With beautiful weather all year-round, the only thing that changes about Florida throughout the year is the unique natural adventures. Come discover and experience Florida's incredible outdoor activities and adventures this winter
JACKSONVILLE: From inland to deep-sea fishing, Jacksonville can satisfy that itch to reel in a big one. Jacksonville offers everything you could want for a fishing trip: bass fishing, river fishing, inland fishing and deep-sea fishing. With more than 20 fish species in Jacksonville, making an exciting catch has never been more within reach. The best time to catch fish in Jacksonville is in late summer through mid-fall, as larger fish like striped bass, king mackerel, cobia and redfish target schooling small winter fish. Jacksonville features many popular fishing tournaments throughout the year too. In October, The Flounder Pounder tournament brings some of the best anglers in the Southeast to Jacksonville in search of the biggest flounder in the area.
Recently named one of the best zoos in the United States, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has exotic animals and beautiful plant species to learn about. As one of only seven zoos in the country with an animal wellness team, the zoo helps to provide top-quality care for its animals while educating the public.
Every Winter, Zoo Lights transforms the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a colorful winter wonderland. Using thousands of LED lights, explore nighttime displays of moving sculptures, forested landscapes and animal silhouettes. Get in a festive mood with street performers, carolers and hot chocolate and smores for the full holiday spirit.
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is the go-to spot for those in search of North Florida natural wonders. Hike through 46,000 acres of coastal wetlands, salt marshes and hardwood forests and explore historical sites like the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Kingsley Plantation on guided group tours or individual nature outings. It’s recommend travellers plan for at least two hours to explore these large, historical artifacts.
Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island State Parks are an intriguing mixture of both beach and coastal woodland settings. These secluded natural wonders offer some of the most unique ecosystems, beaches and outdoor recreational activities in the area. Explore the infamous Boneyard Beach, where uprooted, white-washed trees litter the sandy shores like a dinosaur boneyard; or visit one of the most popular fishing destinations in the area: the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park. Another main attraction, Blackrock Beach, has large black rocks along the shoreline – some of which are among the oldest rock formations in the world. The State Pak offers bike rentals and campgrounds to immerse yourself in the Florida wilderness. With Kayak Amelia, travellers can tour Simpson Creek, which is the body of water between the two Talbot Islands, to get a glimpse of the wildlife that lives there.
ADVENTURE COAST: From a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, immerse yourself on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville–Weeki Wachee waterways, ranging from winding rivers to tidal estuaries, where freshwater flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The spring-fed Weeki Wachee River and the scenic Bayport–Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail each offer unique experiences on the water and opportunities for wildlife viewing throughout the year. Look for bald eagles, coastal wading birds, river otters and manatees. Bring your own vessel or view listings of canoe and kayak rental companies to help you get out on the water and into the fun.
From the Gulf of Mexico coastline, riversides and lakeshores to environmentally sensitive and deeply forested, a third of Florida’s Adventure Coast is devoted to outdoor recreation. Take advantage of Florida’s comfortable winters by exploring scenic wildlands. Local favorites include the Weeki Wachee Preserve, the Withlacoochee State Forest and Chinsegut Conservation Center, each offering miles of hiking trails and unique wildlife to spot. For sunset views, pack a picnic and visit coastal gems like Bayport Park, Linda Pedersen Park or Pine Island Beach Park.
27 mermaids have traveled from nearby Weeki Wachee to make their home in Brooksville – Can you find them all? The Florida Mermaid Trail is a fun and mer-mazing scavenger hunt, featuring 27 mermaid statues hidden throughout downtown. Complete with a charming map with clues offering hints for finding the mermaid statues, this trail also serves as a self-guided tour of historic downtown Brooksville. Wander over brick-paved streets, past charming shops, museums, murals and delightful cafes as you search for mermaids along the way.
SOUTH WALTON: Grayton Beach State Park consistently ranks among the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States. The beach provides an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing and surf fishing, and is the backdrop for golden sunrises and silver moonlit evenings. The nearly 2,000-acre park features a boat ramp that provides access to the lake's brackish waters for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Visitors can paddle a canoe, stand-up paddle board o kayak on cenic Western Lake to get a closer look at a salt marsh ecosystem.
One of the most widely used paved paths in South Walton is the Timpoochee Trail. The paved multi-use path winds through 12 beach neighborhoods along Scenic Highway 30A, traversing recreational areas, state parks, the state forest and 15 rare coastal dune lakes. The trail parallels the entire length of Scenic Highway 30A from Dune Allen to Inlet Beach and is safe, wide and relatively flat. Rental bikes are available from several shops along th length of the trail. After one ride along the Timpoochee, your bike may become the preferred mode of transportation at the beach.
