For years now, the number one question we all ask ourselves after the first of the year is “why can’t I keep my resolutions?” After undertaking a huge study, aka asking all my friends and family, I know the answer–because we make boring, hard and uninteresting resolutions. This year, strive to make resolutions that are fun to keep and that we look forward to. I want to encourage everyone to make the resolution of Taking it Outside and making the most of the outdoors in the great State of Florida. Nobody remembers their best day ever doing homework, working or watching TV. However, I bet you can tell me about catching your first fish or bagging your first deer.
To get you started, I have put together a list to jump start your outdoor adventures in the State of Florida. The early part of the year in Florida is the time to consider two things–camping and manatees. Camping in Florida during the Winter months is the best. It is much cooler, very few bugs and you can finally build a campfire. There are so many parks and campgrounds in the State of Florida you won’t have any trouble finding one in your own backyard, or across the state. Crystal River is the place to be when you want to get some manatees love–you can swim with them and be surrounded. When the Gulf waters start to get cold, the manatees move up the river where the temperatures stay at a warm 72 degrees and they will spend their Winter months. The Plantation on Crystal River offers some amazing off-season deals and they provide the boats, guides and wetsuits to take you on your journey with the manatees.
The Everglades Shark Valley entrance is a great place to grab your bike or rent one, because they don’t allow cars past the visitors’ center. Hit the trail on this swampy get away where alligators may be lounging in the saw grass, and birding this time of year is phenomenal. There is a 65-foot observation tower that provides panoramic views for over 17 miles across what the Miccosukee called Kaa-ha-yat-le. If biking that far is too much, but you still want a bird’s eye view of wood storks, ibis and great white herons, you can take the two-hour tram that covers 15 miles of the park. America’s only state park with horseback riding on the beach is on Amelia Island northeast of Jacksonville. Take a ride with Kelly Seahorse Ranch along the shoreline and through the hardwood forest trails on an invigorating five-mile one-of-a-kind ride.
The way to keep those resolutions is to keep it real, take it outside and keep it fun. I am inviting you to watch my video series with the Tampa Bay Times “Let’s Take it Outside” where you can watch exciting outdoor adventures and get new ideas every week for you to “take it outside” yourself. Go to www.tampabay.com/outdoors to watch the new series. If you have a great idea and want me to film an outdoor adventure with you, contact me.