Dive Into Outdoor Adventures in NW Florida

Diving enthusiasts are sure to know about Jackson County, Florida, because of its world-class cave diving. Add spring-fed paddling locations, abundant fishing holes, diverse hiking trails and beautiful state parks for an outdoor pursuit for anyone in this beautiful Florida setting.

Dive Into Outdoor Adventures in NW Florida
Credit: John Starrett Photography for Visit Jackson County

Located one hour west of Tallahassee, one hour north of Panama City, and just 45 minutes south of Seminole State Park in SW Georgia, Jackson County, Florida, is filled with outdoor opportunities sure to satisfy those looking for adventure.

Diving

Cave divers come from around the world to Blue Springs Recreational Area to explore the first magnitude Jackson Blue Springs. This is the most well-known spring in the area, popular with technical cave divers, but there are several outstanding springs to explore beneath Merritt’s Mill Pond and the Chipola River too. 

Cave Adventurers provides gear rental and technical training. 

Paddling and Swimming

Jackson Blue Springs is a favorite swimming spot, too, as are the many spring-fed lakes and rivers in the area. Blue Springs Recreational Area has picnic and play areas as well as tube, canoe and paddleboard rentals.

Whether on a paddleboard or in a canoe or kayak, Jackson County is heaven for paddlers of all skill levels. There are numerous paddling spots, from lakes to rivers, with outstanding waters and amazing scenery. Serious paddlers will want to check out the extensive Jackson County Paddling Trails guide.

Fishing

Jackson County is nationally known as a sport fishing destination. Whether on Merritt’s Mill Pond, Lake Seminole, the Apalachicola River or Ocheesee Pond, anglers find the variety and quality of fishing here to be exceptional.

Bluegill and largemouth bass are most sought after catches but there are dozens of species just below the surface. There are numerous boat ramps throughout the county.

Hunting

This is home to thousands of acres of public lands where licensed hunters can take on the challenge. Both the Chipola River Wildlife Management Area and the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area  are home to whitetail deer, wild hogs, turkeys, small game and waterfowl.

Guided quail hunting trips on private lands are available, too, from Lilypad Adventures. For a whitetail deer adventure, Bontrager Whitetails is the place to go.

Hiking

Among its miles of recreational trails, Jackson County is home to two designated National Recreational Trails.

The Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area is a four-mile trek which follows the banks of the Chipola River and Butler Tract is part of a wildlife viewing area included on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. These are joined by additional parks and trails, throughout the county.

Camping

There are more than a half dozen campgrounds offering a variety of amenities and settings. Not one but two exceptional state parks offer campsites as well as access to a host of outdoor activities. 

Three Rivers State Park and Florida Caverns State Park each showcase the beauty and diversity of Jackson County’s natural resources.  (And seriously, you must go to Florida Caverns State Park! The hour-long cave tour is amazing, and your kids will love it. Get there early — the tours are first come, first serve!)

That’s not all! There are equestrian and motocross trails, birding and geocaching sites and more. All this is in the beautiful, biodiverse setting and temperate climate of Northwest Florida. It’s the perfect spot for outdoor adventure.