With all this wonderful, wild nature comes incredible opportunities to explore it, whether on the water, on foot or on horseback. These parks and preserves give visitors a chance to see South Walton in its natural state and get a close-up look at a unique landscape shaped by centuries of wind and water
ST.PETE/CLEARWATER: St. Pete/Clearwater’s beaches and adventure experiences offer the perfect escape from winter. Spend the week beach hopping. With plenty of beaches to choose from, there’s a right beach for everyone. Honeymoon Island is for wildlife lovers, Fort De Soto is for dog lovers, Clearwater Beach is for families, Treasure Island is for LGBTQ+ travelers and the list goes on! With 35 miles of uninterrupted coastline, including some of Florida’s top-rated beaches, a booming arts and a culture scene anchored by The Dalí Museum, it’s no surprise that St. Pete/Clearwater is one of the most popular tourism destinations on the Gulf of Mexico.
Caladesi Island State Park is one of the few untouched islands on the Gulf Coast. Only accessible by boat, Caladesi Island makes for the perfect day in nature. Whether it's taking a stroll along the pristine beaches or kayaking through the mangrove forest, find your place in nature and relax to the sweet ocean breeze. Visitors looking to stay closer to land should be sure to head over to Weedon Island Preserve. Located 20 minutes outside of downtown St. Petersburg, it offers a serene nature escape accessible to everyone whether the visitor chooses to hike through the 3,700 acres of land or paddle through the waters to observe the 2,000 years of history.
PENSACOLA: With mild temperatures all season long, Pensacola is another perfect destination for any winter wanderer. Whether diving below the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf during idyllic visibility conditions or delving into the destination’s rich history in Historic Downtown Pensacola, this coastal destination is perfect for adventure goers.
Located nearly 200 feet beneath the Gulf Coast lies the USS Oriskany, aka “The Mighty O.” This shipwrecked 872-foot aircraft carrier now acts as the world’s largest artificial reef, hosting an entire marine ecosystem. Affectionately nicknamed the “Great Carrier Reef,” visitors can rent gear to take a dive and swim among goliath grouper, sea turtles, sunfish, eagle rays, tuna, amberjack and tropical fish as they explore Pensacola’s deeper waters. All year long, visitors can also enjoy one or more of Pensacola’s national and state parks like the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Tarkiln Bayou State Park and Perdido Key State Park. Featuring hiking and biking trails, kayaking, premier bird watching, shelling, fishing and much more, adventurers can explore all edges of the Gulf along Pensacola during the destination’s off-season months. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a visit to Pensacola without a walk along the multi-mile stretch of the destination’s sugar-white sands to experience an idyllic sunrise and sunset, watch surfers catch their next big wave or take in the sights from the pier.
SPACE COAST: Travelers can partake in Dade City’s Annual Kumquat Festival in January 2023 in the historic downtown area. This unique “old Florida” celebration showcases local kumquat growers and their delicious citrus offerings, followed by a quilt show highlighting the city’s rich history. More than 200 vendors delivering arts and crafts, food, beverages and more participate in the annual festival. The beloved and quirky event offers free admission to allow visitors to try creatively themed creations like Kumquat smoothies and ice cream, Kumquat salsa and the famous Kumquat Pie, of course!
The Sunshine State offers visitors an assortment of unparalleled culinary options. To learn more and plan your next trip, visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com.
About VISIT FLORIDA
VISIT FLORIDA is the Sunshine State’s official tourism marketing corporation and travel planning resource for visitors across the globe. As Florida’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming over 122 million visitors in 2021, an increase of 54 percent from 2020. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs, and serves more than 13,000 travel industry partners throughout the state. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter, or go to visitflorida.org. For inspiration in the Sunshine State follow @VISITFLORIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.visitflorida.com. For media resources, visit www.visitfloridamedia.com.
About Vox International
VoX International is a Canadian-owned destination marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada with offices in Vancouver and Montreal, providing Canadian representation nationally. VoX is a full-service sales, marketing, event planning and public relations agency led by a team of high profile, knowledgeable travel industry executives. Recognized as a marketplace leader, VoX offers a wide range of support within the North American meeting, incentive, events, and hospitality and leisure tourism sectors. VoX’s passion for providing personal, innovative and results driven solutions are key factors for driving the company’s reputation for success.
Senior Public Relations Manager
VISIT FLORIDA – Canada
416-935-1896 ext. 242