After roughly a year, I finally got to go back to my homeland! This time around I decided I would try and visit some state parks I have never been to as well as a few of my old favorites.
First up, Wikewa Springs State Park. It always surprises me how easily it is to be surrounded by nature so close to Orlando ! This park is situated at the headwaters of the Wikeva River. It has quite a variety of hiking trails (I think roughly 13 miles?) as well as the option to kayak/canoe. It was beautiful. I definitely intend to visit again and spend more time along the hiking trails. Wildlife-wise I didn't really see much other than turtles, Spiders, Grasshoppers and birds. That was largely due to the time of day I was there, but I can't complain. Here are some photographs;
Next was Ocala National Forest. I definitely have to return here. It is so big and I only had a very small amount of time to spend there, so anything I would say doesn't give it any justice. It is the southernmost forest in the continental US and as such is bear country. I was secretly hoping I would come across some black bears, but sadly that didn't happen! The forest is home to 600 lakes, rivers and springs, so there's a lot to explore.
Keeping with the central Florida trend, I also went to Lake Louisa State Park. Every time I stay in Orlando I plan to visit this park, but until last December I just never seemed to get around to it. I am sad I missed out on it for so many years ! It's a brilliant wee park. I saw 7 gopher tortoises and even had a young alligator run across the path in front of me. It is such a great day out.