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Putnam County Florida, known for it natural beauty and outdoor adventure, has a quiet little getaway called Gillis Pond. As word has spread, more visitors are enjoying this secluded piece of paradise that locals have known about for years.
With plenty of public access at Gillis Pond, swimming, boating, canoeing, and kayaking are available year round. The fishing is great whether anglers choose to stand on the shoreline or to launch their boat as crappie, brown trout, and blue catfish take the bait. However, if you should want a more private setting here for your own, real estate opportunities and lake front homes are available.
Gillis Pond's beauty is only one example of how Putnam County takes great pride in its conservation efforts throughout the county. At nearby Caravelle Ranch Conservation Area, outdoor adventure is plentiful. Hunting for doves, deer, feral hogs, quail, turkey and squirrel is permitted. Fishing for largemouth bass, white catfish, brown bullheads, and yellow bullheads is excellent along the part of the St. Johns River that flows through the management area. With over 20 miles of multi-use trails, hiking, biking, and horseback riding let you discover the splendor of the public lands including bird watching and the many wildlife that call the swampy region home. The Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve provides a protected natural habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals especially the gopher tortoise, white tailed deer, turkey, bobcat and many species of birds. Here you can also experience the great outdoors by hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping. Ravine Gardens State Park is picturesque setting demonstrating how dramatic landscaping over a ravine can transform the section into a colorful blooming park to accentuate thousands years of erosion
Close to Gillis Pond, the St. Johns River flows north in Putnam County. Exploring the river is always an adventure. Take a step back in time as you go up the river in the oldest operating ferry in Florida. If you prefer a fast paced adrenaline rush excursion, then charter an air boat where you may have close encounters with alligators and manatees as the water sprays in your face. For a more sedate trip where you can explore the river at your leisure, investigate houseboat rentals that will allow you to gently float along with the current.
Gillis Pond is part of Cross Florida's Tourism Region. This section of Florida follows the Marjorie Harris Carr Greenway which is named after the woman who was successful in stopping the environmentally damaging canal connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Along this 110 mile corridor, visitors will be amazed at the natural beauty that waits to be explored. The 383,000 acres of Ocala National Forest, the southernmost forest in the continental United States, offers more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs for fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Off water adventure includes year round camping, bird watching, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and four wheeling. The towns and cities along the Greenway offer vacation rentals and great dining opportunities. With shopping venues from antiques, malls, country stores, art boutiques, and quaint markets, you will not go home without a few mementos of your trip.
Gillis Pond and Putnam County are a great destination choice. Be sure to pack your camera and extra batteries to snap all the unforgettable settings accessible within a short drive. With so much to do and see, make plans for a long stay so you will not miss any of the fun and adventure.
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