3-Day Trip: Hidden Gems and Hideaways of North Florida

North Florida is full of hidden gems and hideaways. This region offers visitors a chance to escape from everyday life, and indulge in the carefree, simplistic atmosphere of nature. There is no limit to the amount of unforgettable scenic landscapes to be seen in north Florida, and navigating the state is easy and fun. Here is a three-day trip guide highlighting the natural beauty of the north Florida countryside.

Day One: Lake Butler 

Union County is home to Lake Butler, a freshwater oasis in the heart of the county. Lake Butler is a part of the Butler Chain of Lakes system, which stretches through eastern Florida. Families, fisherman and aquatic enthusiasts alike gather along Lake Butler to enjoy its old-world beauty. It is perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking, enjoying the scenery and observing various aquatic life in the calm waters.

The High Springs Campground is located a short distance to the lake, offering optimal camping experiences for travelers and those who love the great outdoors. Enjoy a warm, quiet night under the stars either from their tent camping or RV sites. The facility also features a swimming pool perfect for cooling off in the hot Florida sun.



Day Two: Santa Fe Swamp Wildlife and Environmental Area 

A short 20-minute drive southeast of Union County will bring you to Bradford County. Known for its great marshes and park facilities, Bradford County is the ideal stopping point for outdoor adventurers. Take a walk on the wild side at the Santa Fe Swamp Wildlife and Environmental Area, or enjoy a day of horseback riding under the tree canopies of this vast swampland. The area also offers hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife viewings suitable for the whole family to enjoy.

For a unique, family-friendly experience, stop by the Shady Oak Butterfly Farm. Meet the friendly staff of butterfly caretakers and partake in the beauty of a large variety of native butterflies the facilities houses. The farm also offers butterfly releasings for special events and celebrations, which is sure to add an unparalleled, picturesque quality to your next big occasion.

Head into town to grab a bite at The Downtown Grill. This local eatery is known for their juicy burgers and hearty American cuisine, and is sure to satisfy the appetite of everyone in your party.

Day Three: Morningside Nature Center

Alachua County offers the best of both worlds. It’s home to the urban city of Gainesville, and also hosts a number of well-known natural exploration destinations.

Located on the outskirts of Gainesville, Morningside Nature Center is the ideal location for enjoying a day outdoors. Spend the afternoon strolling down its scenic trails and gardens, or saying hello to Spudly the box turtle and friends at their wildlife exhibit. This large facility offers an endless variety of family friendly activities everyone will enjoy.


For a day of excitement, head out to High Springs and challenge your spirit of adventure at Alachua County’s Adventure Outpost. The outpost supplies rental paddle boards and kayaks, and also offers tours down any of the 40 waterways connected to the county’s trails.

The Outpost’s knowledgeable staff can help you pick an activity that caters to your experience and skill level. The facility not only offers river excursion guidance, but also provides maps to help navigate the hiking trails located on the grounds as well. The Adventure Outpost is the perfect destination for those who want an authentic north Florida outdoor escapade.


North Florida is the perfect destination for every kind of nature lover. Whether you wish to explore the forests, parks, springs, or wildlife, you will find what you’re looking for here. North Florida provides a picturesque escape away from manmade structures, and takes you back to the beauty of nature.

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