White Springs: Florida’s Original Tourist Destination

Set among forests and a famous river in rural Hamilton County, White Springs, Florida doesn’t conjure the image of a bustling tourist town. As the town’s Vice Mayor Walter McKenzie describes it, you had to be there. “In the late 1800s and early 1900s, White Springs was the number one tourist destination in Florida because …

Serenola Forest Preserve–Gainesville’s Latest Hiking Destination

Officially opened in April, 2019 after acquisition in 2018, the Serenola Forest Preserve is the latest addition to the lands overseen by the Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT). Located south of the University of Florida, just off Williston Road, the preserve consists of 111-acres of hardwood forest, open to the public for an in-town hiking experience. Here’s …

Take A Walk On The “Wild Side”– In Gainesville’s City Limits–At Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park is about more than 125 acres of protected land near the intersection of South Main Street and Williston Road. The park is not only a place to connect with nature, it’s a way to protect our environment. Featuring wetlands and ponds, the park was created to improve the water quality of …

Visit Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens Near Williston, Florida–It’s the “Pits”!

So….what do you do with a retired hundred-plus-year-old rock quarry?  If you want to create a masterpiece of flora and fauna, you move tons of rock and divert lots of water and build a park for visitors to enjoy.  That, in a nutshell, is the history of Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens, located just off …

Gainesville’s Morningside Nature Center–Take A Walk In Our Woods

With over 7 miles of trails and one of the last-remaining examples of a fire-dependent longleaf pine forest, Morningside Nature Center is an excellent outdoor destination–within the city limits of Natural North Florida’s largest city.  The largest of Gainesville’s nature parks, Morningside covers 278 acres and is easily accessed from East University Avenue and SR20. …

Hike, Bike, Swim, Camp and Paddle at Florida’s O’Leno State Park

One of Florida’s first state parks, O’Leno State Park was first developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The park is located along the banks of the scenic Santa Fe River, a tributary of the Suwannee River, and features sinkholes, hardwood hammocks, river swamps and sandhills. As the river courses through the park, …

Visit The La Chua Trail and Alachua Sink at Payne’s Prairie State Park

Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774. Depending on the season you visit …

Bike, Hike or Ride Your Horse at San Felasco Hammock State Park, in Alachua County, Florida

This preserve has one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida. The limestone outcrops and extreme changes in elevation provide ideal conditions for many species of hardwood trees, including several champion trees. Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and many species of songbirds make their homes in the 18 natural communities found in the …

Down The Less-Beaten Path Through The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

There’s nothing quite like the United States’ National Wildlife Refuge system, and Natural North Florida has three of the best– St. Marks,  Lower Suwannee and Cedar Key.  All are interesting and worth the trip, but The St. Marks Preserve, located in Wakulla County, in the middle of the Big Bend, is especially interesting to visitors …