Florida Hiking, Nature March 13, 2017
8 Natural Wonders Hiding In Plain Sight In Florida — No Hiking Required
Florida is full of jaw-dropping natural wonders and hidden gems. All you have to do is head outdoors and check out some of our incredible state parks and private attractions. Of course, it gets pretty hot in Florida, and we totally understand not wanting to go through all of that hiking to get to the scenic payoff. Sometimes it’s because you have little ones in tow, and sometimes it’s because you just can’t stand the heat. Whatever the reason, we collected a few stunning natural wonders you can enjoy in Florida, none of which require hiking.
1. Devil's Den, Williston
Devil's Den is one of North Central Florida's most beautiful hidden gems. It's a karst window (basically a collapsed cave over an underground river) located not far from Gainesville. Not only is it a stunning sight to behold, remains of prehistoric humans and animals were found in one of its passages. Unfortunately, you're not allowed to view this natural wonder unless you're diving or snorkeling, but hey, it's just more motivation to get certified, right?
2. Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs near Ocala is home to one of the largest springs of its magnitude in the world. It's also one of the oldest attractions in Florida. There's no swimming at the park, but you can still enjoy this slice of Old Florida with a glass bottom boat ride. These scenic boat tours are the perfect way to see the springs without having to hike through the park.
3. Siesta Key
Siesta Key has some of the finest white powder beaches in the world. Not only is it a beautiful sight, the whitest sands keep your feet nice and cool. This jaw-dropping beach is always topping lists of the most beautiful beaches in Florida (and the country).
4. Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns State Park near Marianna is the only place in Florida with public tours of open-air caves. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, and biking, as well as canoeing and fishing on the Chipola River or Blue Hole Spring. Yes, there's walking on the tours, but it's an easygoing pace. Hiking is an option at the park, but not necessary.
5. Torreya State Park, Bristol
Torreya State Park is a hidden gem in northwest Florida. At first glance, this scene doesn't even look like Florida, and that's because it's taken from a 150-foot high bluff. This park is also home to the very rare tree for which it is named. The hiking in this steep terrain is difficult, but luckily there's a viewing area that doesn't require any hiking.
6. The Florida Reef
Florida is home to the world's third largest coral reef. Visit Biscayne National Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to explore its natural beauty. No hiking required, but you might have to take a boat and do some diving/snorkeling, of course.
7. Blue Grotto Dive Resort, Williston
This is the largest clear-water cavern in the area, but it's also one of the safest. All you need is an Open Water Diving Certification to explore the 100-foot-deep grotto. Although Blue Grotto is designated as a diving spot, snorkelers and swimmers are allowed in the spring if accompanied by divers.
8. Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter
Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter Island is definitely one of the most beautiful places in our state. Huge Anastasia limestone outcropping lines the beach, and waves breaking against the shore can go flying up to 50 feet in the air. This effect depends heavily on the weather at the beach at the time. Stormy weather produces the greatest effect, as you can see in the video below. Don't miss the preserve's education center, boardwalk, or the butterfly garden.
Have you visited any of these places? Do you have any other natural wonders to add to our list?
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