Six cool outings for hot Florida weekend getaways

Chill at a Florida spring: This is Rock Spring Run at Kelly Park

Chill at a Florida spring: This is Rock Spring Run at Kelly Park

By Bonnie Gross,, Special to, June 17, 2015 – It’s hot, but that doesn’t mean you have to seal yourself in air conditioning for the next five months. You can enjoy the natural and authentic Florida, even in the summer.

Here are six weekend outings that are perfect for a hot, sunny summer weekend:

1. Bicycling. Try Jupiter Island.

Why is it cool? The tree-shaded road on Jupiter Island gets ocean breezes. As long as you keep peddling, you stay cool from the air movement. And you can stop along the way and take a swim to cool off. (My guide to bicycling Jupiter Island includes what appears to be the lone but unmarked beach-access point where you can get to the sand and swim.) The scenery is lovely and the rich residents are all at their summer homes, so traffic is slim. More on bicycling Jupiter Island.

2. Kayaking on a Florida spring. Try Blue Spring State Park.

Why is it cool?  Blue Spring stays a steady 68 degrees. In the winter, that’s warm enough to draw hundreds of manatees. But with manatees safely elsewhere, the spring becomes a vast swimming hole with multiple entry points, so before, during and after you kayak, you can take a chilling dip. Blue Spring Run and the St. John’s River offer an unbelievably wild environment for paddling, both north and south of the park.  Here are more springs that are perfect for summer weekends.