Every other year our family heads south to Florida for winter vacation, but somehow we fail to venture out from the land of the overcrowded amusement parks. Just once I would love to escape to the land of warm sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets that I know exists in other parts of the state. There are plenty of reasons to visit Florida, but Gulf County has 43 miles of spectacular coastline along the crystal clear waters of St. Joseph Bay and the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. From horseback riding on the beach to kayaking in the bay to seeing dolphins on parade, the gulf coast in Florida has many outdoor activities to offer adventurous families. Here are some of the activities our family can’t wait to experience:
Scalloping, Snorkeling, and Diving
My kids have been asking to go snorkeling for a long time and Gulf County has plenty of opportunities for exploring in St. Joseph’s Bay. Not only can they snorkel, they can go hunting for scallops. In fact, the entire family can enjoy scalloping. Swimming in a mask and snorkel over grass beds that are 2-3 feet deep or wading out from shore is a fun way to scoop up these mollusks. What a fun way to spend the day!
More experienced divers will appreciate Gulf County’s artificial reefs. With over 200 reefs at varying depths of 20 to 150 feet, certified divers of all ability levels will enjoy the shallow depths that provide for longer bottom times and good natural light for photography of reefs and tropical fish. There’s even a wreck dive, the 463-foot long Empire Mica, a British Tanker sunk by a German sub during World War II, which is considered one of Florida’s best at 108 feet deep. There is a lot to explore underwater in Gulf County.
Kayaking Through the Dead Lakes
Our family recently had a kayaking adventure and we would love to do it again. The Dead Lakes get their name from the Cypress and Tupelo trees that stand in the water. The landscape of the Dead Lakes is a photographer’s dream with its mossy branches and unique shapes of the cypress dotting the lakes. The area is also home to a variety of bird species including the ibis and heron. I’m sure our family would love exploring the area in a kayak, because the pictures look amazing.
Searching for Turtles
Did you know that turtles hide in “turtle holes” in the deeper waters because it’s easier for them to escape predators? Once you know where the deep areas are, you can go to those places. In Gulf County you can take a guided kayak tour to an area where you cannot see the bottom and wait for them to appear. You just have to be still. The turtles will come up for air. And when they do? They are everywhere. As long as the conditions are calm, you can see turtles year round. I know our family would enjoy every minute of searching for the turtles. You can also find turtles on the beach during nesting season along the shore of Cape San Blas. There are Turtle Patrol volunteers that help you find them. My kids would be amazed to see the beauty of nature close up and personal.
Playing on a Different Beach Every Day
My kids would love the adventure of trying out a different beach every day. They could hunt for scallops in the Bay, go shelling at the tip of the Cape, go fishing by Indian Pass, ride bikes, or just run in the sand. My kids would want to change it up every day just to say they had tried them all!
Lately, our children have been asking for adventure based vacations and I have been trying to find destinations that fit the bill. I think I may have found a winner in Gulf County, Florida and can’t wait to book our trip!
Gulf County, Florida makes it easy to live in the moment! There are adventures around every corner. Snorkeling, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and even seawater safaris?! People are friendly and they love where they live. When you’re outside in Gulf County, FL you’ll be sure to find something to do you’ve never done before. GCFL makes you feel alive!