On a recent trip to Washington County, in Northwest Florida, I found Florida’s version of “up north” and I was beyond thrilled.
Washington County, which includes the town of Chipley, is packed with an abundance of outdoor activities that makes me want to visit again and again. By the way, Chipley is a great place to set as your home base during your visit.
I was so impressed with the abundance of outdoor adventures, with a little bit of weird and wonderful tossed in, to make Washington County, Florida a place you’ll want to visit again and again.
Things To Do Outside in Northwest Florida
Falling Waters State Park
Just south of Chipley you’ll find Florida’s highest waterfall. Yes, you read that correctly, a waterfall in Florida. Who knew?
When the river isn’t dry, water tumbles over the edge and down 73 feet into the sinkhole below. The waterfall is a short walk from the parking lot and has a couple of viewing platforms.
The lower platform requires using a number of stairs, but the upper platform is handicap accessible.
When you leave the waterfall continue to follow the boardwalk through the woods and around to the lake and picnic area. It’s an easy walk on a well-maintained trail.
In addition to the waterfall and lake, there are a number of sinkholes on the property and 24-roomy campsites.
It’s a great spot to spend part of your day. Pack a lunch and stay awhile.
This is also a great place for my birding friends to visit.
More on Falling Waters State Park
Florida Caverns State Park
Go underground at Florida Caverns State Park. These are the only caves accessible to the public in Florida with guided tours available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The hour-long tour will take you about a half-mile underground. However, if there has been a lot of rain part of the caverns will be closed due to flooding.
That was the case during my visit, but it was still a really cool experience to explore this hidden gem.
You’ll have to take stairs to enter and exit the cave system. Additionally, the tour requires walking on inclines, declines and in some low ceiling areas.
Make sure you are up to the task and wear closed-toed shoes and a lightweight jacket. It’s always 68 degrees in the cavern.
There are stalagmites and stalactites and a whole lot of beautiful formations.
When you find yourself in this part of Florida you do not want to miss seeing what lies beneath.
Tours are available year-round from 9a-4p.
While you are at the caverns be sure to spend some time at one of the 5 springs on the park property.
If you’re up for a little more adventure reserve a campsite and stay a night or two.
The campground has been completely redone, including a brand new bathhouse.
The park offers a number of experiences including canoeing, swimming, geo-seeking, biking, and camping.
More on Florida Caverns State Park.
Orange Hill Gator Farm
Plan a morning adventure at Orange Hill Gator Farm where you’ll have a family-friendly, private tour of the gator breeding houses, gators’ natural habitat, and visits with other animals like turtles and coyotes.
Yes, you’ll even have the opportunity to hold a baby alligator. Tour prices start at $100 for the entire family and are held daily at 9am.
This is also a great place to host a birthday party. What a fun and unique way to celebrate the day with family and friends.
Guests can play with gators, visit with the coyotes and turtles, and the kids can run off all their extra energy. The best part, in my opinion, is not having to clean the house before hosting a party.
You’ll want to bring your phone to take photos and video and be sure to wear closed-toe shoes for safety’s sake.
Reservations are required for the tour or party.
More on Orange Hill Gator Farm.
Take A Dip in the Springs
There are a number of natural springs near Washington County that are fun to explore.
Along Econfina Creek you’ll find Pitt and Sylvan Springs as well as Williford Spring. These three springs offer up crystal clear waters waiting for you to take a dip.
Taking a dip in these natural springs is a unique Florida experience. The region was ravaged by Hurricane Michael a few years ago which drastically changed the landscape, but the springs are still a pretty place to visit.
At the springs you’ll also have the opportunity to picnic, fish, tube, canoe, hike, and view wildlife. Parking is limited so get there early to grab a spot! The springs are open from 8a-8p every day.
One of the best things about this part of Florida is that there are so many rivers and creeks to kayak. There are a number of local outfitters that would be thrilled to help you get on the water.
You’ll find adventures on Holmes Creek, Choctawhatchee River, and Econfina Creek*. Kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or intertube for a day of fun in the water.
*Note that the Econfina Creek is best for experienced paddlers.
Find more information about visiting Northwest Florida on the Visit Washington County Florida website.