A charming fishing town with a deep maritime history, Apalachicola is known for its friendly locals and world-renown seafood. Lovely parks line the area, where canopy-shaded sidewalks line the 900 historic listings that range from small cottages and stained glass church windows. With its Old Florida vibes, visitors can gain insight into an era once filled with steamboats and schooners. Walk along the working waterfront and explore the bustling seafood houses, where traditional shrimp boats reel in the day’s catch.
Located on Florida’s far northwest, Perdido Key is situated on a tiny strip of land. Offering an idyllic slice of paradise with rolling, white-sand dunes and warm Gulf waters, a day trip here will feel like you’ve escaped to your own personal oasis. It’s easy to appreciate the area’s breathtaking views and lose track of time, as hiking, crabbing, and fishing are popular activities for visitors. Visitors who simply haven’t had enough during the day can stay overnight, as camping is available if you cross the bridge to Lagoon State Park.
Located just off the Gulf Coast, St. George Island is one of Florida’s favorite hidden gems. With 28 miles of pristine natural landscapes, it is one of the last unspoiled barrier islands in Florida and is even pet-friendly. Boasting endless water-based beach activities, families can take a day trip to capture the area’s peaceful ambiance and go swimming, canoeing, hiking or fishing without the hoards of tourists. Marshes provide premier wildlife viewing, while the area’s strict building codes mean that you won’t capture views of high-rise hotels or chain stores.
Water loving families will delight in a day trip to Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White, as the crystalline waters flow six miles through shaded hammocks. Ideal for a day of swimming, tubing, and kayaking, the Ichetucknee River sits amongst towering live oak and cypress trees that make it an appealing activity on one of Florida’s hot summer days. Declared a National Natural Landmark, the head spring of the river offers plenty of wildlife viewing, from white-tailed deer to great blue herons. Nearby Blue Hole Spring is popular for scuba divers, while picnic and grills are available for those who want to relax.
South Walton’s original community from the 1800s, Grayton Beach is artsy and full of character. Hemingway-style wooden homes line picturesque side streets paved with crushed oyster shells, as Grayton Beach has perfected the balance of history and culture. Colorful cottages are nestled amongst local boutiques and art galleries, while the vibe here is easy-going and unpretentious. Consistently ranking among the most beautiful beaches in the United States, visit Grayton Beach State Park and soak in 400 acres of sugar-sand beaches, nature trails, and a unique coastal dune lake.
Nicknamed “The City of Southern Charm,” Marianna is filled with 19th-century relics and antiques, where the scene of the Civil War Battle of Marianna still stands. The biggest draw to this area is the Florida Caverns State Park, where visitors can come to discover damp caves loaded with limestone stalagmites and stalactites dripping from its ceiling, a process that took millions of years to form. Camping and fishing are also a popular activities here, as many hikers, cyclists and horseback riders find its trails appealing.