Perfect surf beaches, massive lakes, pine tree forests, and marshlands make up the best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers. In fact, Florida’s nature is some of the most pristine in all of the United States.
Try surfing for the first time at Cocoa Beach. Head to Marco Island where you can enjoy the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades nearby. If you enjoy exploring the outdoors by bike, there are loads of trail options in Tallahassee to choose from, including mountain biking.
The best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers include:
- Marco Island
- Cocoa Beach
- Lake Okeechobee
Best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers
Tallahassee: Mountain biking
You may not think of the state’s capital as one of the best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers, but Tallahassee has plenty to offer when it comes to outdoor adventure. Bikers, in particular, will definitely enjoy their time here.
While Tallahassee isn’t exactly mountainous, there are hundreds of miles of exhilarating mountain biking trails in and around the city. Trail options are comprehensive, with equally great options for beginners and experts. Munson Hills Trail, a beautiful journey through the longleaf pine trees of the Apalachicola National Forest, is a fun ride for all skill levels.
Looking to make a full day of riding? Consider heading to the coast along The Historic Railroad State Trail. The 16 miles of paved pathway on this trail ends in St. Marks, a quaint town on the coast.
Furthermore, nature lovers will love paying a visit to the Tallahassee Museum. Here, you can zipline on a challenging obstacle course overlooking all the flora and fauna of the region. Keep your eye out for animals like the Florida panther and black bear which call this place home.
Marco Island: Ten Thousand Islands/Everglades
Besides being one of our favorite beach destinations in the United States, Marco Island is surrounded by incredible nature. The island itself is home to mind-blowing shelling opportunities and spectacular white sand beaches. But head a little ways off the coast, and you’ll come to the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. This chain of islands and mangrove islets can be explored by kayak or jet ski, or you can choose to learn more about the ecology of the area on a boat tour.
In addition, Marco Island is just over 30 minutes from Everglades City. From here, take an airboat ride through the mangrove tunnels of the Everglades. Just be sure to wear your ear protection and keep your eyes peeled for alligators.
Cocoa Beach: Surfing and space exploration
Cocoa Beach is known as the Surfing Capital of the East Coast. It’s a great place to get on a surfboard for the first time or to hone your skills with a private lesson. After surfing the waves, the Cocoa Beach boardwalk is perfect to walk around, grab a bite, and enjoy the seaside. You can also visit the nearby Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where you’ll find plenty of hiking trails through the very Floridian natural surroundings.
If your love of nature extends to the final frontier, this area of Florida happens to be known as the Space Coast. On Merritt Island, you can also visit the Kennedy Space Center where you could spend all day exploring the thousands of experiences at the Visitor’s Complex. If you plan your trip correctly, you may even catch a rocket launch.
Lake Okeechobee: Fun on the water
Lake Okeechobee is massive. You can choose to stay in a number of different towns surrounding the lake. The vibe in the area is a bit old-fashioned. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time to the summer of 1970, in the best way possible, of course.
The activities available to nature lovers at Lake Okeechobee cover a wide range of both adrenaline-inducing and leisurely. And there is plenty of opportunity to camp around the lake. Besides the obvious (hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.), visitors to Lake Okeechobee can also go air boating, fishing, or treasure hunting at the Fort Drum Crystal Mine. Animal lovers will enjoy visiting Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Butterfly Haven.
Heading to Florida with your loved one? Be sure to stop in Tampa where you’ll find plenty of fun things to do as a couple. Driving to Florida? Learn some helpful tips and fun ideas for a road trip with friends.
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