Wherever your Florida holiday takes you, one thing is for sure: you won’t have to look far for natural wonders. With a diverse landscape of pristine beaches, lush preserves, colourful reefs, and crystal clear springs - beauty spans this southern state from top to bottom. Yet for the greatest experiences, you will want to natural phenomenons...
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Stretching 160 miles from Mississippi to Western Florida, the Gulf Islands National Seashore has natural beauty stamped all over it. Encompassing white sand beaches, historical sites, and plenty of hiking trails, there is much to explore. And for any keen bird watchers, this prime spot could have you ticking off nearly 300 species of birds.
A great option for exploring the wonders of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is by ferry. Board your boat at either Pensacola Beach or Fort Pickens, and cruise the emerald waters in style. For extra beauty points, you may want to opt for the Sunset Cruise at 6pm.
Everglades National Park
The largest subtropical wilderness in the USA, Everglades National Park boasts an unparalleled landscape. Sitting at the southern tip of Florida, it holds a massive network of forests, marshes, and prairies. Established as a national park in 1934, it now holds the accolades of UNESCO World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance – so, it's easy to see why it’s one of Florida’s most awe-inspiring attractions.
Plus, you can even see Florida’s biggest star here… and no, we’re not talking about Mickey Mouse. We mean the gator. Home to over 200,000 alligators, it is the ideal spot to get a glimpse of these Florida natives, especially along the scenic drive, Alligator Alley (hence the name).
Blue Spring State Park
Covering more than 2,600 acres, this gem along the St John’s River is not only the dictionary definition of beauty, but it also has another speciality. This spring is the winter home for hundreds of manatees sheltering from the cold, and many visitors flock here to catch a glimpse of this unique sight. Though whichever season you choose to visit Blue Spring State Park, you won’t be short on options. You can spend the day swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, or hiking, before heading for a picnic. There are also campgrounds for anyone looking to extend their stay at the park, epitomising how no one wants to leave this slice of paradise.
Florida has its own Great Barrier Reef, rivalling its equivalent down under. It is the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only living one in the USA. Spanning over 350 miles of coastline from Dry Tortugas National Park to the St Lucie Inlet, there is a vast underwater world of colour waiting to be explored. We recommend doing so at Biscayne National Park. Beyond being the perfect spot to explore stunning coral formations and enchanting marine life, this park also ensures the reef is protected.
Caverns State Park
A list of Florida’s greatest natural wonders wouldn’t be complete without Caverns State Park. Inside their famous caves, you can tickle your senses with the hit of cool air, the sounds of dripping water, and the visuals of extraordinary stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Located in the Florida Panhandle, it’s the only place in the state to offer cave tours to the public (only every Thursday to Monday off-season). Visitors get the chance to explore a dozen cave rooms while learning all about the cave’s history, early uses, and geological formations. Plus, if you’re lucky (or perhaps unlucky for some), you may encounter a bat or two.
Falling Waters State Park
Falling Waters State Park is the only place in Florida to witness the majestic wonders of a 73-foot waterfall (that's us sold). Yet aside from this major draw, the park is also home to a variety of hiking trails suited to the seasoned pro, as well as the casual walker. Traverse through a lush landscape which will take you to a 100-foot-deep sinkhole, the two-acre Turtle Lake, and several historic points of interest. Also, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for deer, fox squirrels, and turtles, as they all inhabit the area.
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline, the Blowing Rocks Preserve are the largest rock formation of its kind on the Atlantic Coast. This Jupiter Island preserve is truly a sight to behold in high tide. During this time, the waves surge the limestone shore, shooting water as high as 50 feet into the air. Before you spend too much time waiting for that perfect camera shot, you can unwind on the soft sand or get those steps in on one of the picturesque trails on offer.
When looking for the ultimate tropical paradise, Caladesi Island is a top contender. One of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast, it’s accessible via a private boat or a twenty-minute ferry ride from Honeymoon Island. Once there, you will uncover the glory of pure white sand, sparkling turquoise waters, and lush greenery. And, when you’ve soaked up the jaw-dropping scenery, there is also a range of amenities to enjoy. Kayak amongst the mangrove trails, take a stroll through the slash pines landscape and marina or take in a spot of nature study in a place where shore birds and sea turtles call home.
Being Florida’s largest freshwater lake, it’s only natural that it would be one of the state’s greatest natural wonders. Central to a region historically known for its agriculture, it’s now also known for its superior fishing, attracting many visitors on the prowl for Large Mouth Bass and Speckled Perch. But another of Lake Okeechobee’s claims to fame lies in its lucrative sugarcane industry from the rich earth surroundings. Clewiston, on the lake’s southern shore, is even known as ‘America’s Sweetest Town,’ so, be sure to do one of their famous Sugarland Tours.
Ready to find your slice of paradise? Explore the wonders of the Sunshine State with one of our 2023 & 2024 Florida Holiday offers.