Every journey or adventure needs some Grounds for Adventure.
Grounds for Adventure are the reasons, big and small, that we get out of bed and live the most flavorful life we can. A breathtaking sunrise. A coffee flavor that takes you back in time or some place entirely new. Or a day-tripping staycation at that local oasis you’ve always wanted to take.
Here are five Central Florida day trip destinations for the weekend (and five coffees that'll pep up your travel plans).
Mickey Who? Rainbow River is a natural cold spring and the site of one of Orlando's first water and recreation parks. Opening just west of the Ocala National Forest in the 1950s, Rainbow River quickly developed a following due to its aquifer-fed spring, meandering streams, butterfly gardens and miles of woodland hiking trails. The park's annual attendance wound down after the tourism tycoons came to Orlando, but Rainbow River still pours on the old Southern charm and provides plentiful shade to nest under and green grass to spread your blanket on.
Refreshingly ripe for hot summer sipping on a beach towel, Barnie’s Orange Creamsicle tastes great chilled and with a dollop of half-and-half. Prickly citrus and smooth crème flavors mingle with a balanced, toasty body for a delightful midday recharge.
Another watering hole a little closer to home, Wekiva Springs’ main attraction is its boat launch ramp for kayaks, canoes and other small watercraft. Unlike other Central Florida waterways, which often connect larger lakes and accommodate motor and non-motor boats alike, Wekiva Springs is a no wake zone through-and-through, perfect for quiet, peaceful river cruising. There’s ample coverage from trees and canopies to shelter your bare shoulders and arms from the hot Florida sun, as well as a hodgepodge of sunning longneck turtles and lazy blue herons for your sightseeing pleasure.
Or you can take a break from paddling upstream with some ice cream-flavored coffee. Try icing some Barnie’s Pistachio Ice Cream coffee for a slinky smooth, indulgent reward.
A one-of-a-kind natural wonder just south of Rainbow River, the Devil’s Den is a cave-like recess that dips more than 100 feet below sea level. This so-called “den” dates back more than 33 million years, peppered with ancient rock formations and fossil beds that surround a beautiful natural spring. Adventurers can rent snorkels and flippers on-site to kick along the spring’s surface, and certified divers can even strap on a mask and oxygen tank and explore the winding tunnels of this underwater cavern. Spectators can stand waist-deep in the Devil’s Den and gaze up at the surface through the natural skylight above. Since the sun doesn't make it downstairs much, the air and water are much cooler in the Den than on the surface – perfect for a chilling summer dip on the weekend.
Put yourself in a snowy state of mind in the dog days of summer with Santa's (iced!) White Christmas coffee. Vanilla, hazelnut and coconut flavors mix and mingle for a spiced, chilly treat after a dip in the Devil’s Den.
If you think all beaches are created equal, Clearwater Beach, regularly named one of the best beaches in the United States, begs to differ. This Gulf Coast beach sits on a barrier island, making for warmer, tamer seas and a calm beachfront that’s perfect for laying down with a good book (or an iced coffee). Clearwater’s famous turquoise waters and white sand beaches stretch for two-and-a-half miles of prime Florida water sports and wildlife, and dozens of local shops and bars along the shore mean the fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets.
Wring the last splish-splashes out of another delightful summer by sipping on a Coconut Mint iced coffee. A floral wave of coconut and a rejuvenating burst of peppermint round out this coffee’s chocolately, roasted flavor.
Little Big Econ
Tucked between sleepy Oviedo and West Orlando, the Little Big Econ nature park walks the walk when it comes to serious Central Florida hiking. This breathtaking Floridian landscape Hundreds of local plant life from knee-high shrubs, flowering ivies and towering oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Multiple hiking trails, all carefully and colorfully marked, branch from the main trailhead, and wider horse trails run up the middle of the park. Courteous mountain bikers can also bob and weave down Little Big Econ’s nature trails. Perhaps this nature park’s biggest draw is its balance of natural splendor and high accessibility. Park rangers conduct seasonal controlled burns to keep the park’s trees rot- and disease-free and to clear away dangerous overgrowth for guests.