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Waterscapes dominate Florida, bringing with them so many incredible adventure options: boating, diving, fishing, board sports. But to grasp the full scope of the state’s outdoors, you also need to think outside the H2O. Here, adventure expands into the forest and marsh, into big cities and small towns, along inland trails and past local farms, even up into those near-constantly sunny skies.

One definition of Florida adventure isn’t enough, which is why we’re presenting five ways to see the best this wild state has to offer. Which one speaks to you?

This post is proudly produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA.

On the water

With three coastlines and many mighty rivers, springs, streams, and estuaries to “wet” your appetite for playing in the water, Florida defines aquatic adventures with terms like bottom time, bioluminescence, and the silver king. Do it right, and you’ll get acquainted with all three.

Diving the Florida Keys

Colorful angelfish, fierce-toothed barracuda, sea turtles the size of golf carts…

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Paddling bioluminescent waters along the Space Coast

Microorganisms known as dinoflagellates make the nighttime waters spark, flicker, and flash…

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Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande

The tarpon, known as the silver king for its impressive size…

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Snorkeling for scallops in Steinhatchee

At the top of Florida’s West Coast, the shoreline habitat is perfect for collecting bay scallops…

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Houseboating the Suwannee River

Prehistoric-looking gulf sturgeon, wilderness landscapes, and Old Florida river towns…

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Photos provided by: Visit Florida, Visit Florida, Michael Seeley, Pete Markham, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Ebyabe

On the trail

Hiking trails of all lengths traverse Florida’s bountiful green spaces and public lands, from the Everglades to Apalachicola National Forest. But they aren’t the only kind of trail — follow these five for adventures from paddling to beer tasting.

Hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail

The truly adventuresome and ambitious can through-hike this 1,300-mile trail…

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Paddling the Everglades’ Wilderness Waterway

It takes at least eight days to paddle this 99-mile route…

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Biking Florida’s Rails-to-Trails

Pedal paved routes that trains once steamed along…

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Climbing the East Coast’s Lighthouse Trail

Florida’s trail of lighthouses is an adventure just from below. But the climb up?…

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Biking and sipping along the Tampa Bay Ale Trail

For those whose definition of adventure includes pedal-pushing and elbow-bending…

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In the air

Thanks to its year-round flying-friendly skies, Florida offers all kinds of different options for getting airborne. Here are five ideas for a sky-high adventure, spanning the spectrum of extremity — from flightseeing excursions to straight up jumping out of a plane.

Skydiving above the Sunshine State

You can take the ultimate plunge at locations throughout Florida…

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Hot-air ballooning in Orlando

If you’re seeking a fresh perspective on the theme parks…

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Flightseeing in the Everglades

An Alaskan bush plane sweeps you above the islands, hammocks, and wetlands…

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Hang gliding in the Florida breeze

Florida’s lack of significant elevation doesn’t keep its visitors grounded…

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Kite surfing at St. Augustine Beach

Catch some serious air at this famed windsurfing beach…

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Photos provided by: Rusty Clark, Visit Florida, Highlander411, Wallaby Ranch, Photo YourSpace

With the wildlife

Roseate spoonbills, manatees, leatherback sea turtles, alligators, river otters, and more — Florida wildlife is the stuff of Animal Planet meets Dr. Seuss. Here are some of the best places to get up close and personal (or, as close as a healthy respect for nature allows).

Birding in the Dry Tortugas

Big pink birds that eat with spoons…

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Snorkeling with manatees around Crystal River

The eponymous national wildlife refuge here welcomes herds of manatees…

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Watching nesting sea turtles on Melbourne Beach

May through July, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society leads nighttime walks…

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Airboating with gators on Lake Jesup

Alligators were often relocated to this lake, where their population is now estimated at 10,000…

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Swimming with dolphins in the Keys

You’re gonna smile as wide as a dolphin…

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At the table

Adventures in dining happen in the great outdoors throughout the state, throughout the year. From farm-to-table experiences to al fresco festivals, they impart a true flavor of Florida and will further broaden your definition of “adventure.”

Dining at beach shacks

You’ll find beach shacks, the quintessential Florida dining experience…

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Checking out food & drink festivals

Whiskey primers and salt-and-honey tastings. Celebrity chefs plating tapas with wine pairings…

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Tasting the best of farm-to-table fresh

The agritourism scene is exploding in Florida…

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Indulging in the seafood scene

You can’t throw a rock without hitting a lake, river, or stream in Florida…

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This post is proudly produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA.
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