“Shangri-la” is just west of High Springs.(Photo: AuthenticFlorida.com)

A new year inspires feelings of renewal and fresh starts. Exploring Florida can offer new beginnings for discovering real Florida. There’s no better time to start than right now with these 18 Authentic Florida bucket list adventures:

Plunge into the Blue

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, a “Shangri-la” just west of High Springs was recently purchased by the Florida State Park system. Gilchrist Blue Springs releases 55 million gallons of fresh water daily, flowing into the Santa Fe River. Swimmers jump from a huge wooden platform into crystal clear water; families picnic under sprawling oaks; paddlers launch kayaks or paddle boards along the spring run. And visitors enjoy a short walk on the rustic wooden boardwalk to the scenic Santa Fe River. 

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park: floridastateparks.org

Board a small passenger boat at Goodland Marina, south of Naples, and embark on one of the best shelling experiences in Florida. (Photo: Robin Draper/AuthenticFlorida.com)

Shelling in the Ten Thousand Islands

Board a small passenger boat at Goodland Marina, south of Naples, and embark on one of the best shelling experiences in Florida. A naturalist guide from Marco Island Boat Tours becomes your personal shelling captain. Breathe in salt air under cloudless blue skies, keeping an eye out for dolphins as your captain determines the best shelling stops based on wind and tides. One popular spot is unofficially named “Shell Key” where layers of shells reveal prized rarities such as the Junonia. 

Marco Island Boat Tours: marcoisland-boattours.com

Cook your own pancakes on the griddle tables at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in De Leon Springs. (Photo: Robin Draper/AuthenticFlorida.com)

Pancakes on the Griddle

Everyone, from children to grandparents, enjoys a perfect “old Florida” family dining experience at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill & Griddle

Read More Here...