In case you haven’t heard, I recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida! I moved here having never visited before, knowing nothing about the area, and being a west coast California girl. So, this area – this entire state – is entirely new to me, and I can’t wait to explore it! I already have a bucket list of places or experiences near me and around the state that I really want to visit and explore. Most of the list are outdoorsy experiences because I love being outside, but also because we are still living in a global pandemic and I’m trying to be safe, especially in Florida, where restrictions are lacking. In no particular order, here are a few places or experiences that I’d love to happen in 2021. *I’m manifesting and putting it out into the universe now.*
St. Augustine – St. Augustine is near me, so there’s no reason why I haven’t gone yet, but I definitely want to visit in the new year! In case you didn’t know, St. Augustine is rumored to be home of the Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth – and who doesn’t want that?
Big and Little Talbot Islands State Parks – Both of these state parks look beautiful and are also quite close to where I live. I specifically want to go to Big Talbot Island because there’s Black Rock Beach, a beautiful beach full of (you guessed it) black rocks. It’s one of the few places in the continental United States that has black rock.
Ocala National Forest – I’ve heard some really great things about the hiking in Ocala, including that you can find fossilized stuff like shells and bones, so I’m excited to visit!
Rainbow River State Park – Have you seen photos of Rainbow River State Park in Florida? They’re gorgeous! Crystal clear water, beautiful and lush greenery, the perfect place to go floating down river on a tube or kayak.
Snorkeling with manatees in Crystal River – In the winter, manatees migrate to the warmer waters of the gulf side of Florida, and that’s the best time to get up close and personal with these gentle giants by snorkeling. There are tons of tours that you can take and this will be something that I’ll have to rather early in the year, since the manatees will leave the area in March. I’ve always said that manatees are my spirit animal, and I’m so excited to finally get to meet them.
Kennedy Space Center – If you’ve been here for a while, then you know that I am a huge space nerd. I’ve worked for NASA and currently work at an aerospace company. So, it should come as no surprised that Kennedy is on this list. Kennedy Space Center has been on my bucket list of places to visit ever since I was a kid, and I’m so lucky that it’s now only a few hours drive away and I can spend a weekend exploring the Cape and Cocoa Beach. This won’t be the most socially-distance activity, but I take extreme precautions nowadays to stay safe. If only I still had my NASA credentials to get on-site…
Get SCUBA certified! – One of my friends has already recommended a certification shop in Ft. Lauderdale and I’ve already booked my reservation, so it’s happening in 2021! Getting SCUBA certified is another thing that’s been on my bucket list and now that I live in Florida, I see no reason not to do it. It’s fairly easy to do social distancing and in small groups, so hopefully I’ll be safe. And I’m doing it in south Florida, where the waters are beautiful, some of the best diving spots in the continental United States, so I’m excited!
Now comes the *dream* places that I’d love to visit in 2021, but will take either more planning on my part or global change in order for me to go.
Harry Potter World – The Harry Potter nerd in me wants to go to HPW right now, but I won’t because it’s not safe, so this one is contingent upon what happens in the world in 2021. If it becomes safe to go out in crowds again and COVID numbers decline, I will absolutely go to HPW! But if not, it’ll have to wait. For the safety of others, I can wait.
Everglades National Park – It would be an absolute dream to go to Everglades National Park, but I’m not sure if it’s going to happen in 2021. It’ll take more planning on my part, since it’s on the complete opposite side of the state from me and several hours drive.
Key West – This one is kind of a no brainer. I’d love to take a vacation with my family to Key West, but it’s rather expensive and will require more planning if I were to go, so fingers crossed!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to any of these places or have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!