Not every exotic destination requires a passport! As part of my resolution to explore more backyard natural wonders, I recently took a trip to Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida. Weeki Wachee is a Florida State Park situated on Crystal River about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Tampa or two hours west of Orlando - a bit of a hike, but completely worth it. The park is famous for it’s natural swimming pool and “mermaid shows”, however I opted to skip this part of the park and go straight to the river.
Crystal river is best known for two things: A gloriously refreshing fresh water swimming hole as well a natural habitat for manatees. That's right - MANATEES. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any manatees on my trip. The regulars told me this was rare, especially for this time of the year and assured that if I came back, I would definitely see some action. Even without the excitement of a manatee sighting, SUPing across the perfectly still turquoise waters was enough to make this little day trip well worth it. I'll definitely return -- and hopefully so will the manatees :)