If you’re inspired by the change of season and looking for an outdoor adventure, then this is an issue you can’t miss… our annual “Great Outdoors” issue. If you’ve got a few minutes, you can read up on our area’s latest and greatest activities, from swimming with the manatees to zipping through trees and over canyon lakes at Marion County’s newest outdoor attraction, The Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours. And if you feel like getting really close to nature, you’ll want to check out our “Gone Campin’” feature on page 50, including everything from gear and grub to must-have gadgets.
And speaking of camping, the Ocala National Forest is what originally brought me to the Ocala area. In my younger years, my husband and I, along with good friends, would backpack along the Florida trail throughout the forest. Over time, we’ve gone from primitive camping to reserved campsites at Juniper and Alexander Springs.
Last November, we tried something even easier than that. We took our 10-year-old grandson and two of his friends on a camping trip to Carney Island Park on Lake Weir. This adventure is offered to area residents on just a few special days each year through Marion County’s Parks and Recreation department. What I particularly loved was that they supplied and set up all the tents, cooked dinner and breakfast, as well as a nice bedtime snack of hot chocolate and s’mores. It was camping made simple! All we had to bring was our sleeping bag and a toothbrush.
Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned adventurer, we hope we’ll inspire you to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Happy Camping!