Surrounded by water on three sides, Florida, a peninsula, is arguably one of the best places in the U.S. for its never-ending water sports. Thanks to the presence of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean on both sides, offer a thousand miles of sandy pristine beaches, ultimately leading to numerous thrilling beach activities. Not many believe that Florida, too, boasts freshwater activities. The Sunshine State is also scattered with crystal Blue Springs and cut through with green rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
Fascinated with freshwater activities in Florida? Here are the best places where you would go paddling in the tranquil backwater, spot manatees swimming around the Blue Spring, and see the turtles roaming free.
The waterway that breathes life into the incredible natural haven of mangroves and hammocks, Oleta River State Park makes an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of Miami. Barely 30 minutes from the high rise vacation rentals of Miami Beach, visitors to Oleta River State Park are smitten with its natural beauty; utterly removed from the glitz and glistening of modernity. It is, indeed, hard to fathom that the park is located in the showdown of downtown Miami where you would immerse yourself in an array of activities such as fishing, kayaking, and many other activities.
Located west of Orange City, Florida, Blue Spring State Park is a popular state park famous for scuba diving, fishing, wildlife watching, camping, swimming, kayaking, and hiking. The crystal clear spring is just ideal for swimming and tubing. However, enthusiasts are barred from these activities during manatee season. Amongst other wildlife animals, you can spot raccoons, alligators, bears, and birds. What else can you do? Besides the water activities, the state park can surprise the history buffs with a lot of historical stuff.
Running through South Georgia southward into Florida, the Suwannee River is a 246-mile long wild backwater river offering excellent paddling opportunities. All you need to do is to take your paddle out there right in the middle of the river and get encircled trees ranging from live oaks, the groove of pine to cypress trees. Some of these trees are thousands of years old. Camping is another way to explore the area and see natural Florida springs.
The springs in Florida have even drawn tourists even before the U.S. Civil War. Silver Springs in Florida is an unincorporated community. Get your canoe and paddle down the springs to capture some of the breathtaking pictures of jungle-like vegetation fringed on each side. The most striking of all is the exotic wildlife including alligators, foxes, otters, eagles, and herons. You will hardly come across such density/ proliferation of wildlife at any state park in Florida.
Have you watched the 1997 thriller/ mystery Hollywood flick ‘Anaconda’? If yes, you will easily be able to relate the grasslands with the damp area of the Amazon rainforest. One of the largest swamp areas in the country, the Everglades is a perfect place to paddle down the narrow waterway, encircled by dense trees, marshes, pine Flatwoods, and mangroves. The region is often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river with abundant wildlife including Florida panther, West Indian manatee, and the endangered leatherback.
Weeki Wachee Springs can be your ultimate one-stop springs water adventure in the Sunshine State of Florida. A natural tourist attraction situated in Weeki Wachee, you will be bestowed with underwater performances by mermaids (local ladies wearing fanciful outfits including wearing fish tails). Apart from the performances, you may like to rent a canoe and enjoy a lovely ride on the calm waters, taking in the stunning surrounding. Take a plunge into the pristine water and swim at Buccaneer Bay. Paddling is also a popular activity here.
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