Manatee Springs State Park

Top choice in Florida Panhandle

This park is worth a stop for a dip into the 72˚F crystalline waters of the beautiful eponymous spring. On dry land – a spongy combo of sand and limestone shaded by tupelo, cypress and pine – there's the 8.5-mile-long North End hiking/cycling trail. You can also scuba dive (bring your own gear and register at the office) at the springhead, which gushes 117 million gallons of water per day, or canoe or kayak along the spring run (kayak/canoe $16/20 per hour).

Camping ($20 per night) is also available at 94 shady spots with picnic tables and ground grills. A highlight here is the wheelchair-accessible raised timber boardwalk that traces the narrow spring down to the Suwannee River as it flows to the gulf and out to sea. Ranger programs include guided canoe journeys, moonlight hikes, nature walks and occasional covered-wagon rides. Contact the park office for details.

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