The varied landscape of Florida makes for some excellent hiking. Don’t believe us? Check out the list below of our five favorite hiking trails in Florida. From a backpacking bonanza to an island with a lot of heart, you’ll love exploring the sunshine state via trail. Don’t forget – hiking can be dangerous at times! Bring solid shoes, plenty of water, and always go with a friend if you can.
Avoid the crowds at the beach or the theme park — you might be surprised how much fun a walk in nature can be!
The top hiking trails in Florida
1. Ocala North
This park might be small, but it packs a powerful scenic punch. Keeps your eyes peeled for abundant wildlife like jays, bears, deers, and gopher. For those with a bit of spirit, try the multi-day backpacking trip down the Florida National Scenic Trail. This northern section is made up of 35 miles of trails that pass through a rolling sand habitat. The area known as the “Big Scrup” is made up of 360,000 acres. Here you’ll find bountiful hills, ponds, pine forest and boardwalks through cypress and gum swamps.
2. Little Talbot Island
Another hiking area with a misleading name — Little Talbot Island has great Florida hiking trails that are big on wildlife viewing. Walk by breathtaking beaches and five different ecosystems all within one 4 mile trail. The varieties of plant and animal life here are endless. An additional quarter-mile nature trail is located at the campground’s southern loop – just in case you want to hike a little more. Step off the trail for a quick dip or kayak trip.
3. Bulow Plantation Loop
Hike around the ruins of Bulow Plantation, a structure that was burned down during the Second Simonole Indian War in 1836. The seven mile loop connects Bulow State Park to the plantation under an awning of some incredibly old oak trees. The 400-year old Fairchild Oak, one of the largest southern live oaks in the South, is not to be missed.
4. Little Manatee River State Park
Just a short ways from Tampa, Little Manatee is a hidden treasure along the gulf coast. The river itself flows for nearly five miles through varied ecosystems, and is truly nature’s paradise. The trail is a 7 mile loop perfect for hikers who want to spot some rare animals on both land and water. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks, tortoise, and white-tailed deer.
5. Big Cypress National Preserve
For those hikers looked for something more rugged, Big Cypress is your pick. Big Cypress National Preserve encompasses the southernmost section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Depending on rainfall and season, be prepared to hike in knee-deep water though miles of swamp with live, growing plants. Have your camera ready – this is one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered Florida panther. Most of the trail at this unique park is underwater, so come prepared to wade more than hike. A hike unlike any other.