Beaches and Outdoors

By VANESSA CACERES

Outdoor gems are abundant in Northeast Florida. Whether you want to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, fish in the St. Johns River or take selfies at a park, there are plenty of options.

Southwest of St. Augustine, Putnam County is known as the “Bass Capital of Florida” and is home to three of the top bass fisheries in the state. The county is also the trail hub of Northeast Florida and offers ample hiking, biking and paddling trails. Be sure to check out the 59-acre Ravine Gardens State Park created in a natural steephead ravine.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure in St. Augustine teaches visitors about the beauty of dolphins and provides interactive attractions such as a meet and greet or dolphin swim program.

When you’re ready to chill with some beach time, you can’t go wrong with a visit to St. Augustine Beach which continues to receive impressive accolades. This popular destination was, once again, named one of America’s top 10 beaches by TripAdvisor.

Another way to indulge in the area’s many water attractions is through a guided kayak tour that allows you to paddle the back-waters of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Ponte Vedra area. It is one of the best places to kayak in Northeast Florida.

The city of Jacksonville actually has the largest urban park system in the U.S. So, plenty of natural adventures await you in Northeast Florida, be it in a city or rural area.

Jacksonville boasts 22 miles of spectacu-lar beaches. If you’re visiting Jacksonville area, consider using its free Beach Buggies to get around Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville beaches and easily explore all of the beachy neighborhoods and attractions.

For more picturesque adventures on the water, Amelia Island offers Amelia River Cruises and Charters or a privately chartered sunset cruise with Windward Sailing. If you’re looking to reel in fish, Amelia Boat Club & Rentals provides rentals for fishing, cruising or sightseeing.