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Get Back to Nature in Florida's Santa Rosa County

Getting back to nature is easy and affordable in Santa Rosa County in Northwest Florida with thousands of acres of public land set aside for residents and visitors with hiking trails, rivers, creeks, forests and bayous to explore within the area designated in 1981 as "Florida's Canoe Capital."

People who have not taken a "back to nature" trip will enjoy a soul-soothing experience.

"You will see, smell and experience things you will remember," said Vernon Compton with the Florida Nature Conservancy. "You'll see wildlife and birds ... sunsets and sunrises that wind through the trees, and you'll hear night sounds in a forest you don't hear in a house with a television and air-conditioning going."

Overnight visitors can choose from group and primitive camping opportunities where they can pitch a tent or park their RV and enjoy nature at the Blackwater River State Park and the Blackwater River State Forest.

Along with numerous RV and tent campgrounds, also featured are rustic cabins, camping and the whimsical Schoolhouse Inn at Adventures Unlimited where rooms are available for rental.

The Blackwater River is one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the nation, making the park a popular place for swimming, fishing, camping, and paddling. Shaded campsites are just a short walk from the river, and visitors can enjoy a picnic at a pavilion overlooking the river. Also nearby are several lakes and creeks to explore and numerous trails for hiking, birding, fishing, kayaking, camping and horseback riding.

Day visitors enjoy tubing, canoeing and kayaking the aptly named Coldwater Creek (water temperature hovers in high 70s in summer) which also is available for overnight trips (not recommended for beginners).

The Blackwater River State Park and Blackwater River State Forest are located within a 45-minute drive of Santa Rosa County's Navarre Beach which boasts unparalleled public beach access within a four-mile stretch. Navarre Beach is tucked between miles of undeveloped sugar white beaches within the recently reopened Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Navarre County Park.

For detailed information including links to area resources visit www.floridabeachestorivers.com or call 800-480-SAND to order a free vacation guide.

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