Forests and canyons are likely not two things you’d expect to visit in Central Florida, but drive from Daytona Beach and you’ll find the expansive 673-square-mile Ocala National Forest, also known as the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, denoted by numerous bear crossing signs along State Route 40.
The Ocala National Forest boasts hiking trails, canoe runs, over 600 lakes and even 19th-century homesteads to explore. Florida fisherman can enjoy the Rodman Reservoir, one of the best largemouth bass lakes in Florida.
Drive further, through the lovely, canopied roads, and you’ll end up at the ultimate destination: Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park. Built atop a flooded limestone quarry, this 100-acre park with 100-foot elevation changes, sits in Big Cliff Canyon and offers multiple treetop zip lines above and through the tree canopy. Choose three, five or nine zip packages, or even a full moon nighttime tour. Closer to the ground, park-goers may choose horseback riding, kayak tours or gem mining.
The most popular tour is the Treetop Express, a five-zip-line, two-sky-bridge, 90-minute tour guided by two skilled and attentive guides. You’ll experience a breathtaking zip across the 85-foot deep Lost Spring Lake. The guides are engaging, entertaining, safety-conscious and ensure their guests are safe, smiling and flying the whole way! If you’ve never been zip lining, it’s fun, smooth, fast, safe and exhilarating, and the perfect way to literally harness your fears.
If you have the time and need a little more adrenaline, the Big Cliff Canyon tour is for you. With nine zip lines up to 1,150 feet long, two sky bridges (one bridge is 100 feet in length and will challenge your resolve) and a rappel off of the final platform, you’ll be flying high and zipping at heights of over 130 feet.
Zip line participants must weigh between 70-270 pounds. Reservations are required, and don’t forget your closed-toed shoes and your sense of adventure. Photo packages and even GoPro rentals (the camera is mounted on your helmet) are available. For more information and to make reservations, visit www.zipthecanyons.com or call 352-351-ZIPS (9477).