4 Tips for Planning a Holiday in Northern Florida
By Space Coast Daily // September 7, 2023
Are you in the mood for a holiday filled with warm sunshine, pristine beaches, and a dash of Southern charm? Look no further than Northern Florida.
This often-overlooked gem of a destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical sites, and cultural experiences that can rival any beachside paradise.
To ensure you make the most of your Northern Florida getaway, here are four tips that will help you plan a memorable holiday.
- Embrace the Diverse Natural Beauty
Northern Florida boasts a remarkable diversity of ecosystems and natural wonders. From the crystal-clear springs of Wakulla Springs State Park to the untouched wilderness of the Apalachicola National Forest, this region is a playground for nature enthusiasts.
Explore the Springs
Florida is famous for its springs, and Northern Florida is no exception. Wakulla Springs, just south of Tallahassee, is one of the deepest and largest known freshwater springs in the world. Dive into its emerald waters, take a riverboat tour to spot manatees and alligators, or simply relax by the water’s edge with a picnic and consider your options using the Routeperfect trip planner.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park offers another aquatic adventure. Float down the Ichetucknee River in a tube or kayak, surrounded by lush greenery and crystal-clear waters. It’s a serene and refreshing experience, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.
Hike and Camp in the Forests
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, head to the Apalachicola National Forest. This sprawling forest covers over half a million acres and offers a range of activities, from hiking and birdwatching to camping and off-road biking. Be sure to check out the Apalachee Savannah Scenic Byway, a 63-mile route that winds through pine flatwoods, open prairies, and cypress swamps.
Savour the Culinary Delights of Northern Florida
Florida’s diverse culinary scene is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage and natural abundance. In Northern Florida, you’ll have the chance to embark on a delightful culinary journey that fuses Southern comfort food, seafood delicacies, and international flavors.
Southern Comfort Food
Indulge in classic Southern dishes that warm the soul and tantalize the taste buds. Northern Florida boasts a wealth of eateries serving up authentic Southern comfort food that’s sure to leave you craving more.
One such spot is Lucy Ho’s in Tallahassee, celebrated for its mouth-watering fried chicken and Southern-style sides. Picture crispy, golden-brown chicken with a side of buttery cornbread and collard greens that have been simmered to perfection. The flavors here transport you straight to a cozy Southern kitchen.
For a true Southern breakfast experience, don’t miss the chance to savor the biscuits and gravy at Maple Street Biscuit Company. These aren’t just any biscuits; they’re fluffy, buttery clouds of perfection smothered in rich, savory gravy. Whether you’re starting your day or indulging in a hearty brunch, this Southern staple is a must-try. And for those with a sweet tooth, their cinnamon pecan pancakes are pure heaven.
With its extensive coastline, Florida is a seafood lover’s paradise, and Northern Florida shines when it comes to the ocean’s bounty. Coastal towns like Apalachicola offer some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. The town is particularly renowned for its oysters, plucked straight from the Gulf of Mexico.
Head to Up the Creek Raw Bar in Apalachicola for a seafood feast like no other. Here, you can enjoy oysters prepared in various delectable ways, from classic raw to char-grilled with butter and Parmesan. The flavors are as fresh as the sea breeze, and the views of the Apalachicola River provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable meal. Pair your seafood delights with a cold drink and soak in the serene atmosphere of this charming coastal gem.
In addition to oysters, don’t miss the chance to sample other local catches like succulent Gulf shrimp, flaky Gulf snapper, or buttery Gulf grouper. Whether you prefer your seafood grilled, blackened, or fried to golden perfection, the restaurants and seafood shacks of Northern Florida are sure to satisfy your cravings.
So, as you explore the natural beauty and historical sites of Northern Florida, make sure to savour its culinary treasures. From the heartwarming flavours of Southern comfort food to the briny delights of the sea, this region offers a unique and delicious dining experience that’s bound to leave your taste buds tingling with delight.
- Immerse Yourself in History
Northern Florida is steeped in history, with plenty of sites that offer a glimpse into the region’s past.
Visit the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, and step back in time as you explore the cobblestone streets, centuries-old forts, and charming Spanish colonial architecture. The Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress, is a must-visit, offering sweeping views of the city and the Matanzas River.
The state capital, Tallahassee, is another historical treasure trove. The Mission San Luis de Apalachee provides an authentic glimpse into the lives of Spanish settlers in the 17th century. Explore reconstructed period buildings and learn about the Apalachee tribe’s history.
- Relax on Pristine Beaches
No Florida holiday is complete without a trip to the beach, and Northern Florida has some stunning options.
St. George Island
For a tranquil beach experience, head to St. George Island, a barrier island known for its pristine white sands and clear waters. It’s an ideal spot for swimming, shelling, or simply lounging by the sea. It’s also a great place for remote workers who are using their jobs to travel. Be sure to stop by the St. George Island Lighthouse for panoramic views of the island.
Amelia Island, near Jacksonville, offers a mix of natural beauty and history. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the Amelia Island Trail, which meanders through maritime forests and salt marshes. Afterward, explore the charming streets of Fernandina Beach, known for its Victorian architecture and vibrant downtown area.
Northern Florida may not always be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a Florida getaway, but it’s a region that’s filled with surprises and delights. From its diverse natural beauty and culinary treasures to its rich historical heritage and pristine beaches, Northern Florida offers a memorable holiday experience for every traveler.
So, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, a taste of Southern comfort food, a journey through history, or simply some relaxation by the sea, Northern Florida has it all. It’s time to start planning your next unforgettable holiday in this hidden gem of the Sunshine State.