Description - North Central Florida has a character of its own. Friendly fishing villages, pristine forests, more than 100 freshwater springs, saltwater estuaries, and charming resorts may be discovered amid the area's three national wildlife refuges, more than a dozen state parks, along a 17-mile state trail, two national forests, and over two dozen historical and cultural locations.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Maclay State Gardens
- The North Central Travel Region is known for its quiet and relaxing destination sites. The Apalachicola National Forest lies in the western area of the region characterized by wet lowlands harboring cypress, oaks, southern magnolias, dogwood, and azaleas. Visitors to the Forest will find this habitat favorable for black bear, alligators, red-cockaded woodpeckers, indigo snakes and bald eagles. Also within the region falls the Osceola National Forest that encompasses Big Gum Swamp and the Suwannee River. Visitors to the White Springs area will not want to miss the memorialized site of songwriter Stephen Foster. Tallahassee is the state capitol surrounded by a lovely southern landscape of rolling hills dotted with plantations rich in stately magnolias. Tours of the Old Capitol Building and visiting the Museum of Art are city favorites as well as touring Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens that features ornamentals. In Gainesville, educational sites abound including such favorites as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site and the Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site, a bowl-shaped sinkhole. Notables include Big Shoals State Forest offering Florida's only whitewater and world famous Peacock Springs State Recreation Area, featuring the longest underwater cave system in the continental United States. This is a superb location for diving, snorkeling and swimming. North Central Travel Region has several rivers including the Waccasassa, Ochlockonee, Suwannee, Fenholloway, and Wacissa. Canoeists and anglers explore these untamed waters throughout the year. The Ochlockonee River State Park gives tourists a wildlife viewing opportunity, featuring animals such as white-tailed deer, bobcat and hundreds of species of birdlife. Rich in outdoor recreation, this diverse region includes beautiful coastal areas such as the uninhabited beaches and golden salt marches of Cedar Keys. Backcountry travelers have the opportunity to discover territory teeming with wildlife along the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail.
Recreation - North Central Florida has numerous crystal-clear springs, meandering rivers, placid lakes, quiet wetlands and pristine coastline conducive to diving, snorkeling, swimming, salt and warmwater fishing, canoeing, long-distance hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and bird-watching. Visiting Civil War sites and observing re-enactments, visiting the home site of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, or visiting one of several Native American Indian sites may be enjoyed year-round. Tourists will also find nestled amid the sleepy towns a number of museums featuring fascinating exhibits from prehistoric relics to 17th century Spanish mission artifacts to Civil War collections and more.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The area offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. Summer temperatures average in the low 80's Fahrenheit and mid 20's Celsius. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging between the high 40's to the high 50's Fahrenheit. The average precipitation for the north central area is diverse. The central western area receives more than 60 inches per year while the central eastern tract receives about 50 inches. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Bordered by the state of Georgia to the north, the North Central Travel Region is bisected by Suwannee River in the midsection, Interstate 75 in the eastern area and Interstate 10 along the upper region. Apalachicola National Forest and the Gulf of Mexico comprise the southwest boundary with the southernmost tip stretching to Withlacoochee River. Eastern lines stretch slightly beyond to the Santa Fe River, Lake City, and Gainesville.