Without question, Florida offers some of the most stunning shoreline sights and scenic vistas in the entire country. With the following five beautiful, awe-inspiring hikes, it’s easy to see why they call it the Sunshine State! In Florida, there’s a gorgeous hike for all levels of skill. Here are five of our favorites.
Alderman’s Ford Park in Lithia, Florida, is one of the most accessible parks in the state. The Alderman’s Ford Park has an easy loop through a heavily wooded area. Enjoy the cypresses, oaks, and sand-bottomed streams. The loop is only 0.3 miles, which isn’t much for the serious hiker, but is perfect for those with minimal experience. Keep in mind that there is a $2 entrance fee.
The largest national forest in Florida, Apalachicola covers more than 600,000 acres of land and is perfect for the journeyman backpack hiker. Gander at the blooming pitcher plants each spring and venture into the Bradwell Bay Wilderness. The fees are generally $3 per vehicle, with additional camping fees at sites along the various trails.
Alligator Lake provides one of the nicest day hikes in the state. Hiking is the park’s primary focus, with picnic areas, playgrounds, canoe launchings, and hiking trails sprinkled throughout. Take the Montgomery Trail for the longest loop around the lake, which is about three miles in length. At around the mile and a half mark, you’ll likely start to see alligators in the lake. Follow the dike to avoid a face-to-face. Check the website for a mile-marker breakdown.
Bear Lake Trail is part of Blackwater River State Forest near Munson, Florida, and offers the perfect dog-friendly hike. The trail is a four-mile loop around a reservoir. Many visitors bring their pets. You might see alligators along the trail, but it’s more common to see various types of birds and anglers trying their luck on the water.
One of the best, quick, four-mile-long nature trails is through the Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area near Ocklawaha, Florida. If you follow the Fox Trot Loop to Lemon Point, you’ll find panoramic views of Lake Weir. Wildlife lovers will enjoy spotting deer, fox squirrels, birds, and more. Keep in mind that there is a $5 fee to enter the park.