JOURNEYS

A Northwest Florida Adventure From Forest to Gulf

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WAKULLA SPRINGS STATE PARK

Kayak through inland waterways, mountain-bike on trails through longleaf pine trees, zipline over lush marshlands, and do all of it without leaving the Tallahassee area. Florida’s capital is full of adventure activities. When you’re ready for some time by the sea, take the two-hour drive to Panama City Beach to start your day with yoga on the sand, go fishing or rent jet skis in the afternoon, and ride the towering SkyWheel at Pier Park. And take a day to visit Cape San Blas where you can ride horseback beside the Gulf of Mexico. Finish off the night on the beach with a professionally set-up campfire with the works: marshmallows, fire pit, chairs, and coolers all included.

Trip Designer

VISIT FLORIDA

The official source for planning Florida travel, VISIT FLORIDA is a nonprofit dedicated to sharing all the state has to offer, from the most romantic dining spots in Tampa to the best biking trails in Tallahassee. Discover how the distinctive regions of the state, filled with natural beauty, fascinating culture and history, and delicious cuisine, offer destinations for all types of travelers.

Trip Highlight

Apalachicola National Forest

Whether you’re an avid biker or first-timer, riding the Munson Hills Trail through the longleaf pine forests of the Apalachicola National Forest is a must-do. It’s Florida’s biggest forest, where you’ll also find opportunities for swimming, hiking, and kayaking.
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ONE OF TALLAHASSEE’S LIVE OAKS

COLIN HACKLEY/COLIN HACKLEY

DAY 1Tallahassee

Welcome to Florida’s capital. Get situated at Hotel Indigo, near music venues, art galleries, and trendy restaurants and bars in Tallahassee’s College Town neighborhood. If you’re hungry, head around the corner to Madison Social, a bar and eatery with all the classic pub fare. Try their award-winning BLT dip appetizer. Another lodging option is the Hotel Duval downtown, or try the Ball House for a quieter stay in a historic property.

Start your trip with an adrenaline rush—the Tree-to-Tree Adventure at the Tallahassee Museum. Tackle 16 zip lines that criss-cross over cypress swamps and forest while you maneuver swinging steps and balance bridges. You’ll want to look down as you may spot some of the wildlife that lives here: Florida panthers, black bears, red and gray foxes, and bald eagles.

Close out the afternoon with a drive down one of Tallahassee’s nine canopy roads. Moss-covered oaks and hickory trees are among the giants that make up an arboreal umbrella over these official canopy roads whose origins date to the 1600s. Grab a drink at Bar 1903 when you’re back in town to celebrate the start of an epic Florida journey. Follow it with dinner across the street at the Il Lusso, where chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create high-end Italian-inspired dishes, including handcrafted pasta.
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WAKULLA SPRINGS

DAY 2Tallahassee’s waterways

Fill up on breakfast at the hotel’s R&R Eatery before journeying to Tallahassee’s waterways for a Harry Smith Outdoors eco tour. Knowledgeable guides will take you on a kayak exploration of the spring-fed Wacissa River where you’ll “spring hop” between the 12 different known springs that feed this crystal-clear waterway. Harry Smith and his guides are knowledgeable on Tallahassee’s ecology and passionate about sharing it with paddlers. To cool off after your kayak tour, the Wacissa River is great for taking a dip, and there are multiple rope swings available to the public.

After paddling and swimming, it’s time to take a hike. First, head toward Wakulla Springs, about 25 minutes away by car. If you’re hungry, stop en route at Kast Net, a family-owned seafood restaurant serving baskets of fresh fried fish. At nearby Wakulla Springs, walk the Cherokee Sink Trail to come to the turquoise blue waters of a massive sinkhole where you can swim with turtles. Once you’re back in Tallahassee and freshened up, have dinner tonight at Table 23, great for Southern comfort food like fried green tomatoes and pecan-crusted okra.
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MOUNTAIN-BIKING IN APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST

DAY 3Apalachicola National Forest

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Grove Market Cafe, because today it’s time to hop on two wheels. Tallahassee has a plethora of off-road biking opportunities. The Munson Hills Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest is a good option for beginner or advanced mountain bikers. Wind through the longleaf pine trees while keeping an eye out for the tortoises, woodpeckers, and coyotes that call this forest home.

You can actually bike all the way from Tallahassee to St. Marks on the coast. The Historic Railroad State Trail, once part of a path used to carry cotton shipments, is now 16 miles of paved pathway. Grab some seafood and learn about the history of the area at San Marcos de Apalache State Park.
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PANAMA CITY BEACH

Day 4Panama City Beach

It’s time to head to the Gulf Coast and check into your waterfront accommodations at the Holiday Inn Resort on Panama City Beach. (Or try The Pearl, in nearby South Walton for a more secluded experience.) Get to know PCB by grabbing an early lunch at Hook’d Pier Bar and Grill, which serves freshly caught seafood daily with views overlooking the gulf.

Get your heart going with beach volleyball or head across the street to Pier Park. The outdoor entertainment district has more than 120 shops and restaurants, plus a mirror maze, laser tag experience, and the towering 200-foot SkyWheel with its adjoining 18-hole mini golf course.

Later this afternoon, take a boat ride to deserted Shell Island off the coast where you can go for peaceful walks to collect seashells. You can choose from pontoon boats, unguided Jet Ski rentals, dolphin snorkeling trips, and sunset sails. Alternatively, scuba-certified adventurers can enjoy shipwreck diving experiences.

Tonight, venture to The Grand Marlin for a relaxed dining experience overlooking Grand Lagoon. Award-winning chef Gregg McCarthy offers a menu of seared and grilled catches of the day alongside she-crab soup, gulf shrimp pastas, and fresh oysters.
CAPE SAN BLAS NORTHWEST FLORIDA HORSEBACK RIDING

HORSEBACK RIDING ON THE BEACH IN CAPE SAN BLAS

DAY 5Cape San Blas

Start today with a paddleboard yoga session that’s a balanced mix of peaceful and challenging. From there, it’s time for a belly-filling breakfast at Andy’s Flour Power. Their freshly baked muffins are a must.

Head about an hour southeast of Panama City Beach to visit the nationally recognized beaches of Cape San Blas. You’ll understand why immediately. With miles of white sand and turquoise waters, the “Old Florida” vibe in town complements the coastal beauty. Horseback riding on the beach is one of the best activities here.

While you drive back to Panama City Beach, your personal concierge with Endless Beach Rentals will be preparing a bonfire on the sand, complete with chairs, s’mores ingredients, coolers, and even hammocks if you’d like.
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ST. ANDREWS STATE PARK BEACH

DAY 6St. Andrews State Park

You’ve been zip-lining, kayaking, hiking, biking, dolphin-watching, and horseback riding, in addition to trying paddleboard yoga, playing volleyball, and jet skiing. If you still have some energy and time on your hands today, head to St. Andrews State Park to soak up the sun and sand before you depart. The park has incredible beaches, wildlife spotting opportunities, walking trails, and Gator Lake.