Florida – A Surprisingly Wild State

Florida is often associated with glitzy city life and massive theme parks. However, as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have stated, there are over 6 million acres of recognized wild areas in Florida – more than in any other state. This isn’t just a number, and there are a number of utterly wild places where you can experience wildness in the land of flowers. The north is rife with wild areas, and Panama City is a great place to touch base.

A foundation for adventure

Every good adventure starts with a gateway and Panama City is a great place to base yourself. While have the amenities and services of a big city that are important for recuperation before and after your trip, Panama City avoids much of the huge hustle and bustle of the cities in the south of the state. The city itself has affordable and good quality rentals which provide comfort while visiting, and which will provide the perfect base to plan your trip. Furthermore, as Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation outline, the city itself has a good amount of wildlife.

St Andrews State Park in Panama City, Florida
St Andrews State Park, Panama City, Florida

Immediate stops

Immediately surrounding Panama City are some of the best parks in the south, if not the country. Econfina Creek Water Management Area offers a river-based hunting and adventure environment. To the east, the Apalachicola and Tate’s Hell forests offer a true slice of wilderness with the warmth and humidity of any coastal state. Tate’s Hell in particular is popular for hunting and enjoying truly wild areas; following use by the timber industry, the 60s saw a concerted effort to give the park a challenging environment, with extensive wetlands and shrub creating a tough, but welcome, prospect for hikers.

Apalachicola River just outside of Panama City -- experience the wild state of Florida
Apalachicola River just outside of Panama City

Further afield

If you have the time to visit the entire state, Panama City can be used as a transit base for traveling to the South State. According to Only In Your State, Cayo Costa, which sits off the west coast near Naples, has utterly untouched barrier island reefs and sandbanks that are worthy of exploration for anyone favoring the outdoors. Cayo Costa and islands of its ilk offer something that will be rarely experienced.

Cayo Costa, Florida
Cayo Costa, Florida

Florida is not just cities and theme parks. The unique climate of the state means that there are huge swathes of truly wild areas that are begging to be explored. Many can be reached with a city as the base, and if you’re willing to go further afield, you might be the first to discover an uncharted piece of land.

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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