PAYNES PRAIRIE STATE PRESERVE, FL — For a short hike with guaranteed wildlife sightings, you can’t beat the La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie State Preserve south of Gainesville. This trail (3 miles round trip) is just teeming with critters: dozens of alligators, a myriad of birds, even an occasional herd of wild bison or […]
Florida State Parks
FLORIDA CAVERNS STATE PARK, FL — Florida is full of caves. But unless you’ve got scuba equipment, special certification, and what some might call a death wish, you’ll never get to see most of them. Since Florida’s water table is so close to the surface, few of its caves are dry. Florida Caverns State Park […]
MARJORIE RAWLINGS STATE PARK, FL — Marjorie Rawlings’ Cross Creek home remains a page out of one of her novels. From the veranda of her rambling Cracker house she wrote such classic Florida stories as The Yearling and Cross Creek. But it turned out perfectly. “When I came to the Creek,” Rawlings wrote, “I knew […]
FALLING WATERS STATE PARK — For a state with as little elevation as Florida, a 70-foot waterfall is truly unique. In fact, it’s more than 10 times higher than the average elevation of the state. What’s more strange, it originates at ground level. It begins as a small, rather ordinary stream that winds through a forest […]
The earliest review of Blue Spring gave the place an 18th-century version of thumbs down. Naturalist John Bartram visited Blue Spring in January of 1766, and found a “surprising fountain … the colour of the sea, [that] smelled like bilge water, tasting sweetish and loathsome.” Fortunately for modern travelers, the chemistry of the spring has changed […]
If the dream of Dr. Cyrus Teed had come true, the capital of the world would be located just south of Fort Myers, Florida. A century later, the fascinating remains of Teed’s failed utopia are preserved at the Koreshan State Historic Site. The story began in 1869 when Teed, a 30-year-old Chicago physician, had a revelation that he was the Messiah. He changed his name to Koresh (the Hebrew form of ‘Cyrus’), and in 1894 he led his wealthy followers into the muggy wilderness of Estero, where they founded a commune called the Koreshan Unity.