Best Local Hikes in Florida

When you think about hiking maybe you envision Reese Witherspoon trudging 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in #Wild (2014). Or maybe you remember Robert Redford’s overly-ambitious plan to trek the entire 2200-mile Appalachian Trail in #A Walk in the Woods (2015). Maybe those visions make you shudder.  But hiking doesn’t have to be that ambitious.  It can be just a stroll in the park. 

The important thing about hiking – particularly in the beginning – is to acknowledge (truthfully) your level of fitness and find trails that match. 

– Easy Trails are exactly what they say.  Flat, uniform, usually short.
– Moderate Trails are longer and include rocks to climb over.
– Advanced Trails are much longer and offer changes in terrain and more rocks and roots.

Secondly, wear appropriate clothing:

– sturdy shoes or boots – no flipflops
– broad-brimmed hat
– lightweight but sturdy pants
– lightweight shirt
– jacket
– water
– protein

If you’re looking for hiking trails, in Florida, check out #Visit Florida’s website for a range of hiking trails.

Blackwater River State Forest

One of the most spectacular views of massive red clay bluffs along Juniper Creek is guaranteed on this northerly section of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

Santa Rosa Island Beach Hike

This trail allows you to hike along the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the only section of any National Scenic Trail that follows an ocean beach.

White Springs Area Trails

If you’re looking for a view of major whitewater rapids, check out Big Shoals State Park.  Camping is allowed on some of the beaches.

Torreya State Park

More experienced hikers will enjoy the challenge of these trails.  From the trail, enjoy stunning vistas of the Apalachicola River up to 200 feet below.

Little Talbot Island

Pass through five ecosystems as you hike the four-mile trail, each offering a unique variety of animal and plant life.

Bulow Plantation Loop

History buffs and hikers will both find something of interest on these 12-mile trails: the ruins of Bulow Plantation, which was burned during the Second Seminole Indian War in 1836 and the 400-year old Fairchild Oak. 

Citrus Hiking Loop

The Citrus Hiking Loop in the Withlacoochee State Forest is a favorite for those training for long-distance backpacking. Day hikers can enjoy shorter loop hikes by utilizing cross trails with multiple access points.

Little Manatee River State Park

Little Manatee River State Park‘s 6.5-mile loop is perfect for hikers to see a diversity of plants and animals commonly seen in Florida’s pine upland communities, including Red Shoulder Hawks, Gopher Tortoise, and White-Tail Deer.

Big Cypress National Preserve

Rugged and beautiful, this hiking destination is regarded as one of the most unusual in the nation. Depending on rainfall and season, you need to be prepared to hike in knee-deep water through miles of dwarf cypresses, bromeliads, and native orchids.

Where is your favorite Florida hiking trail?  Post a comment.  We’d love to hear from you!

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