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It’s no secret that Florida has an abundance of attractions that offer breathtaking natural beauty. From white sand beaches to mysterious caves, the Sunshine State is full of impressive wonders and diverse landscapes just waiting for visitors to explore. Spanning the state from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys, discover some of Florida’s greatest natural wonders.
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Crystal Clear Springs
The crown jewels of Florida’s natural beauty, the Sunshine State boasts more than 700 natural freshwater springs, more than anywhere else in the world. You can visit Silver Glen Springs in the lush Ocala National Forest, observe a manatee refuge at Blue Spring State Park, go tubing through leafy shaded hammocks at Ichetucknee Springs, or visit the 10,000-year-old historic spring at Rainbow Springs State Park. Whichever spring you choose to explore, you are sure to find refreshing crystal clear springs, lush landscapes, and picture-perfect natural beauty.
Florida is home to the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world and the only living one in the U.S., making it a true highlight of the state’s natural beauty. Reefs like this make for some of the best snorkeling in Florida. Known as the Great Florida Reef, these reef corals are protected by two unique underwater parks, Biscayne National Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Here you can soak in the lush tropical vegetation surroundings while you glide through the water with a pair of flippers to explore the beautiful coral formations and colorful marine life.
Impressive National Parks
While each of Florida’s National Parks could clearly be mentioned on their own, the Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park are among the top destinations for those seeking the Sunshine State’s most stunning natural landscapes. Covering 1.5 million acres, the Everglades is the country’s biggest subtropical preserve and 3rd largest national park in the U.S., filled with swamps, mangroves, and diverse wildlife. Dry Tortugas, on the other hand, is one of the world’s most remote national parks where you’ll find vibrant snorkeling and a unique 19th-century fort.
Florida has a unique combination of sinkholes, air-filled caves and underwater cave systems that you won’t find anywhere else. Explore the only air-filled caves open to the public at Florida Caverns State Park and tour the dramatic stalagmites and stalactites rising and dripping from the ceiling. If you prefer to explore caves underwater, visit the 60-foot deep prehistoric and ancient rock formations at Devil’s Den or 30,000 feet of complex freshwater passageways at Devil’s Eye in the immaculate Ginnie Springs.
Diverse State Parks
From the mysterious 120-foot sinkhole at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park to the oddly twisted bleached tree skeletons on Big Talbot Island State Park, Florida has a long list of state parks that make it impossible to narrow it down the best. Choose your adventure with deserted island vibes on Honeymoon Island State Park, diverse wildlife viewing in the 58 square miles of wilderness preserve at Myakka River State Park, or swim through crystal clear waters with an underwater mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
Florida is known for its world-class beaches, and with so many to choose from, you can always find the perfect spot to suit your needs. Revelers will be in their element in South Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach, while those looking for a quiet island retreat will enjoy the secluded Caladesi Island and St. George Island. If you’re seeking beaches with accolades, Clearwater Beach and Siesta Beach are among the top-rated for quality and natural beauty, while Perdido Key and Santa Rosa Beach sit in the unspoiled, preserved beach area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Florida has a diverse set of preserves scattered around the state, such as the historically significant Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve with unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic. Nature lovers will appreciate 54,000 acres of unspoiled dry prairie at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, diverse wildlife viewing at Paynes Prairie State Preserve State Park, and the Florida National Scenic Trail at Big Cypress National Preserve. An environmental preserve unlike any other, Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound offers the largest exposed section of Antarctica limestone on the East Coast.
While we can’t compete with waterfalls like Niagra, Florida has its own brand of unique falls scattered around the state that are worth exploring. With the right combination of conditions, you can witness a 73-foot waterfall disappear into a 100-foot-deep and 20-foot-wide cylindrical sinkhole at Falling Waters State Park in Chipley. Certainly impressive for being situated in the flattest terrain in the US, stroll a picturesque boardwalk and you’ll discover a 10-12 foot waterfall over limestone at Falling Creek Falls in Lake City. You’ll find the widest falls in the state at Steinhatchee Falls, an area known for gorgeous natural Florida landscapes.
While Florida is full of gorgeous lakes that are a hotspot for summer activities, its also known for its picturesque lakes. Only found in a few other places in the world like Australia, New Zealand, and Madagascar, the rare coastal dune lakes in South Walton are truly a natural wonder like no other. Made up of 15 lakes on a 26-mile stretch of pristine beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast, these shallow 5-foot deep freshwater coastal dune lakes are formed by redistributed sand formed by the wind, forming a unique landscape that will take your breath away. Don’t miss Lake Okeechobee, which is Florida’s largest lake. It’s shore curves past small towns, canefields, pastures and orange groves, while a 110-mile (mostly) paved trail encircles the lake, called Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.