Adventure Awaits in the Sunshine State

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With 1,350 miles of coastline, more than 5,000 miles of hiking trails, hundreds of recreational-quality lakes and natural springs, and the world’s greatest concentration of theme parks, everyone can find their adventure in Florida. Planning a camping trip? Set up one of Florida’s beautiful beaches and wake up to the sound of waves. Want to spot an alligator in its natural habitat? Airboat tours through the Everglades can help you get in touch with nature. The Sunshine State is a playground of outdoors adventures. So, what will you do?
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    Pensacola Beach, Florida
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    Run by the National Park Service, the National Seashore provides Pensacola with 16 miles of emerald waters and eye-catching vistas without commercial development. Gulf Islands’ campsites allow you to view the diverse wildlife right outside your tent.
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    Paynes Prairie is among the most significant natural and historical areas in Florida. The 20,000-acre preserve was a center for man's activities for many centuries; Indian occupation of the area dates to 10,000 B.C. Ranger-led walks and backpacking trips offer exceptional opportunities for viewing the Preserve's diverse wildlife from an observation tower near the visitor center.
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    Advertised as the longest and friendliest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned fisherman, you'll feel welcome. Besides pole and equipment rental, the little diner offers hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks and refreshing drinks. Don't fish? Don't despair. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier offers plenty of sights to see and photo opportunities, including marine birds and beautiful sunsets.
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    Amelia Island, a 20-minute drive from Jacksonville, has golden-hued sands and guided horseback rides along the shore. The sights may include dolphin, osprey, and maybe even an endangered right whale.
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    Juniper Run, in the heart of the Ocala National Forest north of Orlando, is a 7-mile paddling paradise with gin-clear spring water that is 72 degrees year-round. Paddle and swim or hike the many forest trails.
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    America’s oldest city features one of the newer adventure activities. Zip lining is available at multiple locations, with canopy tours that beeline over alligators. If you dare.
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    Cocoa Beach, a short drive east from Orlando, is revered as a playground for America’s astronauts and the childhood training ground for world champion surfer Kelly Slater. There’s no better beach to try your hand at surfing, parasailing, paddle boarding, skim boarding, or windsurfing.
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    Central Florida is the theme park capital of the world. Disney. SeaWorld. Universal. LEGOLAND. If you can imagine a superlative —fastest! most inversions! highest!—there's no shortage of heart-stopping rides in Orlando.
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    This series of islands 70 miles from Key West is a place of great beauty, history and solitude. Accessible by boat or seaplane, the park’s centerpiece is the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson. Snorkel the reef around Garden Key and enjoy the company of mangrove snapper, barracuda and spiny lobster. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen — there’s little shade on the island.
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    Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA is a true "beachfront" resort. Don't own an RV or tent? Rent a retro Airstream trailer! Whether you decide to enjoy an eco-tour, sunset cruise, or make the short drive to Key West, you'll never be idle... unless you want to be.
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    An amazing destination for adventurous hikers is the Big Cypress National Preserve, which sits close to the Everglades and falls along an important estuary where Florida's freshwater meets the ocean. Take a stroll along the Loop Road route during the dry season, and you'll find a very pleasant hiking route that wanders along the border of Big Cypress and the Everglades. But go during the wet season, which runs from from May through October, and parts of the trail can be submerged, forcing visitors to wade through water up to chest deep. If you dress properly it can be a great way to get up close and personal with nature.
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    There's no denying that it's a really fun way to experience the swamp! Many vendors provide airboat tours and holders of the Go Miami Card receive a free tour as part of their purchase.
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    Key West is known for its beautiful sand beaches, laidback island life, and world class fishing. The waters right off of the United States’ Southernmost Point are home to the top five most sought-after gamefish: bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, and snook, while just a bit further out in the Atlantic you’ll find troves of sport fishing favorites like blue and white marlin, swordfish, and sailfish. Whether you are a beginner, seasoned fisherman, or just want to try it out, Key West offers some of the best fishing in the world.
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Adventure Awaits in the Sunshine State

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