Summer Solstice Salutations! 10 ways to adventure into summer

Aug 22 / CATEGORY: Outdoors

What is the Summer Solstice?

This Friday, June 21stmarks the onset of the astronomical summer!  “Solstice” in Latin means “sun-stopping” and is used to describe the exact moment when the sun reaches its northernmost point and thus its greatest distance from the Earth’s equator, providing us the longest day of the year.  This means that we will have early dawns, long days, and a late sunsets.

Solstices have a rich cultural history, inspiring celebration amongst diverse communities throughout the ages, including the construction of Stonehenge.  After all, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the longest day of sunshine and the onset of summer!

There is no better way to celebrate this moment than by going outside and appreciating the beauty that the sun provides.

Here are 10 ways to celebrate 2019’s Summer Solstice:

Local Getaways

1) Explore Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve

Located only 3 miles from the University of Florida, Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve provides opportunities to connect with Gainesville’s local wildlife and habitats.  The park consists of more than 125 acres of wetlands and is home to vast numbers of plants, birds, butterflies, alligators and wild horses!  Walk more than 3.5 miles along the preserve’s trails and boardwalks while viewing lush landscapes and learning about the habitat through educational signs and tours.

For more information:

2) Adventure at Lake Wauburg

A short drive from campus resides one of UF’s ultimate gateways into the outdoors.  Lake Wauburg’s north and south shores offer UF students faculty and staff a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors with a wide array of activities.  Whether you visit the north shore to relax on the lakeside beach, take a swim, and learn how to sail, or step it up a notch and master south shore’s 55-foot tall climbing wall, there’s an adventure for everyone.

For more information:

3) Hike Morningside Nature Center

Feel like a hike?  Morningside Nature Center offers more than 7 miles of trails through beautiful flatwoods, sand hills, and cypress domes.  Morningside’s 278 acres feature a spectacular wildflower display and diverse wildlife viewing.

For more information:

4) Bike the Hawthorne

Take advantage of the extra day light time and challenge yourself to bike the infamous Hawthorne trail!  Start your day by strolling around Depot Park, enjoying the morning’s tranquility and then embark on your bike adventure by following signs for “Hawthorne Bike Trail”.  Meander through 16 miles of conservation lands, stopping for scenic vistas, wildlife sightings, and glimpses of railroad history and end with a hard earned meal in the quaint town of Hawthorne.

For more information:

5) Picnic at the Historic Thomas Center

Nestled in the heart of Gainesville stands the Historic Thomas Center and a perfect destination for a day picnic with your friends or family.  The impressive architecture, beautiful surroundings and open space make for a serene atmosphere to bring a blanket and read a book.  There is also a museum if you’d like brief sojourn from the sunny day!

For more information and location:

Within 2 hour drive

6) Surf St. Augustine

Head to the coast for a beach getaway and learn how to surf in the shallow, beginner friendly waves.  Spend the day listening to the waves and admiring the suns reflection upon the water or release your inner child and build an intricate sand castle. Head into town as the afternoon progresses and immerse yourself in the rich history that St. Augustine was built upon. Explore historic forts and walk down the charming streets with an ice cream shop at every corner.

This summer’s solstice provides the best opportunity to see what this town has to offer all in one day!

For more information:

Surfboards available to rent from CORE!

7) SUP the Itch

Explore one of Florida’s pristine spring-fed rivers while paddling down the Ichetucknee.  Let the river carry you though shaded hammocks and forests and bring you close to the rivers inhabitants, including turtles sunbathing on logs, birds wading in the shallow, and otters playing in the currents.

For more information about paddling the Ichetucknee:

SUP’s are available to rent at CORE as well as anything else you need

8) Bike or Hike Ocala National Forest

Explore Florida’s very own National Forest and renowned trail biking destinations. Ocala National Forest offers a range of activities including hiking sections of the Florida trail, canoeing, biking, snorkeling and much more.

For more information:

9) Canoe the Chaz

Located a 2 hour drive south west of Gainesville lies a Florida Gem!  The crystal-clear springs and wildlife make the Chassahowhitzka River an incredible canoe trail.  Paddle over magical springs and discover mysterious lagoons and swimming holes.  Bring a snorkel to check out the underwater scenery and a mindset to explore!

For more information:

Canoes and kayaks available for rent at CORE

10) Kayak Cedar Key

Head to the west coast to Sea kayak with Cedar Key’s local dolphin population!  Explore the charm of a small town fishing community nestled among many keys on the Gulf Coast.  Cedar key is rich with history and impressive opportunities to get close to nature.

For more information about visiting Cedar Key:

Tandem Sea Kayaks available for rent at CORE

Happy Summer Solstice!