We glommed on to a friend’s family state park trip this past weekend — why plan when someone else is doing it right? What a blast! I’ll spare you the details of the whining, donut smearing, fatifying (funny app), dubsmashing (another funny app) and screaming in the mini-van, as what I really want to share is information on the fabulous state parks that are a short ride from here.

First up, Florida Caverns State Park, which is about 3.5 hours west of here. Don’t let the half dressed man at the entrance fool you. This place is incredibly cool, and you learn all about that man in the cave/cavern tour.

Top 10 Florida State Parks

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You can’t make reservations for the tours, so plan accordingly. We left around 8 am and after a delightful lunch at the Marianna, FL Subway (do a better lunch planning job than we did. Historic Marianna is not what you think), we reached the caverns around noon.

The first available tour was at 1:30, but that gave us time for a cool nature hike.  I’d budget 2.5 hours for this park.

After the caverns, we hit Falling Waters State Park, which was about 45 minutes from the Caverns.

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Again, what a find. Sinkholes are mostly things you read about in news of the weird. But, here you can see them live!

The main feature of this park is a really pretty waterfall that flows down into a sinkhole. There are also walking trails (around sinkholes), and a lake for swimming. Plan about an hour for this park, which is plenty.

Our night was spent in Tallahassee. Nothing much to report, except that you definitely get the college town feel here. We had a nice collegiate style dinner at Voo Doo Dog.

Sunday morning we hit our third park, Lafayette Blue Springs Park, which is about 2.5 hours from here.

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As you drive up, you see these cool cabins that are built up on pilings. We didn’t rent one, but looks like a great idea. The park butts up against the Suwannee River.

The main attraction here, if you don’t have a boat, is a natural spring where you can swim. There is a lot of limestone around there, and there’s even a small cave you can swim through. Bring goggles. Our crew couldn’t do the swim due to lack of vision, and it was a bummer.

After a tasty (and I’m being serious here) lunch at a BBQ spot called Tumbleweeds Smokehouse in Mayo, FL, we went to Peacock Springs State Park.

Adventure seekers, this place is cool. Like Lafayette, it’s a swim area. But, the big feature here are the underwater caves.

If you are into spelunking and/or are scuba certified, you are going to FREAK OUT – 33,000 feet (6.25 miles) of underwater caves!

There is also a hiking trail over the caves to give you some perspective, with some sinkhole viewing along the way.

Both Blue Springs and Peacock Springs are about 2 hours from here.

I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend. So much fun, and completely wallet friendly.

Oh, and if you haven’t already been, you should definitely check out Ichetuknee State Park, which is west of here as well. We did this last summer. It is all kinds of crazy fun. You rent tubes for $10, and float down the river. Yee-haw. Seriously a blast and less than 2 hours away.

 

By Gwinn Volen…

To check out more of Gwinn’s work, check out her page here! Ponte Vedra Focus

 

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