Natural North Florida: Untouched Paradise
No big hotels or any other signs of mass tourism anywhere – the area in North and Central Florida, also known as Natural North Florida, feels wonderfully relaxing and fascinates with authentic charm and untouched nature. This true paradise where you can take a deep breath and enjoy an oasis of calmness quickly makes me forget about the stress of everyday life.
Paddling on the Wacissa River
The warm morning sun greets me at the edge of the Wacissa River near Wacissa in Jefferson County. An almost magical calmness lies over the surrounding landscape and light fog hovers from the cypress forests along the riverbanks, as I enter a canoe and paddle along the crystal-clear water of the river. The Wacissa is fed by several underground freshwater springs, and I can see right to the ground. A fascinating sight, and truly I see alligators and snapping turtles make their way through the waters below me. Every now and then there´s the sound of one of the many birds of this region, and here on the Wacissa today, I start feeling a sense of unity with the wild and untouched nature of northern Florida. What a great start for my discovery tour through the region! If you´re planning a multi-day kayak trip, you should definitely try the nearby Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, a 167-mile trail that takes you right to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Most Freshwater Springs in the World
Natural North Florida is known for having the most springs in the entire world, so my discovery tour takes me to Fanning Springs, Ginnie Springs and the Convict Springs, before I decide to take a rest at the beautiful Madison Blue Spring State Park on the scenic Withlacoochee River. Especially impressive are the many underwater caves of the region that you can discover on a diving tour. Or you can spend your time in one of the many picnic areas in the park to relax and enjoy the wonderful calmness.
Cedar Key and the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail
Everywhere along the way here I meet friendly and helpful people and the many small towns in Natural North Florida exude a pleasant warmth. In Cedar Key especilaly, it appears like time has stood still for a while. The main street through this quaint old fishing town has remained unchanged for decades. After a little snack in a historic diner, located directly on the water, I end my day with a relaxing kayak tour. Just off the coast, you´ll find the Cedar Key National Park, a protected natural paradise, whose many small islands and creeks I explore. From here, you can also follow the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail that travels more than 100 miles along the coast heading north.
And so a wonderful and relaxing time in Natural North Florida ends for me, in the midst of a scenic landscape that fascinates me with tranquil beauty and lets me forget about hectic everyday life. This area is an absolute dream holiday spot for me and for anyone else who wants to take a deep breath away from it all.