’s Equestrian Paradise

With 2,500 acres of unspoiled wilderness and miles of trails, R.O. Ranch in Lafayette County gives horse enthusiasts reason to cheer. The visitor’s center at R.O. Ranch is still under construction, but three trails are open, including the Steinhatchee Trail, a 6-mile jaunt that ends at the scenic Steinhatchee Falls. The 5-mile Home Trail is …

Plant Spotlight: Coontie

The coontie (Zamia pumilia) is a native Florida plant that many people are probably familliar with, but few can identify by name.  While today the coontie is almost exclusively found in landscaping, it used to be a fairly common wild plant.  Native Americans used to dig up these plants and use their roots to make flour.  European settlers …

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park: The Beginning of Blooming Season!

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens is located right on the outskirts of Tallahassee, and offers year-round opportunities for visitors to experience outdoor Florida. The Park offers many different activities that should not be overlooked (see this post for details!) including several hiking trails, canoeing, swimming, fishing, and five miles of biking trails.  However, it is the gardens themselves that …

Manatee Springs State Park: Perfect in Winter

A trip to the springs is a no-brainer in hot weather, when the 72-degree water provides a welcome retreat from the heat. But camping at the springs is a lot more pleasant in winter and spring, even if swimming isn’t part of the attraction. So what do you do at Manatee Springs State Park in …

Plant Spotlight: Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is one of the most notorious and commonly found plants, but it can be difficult to identify for those who do not have much experience outdoors, as it comes in a variety of sizes and is easily confused with other plants.  The most commonly seen plants are the juveniles, and the leaves on these …

The La Chua Trail, Sandhill Cranes, Alligators, and More!

The La Chua Trail is on the East side of Gainesville, and is one of the best locations in the area for winter wildlife viewing.  The trail is located on Paynes Prairie which is home to many different species which can be viewed from the platform at the end of the trail.  The sandhill crane …

San Felasco Hammock: Two Hikes, One Great Trip

San Felasco Hammock is a 7000 acre preserve that hosts one of the few remaining mature forests in the state of Florida.  Located just outside of Gainesville, San Felasco makes a great day trip for casual hikers and pet owners.  There are two different trail options on the North Side of the Park, the Moonshine …

Horses Welcome at Bronson’s Black Prong

It’s not just any resort that offers a private barn adjacent to your room. At Black Prong Equestrian Center, located in Bronson, horses are just as welcome as people. Equestrian enthusiasts flock here for its nine dressage arenas, cross-country and marathon courses, on-site trainers and the 150 miles of trails in the adjacent Goethe State …

Nature Coast State Trail Part 3: Fanning Springs to Trenton

Part 1: Fanning Springs to Cross City Part 2: Fanning Springs to Chiefland The Nature Coast State trail is a 32 mile trail that runs through Dixie, Gilchrist, and Levy counties.  For casual bikers, the trail is easily divided into three shorter pieces.  The third and final chunk of the trail is a 7 mile …

Nature Coast State Trail Part 2: Fanning Springs to Chiefland

Part 1: Fanning Springs to Cross City The Nature Coast State Trail follows the track of a former railroad, and the 32 mile trail can be divided up into three separate mini-trails perfect for casual bikers and hikers.  Part one of this series covers the 12 mile track from Fanning Springs to Cross City and can …