North Florida is home to a ton of diverse activities to do this summer! From springs and rivers to historic sites and hiking trails, North Florida has a little something for everyone. If you’re ready to create your summer bucket list, check out these 12 places to visit!
1. Spring Hop in High Springs
High Springs is the home of the Santa Fe River, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, Poe Springs, Rum Island Springs, and many more smaller springs. My favorite way to see them all is to launch a kayak or canoe on the Santa Fe River and paddle to them all. Rum138 is a great rental option, or you can launch your own boat from the High Springs Public Boat Ramp. In downtown High Springs, you can also check out antique shops, High Springs Brewing, or mini golf at the Pink Flamingo Diner.
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2. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens
Cedar Lakes is a beautiful botanical garden with cascading waterfalls, 50+ garden displays, koi ponds, and countless breathtaking views! The lakes are the focal point of the park, with meandering paths and gardens all around. There are many great spots for a picnic within the grounds. Group this together with next door Devils Den Spring, or Two Tails Elephant Ranch for a fun day trip!
3. Devils Millhopper Geological State Park
Devils Millhopper is one of the most unique Florida State Parks, because you can climb down 120 feet into a sinkhole! Although the park is relatively small, the stairs and boardwalk down into the lush tropical sinkhole are really worth the trip! After a good rain, waterfalls even trickle down into the sinkhole, making summer the perfect time to visit this gem.
Check out even more things to do in Gainesville to make this part of an awesome day trip or weekend trip!
4. Cedar Key
Directly to the west of Gainesville, Cedar Key is an Old Florida town on the Gulf Coast. Explore Cedar Key Museum State Park, Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, or enjoy plentiful waterfront shopping and dining with Old Florida charm. There are many historic bed & breakfasts to stay in if you prefer to make this a weekend getaway (I would)!
5. Ravine Gardens State Park
Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, FL feels like stepping into another state. On the trails you’ll encounter elevation changes, two suspension bridges, stone stairs, roots, observation platforms, and more. There are four trails you can take at the park, including a paved loop trail around the ravines. February is prime time to visit the park during the peak azalea bloom, but you can avoid some of the crowds by visiting in the summer instead!
6. Falling Waters State Park
Located in the Florida panhandle, Falling Waters State Park is home to the tallest waterfall in the state of Florida, which is around 70 feet tall. Summer is a great time to visit, because the waterfall has the best flow when there’s been a lot of recent rainfall, which is most likely in the summer. The park is also home to lush sinkholes, boardwalks, and a campground. Nearby is Florida Caverns State Park, another great stop during the summer!
7. Silver Springs State Park
If you’re traveling via I-75, Silver Springs makes a great stop along the way. You can’t miss the world-famous historic glass bottom boats and the gorgeous collection of springs that feed the Silver River. Kayaking the Fort King Paddling trail is also an incredible experience! The hiking trails at the second entrance are definitely worth a stop as well.
8. Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
Mike Ross Gold Head Branch State Park has beautiful hiking trails around a ravine and
Gold Head Branch creek. There are elevation changes, boardwalks, stepping stone logs, and little pools along the creek to discover. The area around the Ravine is very lush, but the park is also home to rolling sandhills and old longleaf pine forests. The park is very quiet and peaceful, but there are plenty of activities like swimming, fishing, and horseback riding. This is one of the oldest Florida State Parks, opened in 1935. This park is definitely a hidden gem!
9. Boneyard Beach
Big Talbot Island is home to the famous bluffs of Boneyard Beach, where sun-bleached trees line the shore. The park has a couple different entrances with hiking trails and pavilions. Additionally, you can kayak around the island’s salt marshes and see the trees from the water. There are several nearby state parks also in the Amelia Island area and some great beaches! Fort Clinch, also on this list, is nearby as well.
10. Big Shoals State Park
Big Shoals State Park in North Florida offers visitors a rare opportunity to see rapids and waterfalls in Florida. As the state’s largest whitewater rapids, the shoals are a stunning sight to behold with sparkling white water cascading over the rocks. With the park’s diverse ecosystems and abundance of wildlife, visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.
11. Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch is a historic civil war-era fort. Visitors to the park can explore the fort’s many rooms, galleries, and grounds, as well as learn about the history of the fort. Visit on the first weekend of every month for a living history reenactment where soldiers fire cannons and demonstrate other battlefield skills. Besides the fort, the park also offers hiking trails, camping, fishing, shelling, and more across 1400 acres.
12. Micanopy, FL
Micanopy is a small town in North Central Florida with amazing antique shops and history. Admire the plentiful historic buildings surrounded by old oak trees dripping with spanish moss. Check out the Micanopy Historic Cemetery, grab a coffee from Mosswood Farm Store, or visit Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Ducking into the plentiful antique shops is a great way to escape the summer heat.
The information in this post was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. If you are planning to visit any of the sites mentioned in this post, we recommend checking the most up-to-date information on their respective websites.
This post contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you.