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The area where Florida’s panhandle and peninsula meet is a forgotten coastline of estuaries and floodplain forests, a wilderness where spring-fed rivers pour into the Gulf of Mexico. Truly off the beaten path, the wild places of Florida’s Big Bend hold a timeless appeal for outdoor recreation, with the opportunity to sample the true bounty of an unsullied stretch of Florida’s coast. For seafood pulled fresh from these pristine waters, the restaurants in the fishing villages of Steinhatchee and St. Marks can’t be beat. Wakulla Springs is one of the world’s largest and deepest, where the earliest Tarzan movies and “Creature from the Black ...

The area where Florida’s panhandle and peninsula meet is a forgotten coastline of estuaries and floodplain forests, a wilderness where spring-fed rivers pour into the Gulf of Mexico. Truly off the beaten path, the wild places of Florida’s Big Bend hold a timeless appeal for outdoor recreation, with the opportunity to sample the true bounty of an unsullied stretch of Florida’s coast. For seafood pulled fresh from these pristine waters, the restaurants in the fishing villages of Steinhatchee and St. Marks can’t be beat. Wakulla Springs is one of the world’s largest and deepest, where the earliest Tarzan movies and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” were filmed. This is a playground for outdoor recreation. Plunge from the diving board into Wakulla Spring, paddle the pristine Wacissa River, play beneath the splashing waters of Steinhatchee Falls, or ride the rapids down the Aucilla River. Dive for scallops in the clear waters of the Gulf, find a fishing guide who knows the perfect spot to cast for redfish, or immerse in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, one of the top places in America for birding and the annual monarch butterfly migration each October. Whether your love is land or water, you’ll find a multitude of choices for outdoor recreation at a relaxed pace.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southwest Florida’s Central Barrier Coast
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round