A World of Natural Wonders – Florida

CENTRAL

westgate-river-ranch-resort-and-rodeo
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

Towering teepees under a natural live oak canopy are the newest glamping attraction at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo in Takoda Village. Clustered around a large chickee hut, each luxurious accommoda­tion lets you camp in style with a stone fireplace, leather chairs, king bed and sleeper sofa, and a private screened patio. At Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, a new Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden inspires visitors to create their own outdoor culinary experiences while providing a focal point for visiting chefs.

Once the edge of the Florida frontier, Kissimmee lets you ride back into pioneer times at Lazy H Ranch, with guided rides beneath ancient oak hammocks to the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga.

Flying into Orlando but want to get a bike ride in? West Orange Trail Bikes & Blades can help you with that. They deliver rental bikes to area hotels, direct you to the best bike trails, and lead guided rides on the 22-mile West Orange Trail, through the town of Celebration or historic downtown Orlando. The new observation tower at Lake Harney Wilderness Area along the St. Johns River draws those who want to enjoy a panoramic view from its accessible 30-foot-tall upper deck. A long ramp slips through the canopy of live oak trees for a commanding view of the lake and its surrounding marshes, which burst into colorful blooms each fall.

CENTRAL WEST

tampa-florida
Tampa, Florida

Held in November, the Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit in St. Peters­burg casts a spotlight on worldwide conser­vation concerns. It brings together top ocean scientists and conservationists, underwater film and photography professionals, and the public for seminars, education and an international film competition.

Go green in Tampa with zipcar, with four downtown locations offering rentals by the hour. Tampa is the latest Florida city to embrace car-sharing with zipcar, which is also found at five major university towns and other big cities in the state.

Take to the treetops at the TreeUmph! Adventure Course Hernando, a new addition to Florida’s Adventure Coast. This aerial obstacle course features rope swings and rope bridges, zip lines, swinging logs and hanging nets amid 50 acres of rolling hills near Brooksville.

The Good Neighbor Trail, a 10-mile urban greenway connecting historic downtown Brooksville with the Withlacoochee State Trail, is an important link in the Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail. This eastbound segment will be fully open in 2017; a westbound segment linking to the Suncoast Trail is also planned.

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