Best Places to Visit in Florida for Nature Lovers | Beautiful Wonders
Florida might be famous for its beaches, but it’s not shy when it comes to other natural wonders too. From lush wetlands to intricate cave systems and manatee refuges, there are boundless offerings to appeal to anyone who loves the outdoors.
If you’re wondering where to go in Florida for a nature lover’s dream come true, look no further than this list. You’ll find some of the most gorgeous natural wonders the east coast has to offer below.
Natural Wonders in Florida
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Here are some of our favourite places to go in Florida for the avid nature lover.
Tip: Many places have reopened, but there may be Covid protocols in Orlando and other areas of Florida in place still.
Three Sisters Springs
There are so many places across the globe that offer swimming with dolphins as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re in the Keys, though, you can tick “swimming with manatees” off of your Florida bucket list instead.
In the winter months, manatees appear in droves to spend the cold season cosied up in the warmer waters of the Keys. There are about 100 or so that stay year-round. So no matter what time of year it is, you’re bound to get your manatee fix.
Swimming with these adorable creatures is an experience only available at Crystal Springs. However, you’ll need to follow some rules of engagement to keep the manatees feeling safe. If you’d rather stay dry, you can try kayaking over the crystal-clear waters instead.
There are other ways to encounter them outside of Three Sisters Springs, such as spending a night in an underwater hotel and watching their antics from the comfort of your bed. Either way, seeing manatees is the perfect way to get up close and personal with nature in Florida.
Florida Caverns State Park
There is an abundance of honeycombed underwater caves and sinkholes throughout the Keys, but the only air-filled cave that you can go inside and explore is at the Florida Caverns State Park. It’s well worth the visit for any lover of nature as it’s home to some of the most beautiful natural places in Florida.
These ancient caves boast gorgeous stalagmite formations draped across the ceiling, hanging over and mirroring their stalactite twins. They sparkle like jewels in the ambient LED cave lights while cool air carries the soothing sounds of dripping water to your ear, creating an otherworldly environment.
If the spectacular formations of the cave aren’t enough for exercise junkies, there are beautiful trails several miles long to hike and bike at the park as well. If you feel up to it, grab your swimsuit and head over to the Blue Hole Spring for an ethereal dip in a pool of pure turquoise.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park certainly offers up one of the most unique landscapes in Florida.
There are cultivated formal gardens that serve as the park’s centrepiece, as well as reflection ponds surrounded by a hammock of old oak trees for that perfect dappled sunlit selfie. The park is home to many exotic trees and plants that give rise to beautiful blooms and enchanting picnic spots.
This park sports a rare occurrence in its shoreline, namely an ancient rock formation of coquina. Not only is it a magnificent sight to behold, but it also offers a vast number of tidal pools brimming with miniature sea life to explore.
Beachcombers will have a blast exploring these for shells and other keepsakes. Visitors are also welcome to fish from the beach or the seawall on the western side of the park.
Whether you take your time meandering along any of the several short trails or spend the whole day at the beach relaxing to the music of crashing waves, there is no wrong choice at this gorgeous location.
Everglades National Park
If there’s one thing we can say about the Everglades, it’s that they are one of the best nature spots in Florida.
The calming harmony of birdsong and grasses swishing in the gentle breezes make for a tranquil retreat like no other. Avid bird watchers will thrill at the vast avian wildlife that abounds in the area, and there’s plenty of water-dwelling alligators and turtles to catch a glimpse of too.
There are a bevy of hiking trails and biking paths to give you different perspectives of the prolific natural landscape and its inhabitants, as well as a canoeing option. The trails are varied, so both the enthusiastic hiker and the inquisitive wanderer will encounter much while being able to explore the Everglades at their own pace.
The Anhinga Trail, in particular, is popular with visitors even though it’s on the shorter side because of the massive degree of wildlife that can be seen. Bring your zoom lenses to get the full experience of nature at its purest at one of the most beautiful places in Florida.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
One of Florida’s claims to fame is its natural barrier reef, which just happens to be the third-largest worldwide. This magnificent and most multicoloured of Florida’s natural wonders can be appreciated in all its glory at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the only underwater park in America.
There is a multitude of ways to experience the incredible wildlife in the park. One of the most intimate is scuba diving or snorkelling. You can enjoy the beauty of the vibrant reefs while brightly coloured tropical fish – and maybe even a sea turtle – swim about you.
Another way popular with tourists of all ages and fitness levels is by glass-bottomed boat tour, where you can get a close-up overhead view of the bustling sea life beneath.
Once you’ve taken in the underwater delights, there are some trails to walk and a peaceful beach to relax at. There’s even a camping site for those who want to turn a day trip into more of a weekend excursion. John Pennekamp is one of Florida’s nature preserves you won’t want to miss out on.
Final Thoughts on Florida, Nature’s Garden of Eden
When it comes to nature, places to visit in Florida are abundant. Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike won’t regret a vacation at this haven of natural places to visit. You can’t go wrong with any of these magnificent natural spectacles, so grab your passport and start planning your trip today.