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Florida Panhandle - The Apalachicola National Forest and Apalachicola Barrier Islands

Enjoy the Apalachicola National Forest is a mix of swamp, spring, savannah, hiking and canoeing terrain - perfect for exploring.

The most exhilarating way to explore is to hike along one of its many trails or to canoe, from one of its many boat launches, down the Ochlockonee River.

The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest national forest in Florida consisting of two great rivers, the Ochlockonee and the Sopchoppy.

There are numerous campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the Forest so you do not have to be an athlete to enjoy it.

Take a look at Wakulla Springs which is west of the forest, and is one of the deepest natural springs in the world. The scenery is primitive and has understandably, been the setting for films such as the Tarzan films.

Apalachicola Barrier Islands

Apalachicola, an old town south west of the forest, is the state's oyster capital. The three marvellous Barrier Islands are across the bay.

One of these is St George Island - a 28 mile barrier island. It is still the least inhabited and is unspoilt, even though you can get there by road. Its miles of white sand beaches are uncrowded, great for swimming and catching a variety of fish. You can see many gracious wildlife like turtles.

Take a break from the beautiful seashore and visit one of the many restaurants serving fresh local seafood such as oysters of course. Or go shopping on the Island for clothing, beach stuff, gifts and art.

Another of the Barrier Islands is Little St George Island. Perfect for those who like a measure of isolation. The island is about 75 miles from Tallahassee and is reached by bridge and causeway from US 98.

You can camp for free, but bring your own facilities. There is of course, the white sand beaches, bird watching (ospreys and eagles), wildlife (yes, and racoons) and last but definitely not least - fantaastic fishing.

The third of the Barrier Islands is the St Vincent Island. You can only get there by boat.

But is has many fresh water lakes and salt water swamps. It is a birdwatchers paradise, just one of the ways to explore the Florida Gulf Coast

Tim Burton writes travel articles for the popular Orlando Villas Florida website at http://www.milkriver.co.uk and Vacation Rentals Worldwide website at http://www.worldwidevillas.net