The Great Outdoors of Florida ~Summer of COVID~

If you caught our latest blog post, you read the evidence that spending time in the great outdoors helps improve your mental and physical well-being (click here if you missed it). And we offered some great get-out-and-enjoy-nature recommendations for beating the COVID doldrums, with specific recommendations for Rochester and the Finger Lakes, where we live.

We have friends, family, and clients in Florida, so we know a few things. For one, we know it’s Florida-hot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time in the outdoors with some cool activities. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Florida state parks are a great way to spend the day surrounded by nature now that they’re starting to open up again – and chances are good that there’s at least one that’s close to you. Take Myakka River State Park for example: depending on what’s allowed with social distancing, you can camp, hike, swim and kayak or paddle board.

Ever hunted for megalodon teeth? Well, Venice Beach in Sarasota County is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. There have even been some found as big as your hand.

Of course, there’s nothing that can compare to Everglades National Park. From birdwatching, biking and camping, to paddling, fishing and hiking, the ‘Glades has it all.

Kayaking in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are not just about partying on Key West’s Duval Street. For those looking for a more solitary experience, kayaking provides endless possibilities. In the upper Keys, John Pennekamp State Park provides great paddling for all levels, including a coral reef to explore. The lower keys, from Big Pine Key to Key West has countless small keys and mangroves to paddle with adolescent bonnethead and reef sharks, rays and myriad aquatic birds. You’ll even likely come across the famous small key deer.

St. Pete Pier

Few cities can boast a downtown waterfront park system that matches St. Petersburg. And now it’s even bigger and better with the new downtown pier . After a seven-year renovation, it opened this month touting acres of additional greenspace, beach, and kids’ playgrounds. The Coastal Thicket, which runs along the north side of the Pier, invites you to take a relaxing walk or bike ride through an oasis of native Florida plants, trees and shrubs. Plus you can step away from the Great Outdoors for a meal and cocktail.

Florida Beach

We’ve all seen the scary pictures of overcrowded Florida beaches, but the reality is if you want a stretch of white sand all to yourself, it’s fairly easy to find in Florida. On the east coast, we like the beaches that stretch north and south of the Vero Beach area. There are numerous places along A1A that provide free parking, bathrooms/shower facilities and not a lot of people. On the west coast of the state, Fort DeSoto State Park is big, spacious and often very quiet.

For a peaceful, easy stroll, check out Bok Tower Gardens outside of Tampa. It’s a “highest point in Florida” retreat that’s famous for its carillon bells, its 200 acres of nature and garden trails, its friendly squirrels and, holy moly, don’t look up, SO MANY SPIDERS in the tree canopy. It’s a little other-worldly.

Share your ideas!

Where do you like to go when you want to get outdoors where you are? What sort of activities do you enjoy in order to Live a Richer Life? Send us your recommendations so we can add them to our list

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