Beating the Heat in Northwest Florida

NORTHWEST FLORIDA – Northwest Florida is a favorite spot for summertime fun. But this region, which stretches from east of Pensacola westward toward Tallahassee, along Interstate 10 and beyond, has become much more than just a summer destination. Known for its Gulf beaches and wealth of recreational activities, more and more people are finding reasons to visit all year long. No matter when the visit, there is always fun in the sun–and always a host of ways to beat the heat while enjoying all the region has to offer.

cavestoFlorida Caverns State Park is home to an amazing 65-degree cave system accessible by walking tour. Photo credit: Explore Northwest FloridaTop ways to beat the heat in Northwest Florida:

Enjoy the cool springs–There are several springs across the region with recreational opportunities for all, from families enjoying an afternoon of swimming to novice snorkelers to experienced cave divers. A prime example is Jackson Blue Spring, at the heart of the popular Blue Springs Recreational Area. This county park is home to a first-magnitude spring which feeds an average of 85 million gallons of water a day to Merritt’s Mill Pond.

Explore a cave–Florida Caverns State Park is home to an amazing wonder and the only cave system in the state accessible by walking tour. The intriguing world of the 65-dregree cave includes black pools and intricate limestone stalactites and stalagmites that have formed through thousands of years. Tours are scheduled five days a week.

Paddle the inland waters–Paddling the sparkling spring-fed creeks and rivers along the shaded riverbanks is another favorite activity here. There is an abundance of paddling spots throughout the waterways of the region. The Jackson County Paddling Trails guide is a great place to get specifics of paddle routes.

Check out area museums–Northwest Florida’s culture and history is on display at many museums throughout the region. Art is on display at the Panama City Center for the Arts and the Gadsden Art Center & Museum. History museums, from the stories of the Muscogee Nation to first Florida Constitution, paint a vivid picture of this diverse region.

Embrace the evening–The long, sunny days on the coast lead to adventurous nights and there is plenty of nightlife to enjoy. Each of the destinations throughout the region has its own signature experiences, from beach bonfires in Gulf County to the streets and shops of Sandestin’s Baytowne Wharf.

Visit Off season–Spring and fall weather here invites outdoor enthusiasts to come early and then come back again. And mild winters make this special region a year-round destination. Many choose to add an “off season” vacation to their calendar in order to enjoy all the year-round fun Northwest Florida has to offer.