It’s always summer somewhere.
Suwannee River State Park, FL
Not feeling the ’flakes? Head south where winter never gets surly and hike alongside a river that never got tamed. Way up in northern Florida, a 15-mile section of the Florida Trail traces the Suwanee River to Holton Creek River Camp, where mild daytime temps encourage meandering. Hike past cypress trees, their bald knees poking up from the river bottom, then climb and descend along 40-foot limestone bluffs that bank the spring-fed Suwanee. “I’ve found fossils of seashells in the cliffs,” says Alex Stigliano, program director for the Florida Trail Association. “And the river doubles as a wildlife corridor.” At Holton Creek, bunk down ( gratis for Florida Trail hikers) in screened shelters with hot showers nearby.
Fancy a ride on the only Southeastern river that hasn’t been dammed, improved, or diverted? Backtrack 3 miles to Gibson Park, where Suwanee River Canoe Rental ($40/day; suwanneerivercanoerental.com) delivers boats and PFDs for the 7-mile flatwater paddle back to your starting point.
TRAILHEAD 30.386906,-83.174656; 38 miles northwest of Lake City on NE Drew Way CAMP Free; first-come, first-serve PERMIT None CONTACT floridatrail.org