Despite being known for it’s beaches, theme parks, and retirement communities, Florida has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Inland you will find an intricate ecosystem of freshwater springs, 21 of which are located in Florida State Parks. Their clear, turquoise water and constant refreshing temperature of around 70 degrees make a perfect place to escape Florida’s oppressing summertime heat. Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest is a gorgeous place to spend a weekend and enjoy some authentic Florida nature!
If you are visiting the area and want a taste of authentic Florida, you might want to spend an afternoon exploring the Robinson Preserve in Bradenton. A few years ago this former farming area was restored to it’s natural, beautiful state and is now a 487 Acre preserve where you can visit…for free.
I love discovering new areas around places I am familiar with. It always amazes me how it is possible to find hidden gems in our local surroundings we thought we knew every corner of. Last week when I was back in my hometown of Bradenton, Florida I found one of these great hidden spots (hidden to me at least!) and was totally surprised at what I found. An Artsy little village, filled with small galleries and cafes…Village of the Arts.
Every time I am back in my home state I find new little corners to visit. Places that I, quite frankly, never paid any attention to when I lived there. I think it’s one of the great positive aspects of moving to a place far far away…you appreciate your homeland in a way you may not have otherwise. Last time we were back we headed north from my parents house to Homosassa Springs, and it was like entering a totally different world. A beautiful, untouched, old Florida type world.