The 15 Best Hiking Trails in Florida!

Last spring, nearly 39 million people went hiking or backpacking in the U.S., according to Statista. But it’s probably safe to say many hikers associate the activity with elevations, among hills and mountains. Not many imagine the state of Florida, one of the flattest states in the country.  

“Hiking in Florida is very different than hiking in most of the United States,” says the Florida Trail Association. They point out that hikers who come here from the Appalachians, Rockies, and Cascades soon discover that their preconceived ideas about Florida hiking are flipped on their head.  

But just because Florida doesn’t have mountains, doesn’t mean your hike is going to a walk in the park, adds the Florida Trail Association which is an obvious advocate of the practice. 

Entering fall, this is the very best times to take a hike in the Sunshine State. But where should you go? Stay with us as we direct you to the top 10 hikes in the state of Florida.

1. The Florida Trail

This is the state’s very best hiking spot and No. 1 on almost anyone’s list. The trail is almost 1,400 miles long and is a designated National Scenic Trail (by the U.S. Congress). The idea is for hikers and others to see the amazing biodiversity, history and even the culture of the state of Florida. This trail stretches from the Everglades to Pensacola Beach, making it one of only 11 National Scenic Trails across the country. 

The trail has gaps where users have to hike along roads, though most of it is protected from urban development. But for the most, it’s well-maintained and offers modern facilities that easily accommodate all ages.

2. The Ocala National Forest

This area goes way back to 1908 when it was established as the first national forest east of the Mississippi. It was also the birthplace of the Florida Trail years later in 1966. Today, it offers nearly 300 miles of backcountry and is easily one of the most popular camping spots in Florida. A lot of hikers prefer the Juniper Prairie Wilderness area, best known for its diverse ecosystem. The only ways to visit it are by canoe or by hiking one of the numerous trails found all over.

3. Anhinga Trail, Homestead, FL

This is a popular trail in part because it is near the entrance of the Everglades National Park. Less than half a mile long, the trail goes over a paved walkway and boardwalk. It’s famous for abundant wildlife visible from the trail. Alligators are the most sought-after sight, and there are usually some of them around. A few years ago, national news outlets carried the fight between a gator and a Burmese python. It went on for 24 hours until a larger gator joined the fight. It ended in a draw but attracted national attention to Burmese pythons, which are not native to Florida. In fact, the state sponsors a yearly bounty hunt for the snakes, which are highly invasive. You’re not likely to see a Python but chances are good some alligators will be around. And the walk is an easy one.

4. Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail, Apopka, FL

A local newspaper (The Orlando Sentinel) called this a hike with a “perfect ending.” At the finish of the 10-mile trail, hikers can jump into the refreshing and always 72-degree fresh water spring. Before the plunge, the trip is a look at an unspoiled Florida the way it was. This is one of the state’s more popular parks with several thousand acres of protected land. Hikers see cypress swamps, and scrubby flatwoods of pine and palmetto. If you go, don’t forget to bring your bathing suit.

5. Spruce Bluff Natural Area, Port St. Lucie, FL

You probably didn’t know that Florida has its own share of ghost towns. There was once a pioneer settlement here along the banks of the St. Lucie River until the so-called “Big Freeze” killed it off in the late 18th century. So there’s a history lesson here in a decaying old cemetery and preserved buildings. One of the trails in the 97-acre area describes the location of the 1891 pioneer settlement and cemetery right along the banks of the St. Lucie River. Another trail continues the historic trend by describing the importance of a Native American mound and its uses of native plants found on the trail. A blogger who lives in one of the nearby neighborhoods writes that it is “home to one of the largest AIS Indian mounds in South Florida and dates back to pre-ceramic time in the 1500 & 1600s.”

6. Foster’s Hammock Loop Trail and the Big Shoals Trail, White Springs, FL

You know this small city because of the Suwannee River. Stephen Foster made it famous in the song. The city used to be known for spas but today, that reputation is equaled by hiking trails. Many of them follow the Suwannee, of course. One is the eight-mile Foster Hammock Loop Trail in the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park that takes you through high river bluffs and limestone formations. Another equally well-known hiking place is the Big Shoals State Park, which also has limestone bluffs towering about eight stories above the banks of the Suwannee. A good alternative is the seven-mile (round trip) Woodpecker Trail, rich in those types of birds and others as well. 

7. Lake Rogers County Park, Odessa, FL

This is a very well-kept park with beautiful flowers beside what many admirers describe as an “alluring lake.” The 272-acre park also has a 2.5-mile loop trail where hikers are shaded by pine flatwoods and oak hammocks. Bloggers describe it as a hidden gem and foot-friendly place for daily, comfortably-sized-walks of one or two hours. 

8. The J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, FL

This area has long been known for its environmental attractions and the main reason to visit this nationally acclaimed wildlife refuge is the birds. Or the great variety of birds evident in hiking the four-mile Indigo Trail, where night herons, white ibis and alligators are common residents. If that hike is not enough, there are two other shorter trails, teeming with wildlife, as well as the Shell Mound Trail that has an interpretive boardwalk. Sanibel has long been famous for its shelling opportunities but even more for its abundant bird life. Interpretive panels along the trails explain native vegetation as well as information about the ancient Calusa Indians who lived here. The refuge is named after Jay Darling, an artist and environmentalist who used the name “Ding” for his cartoons. The best months for birding are here coming up: December through March, but birds are on hand year-round.

9. The Collier-Seminole State Park, Naples, FL

The Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail at this park is a good brisk walk of just under one mile. Its claim to fame? The Royal Palm Hammocks, which are hardwood trees generally found only in the Caribbean. But when you get to the end of this less than one-mile trail, you will find a boardwalk with a scenic overlook of a salt marsh popular with birds. A second hiking adventure is more like a west cypress swamp. A good portion of the 6.5-mile trail is wet much of the year. Because these trails can become watery, they are best for adults and not usually recommended for children. It might take you an estimated four hours to go over the entire trail. The third trail is for hikers and off-road bikers. You will find here a historic road bed called “Old Marco Road” that is easily walkable, and usually dry. You may very well encounter deer and black bears.

10. Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, FL

It’s one of the state’s oldest parks, first opened in 1931 during the “Great Depression,” but the real reason to visit it today is for its bio-diversity and for what has been preserved. The park features huge, live oaks and cabbage palms, some of them a thousand years-old or more. Birds and other Florida natives can be seen from elevated boardwalks. One popular trail is an easy three-mile loop. but there are several others. 

11. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy, FL

This was the state’s first park. There are a lot of trails, including one that is 16-miles long and paved, most of the way. But the real attraction may be that it’s one of the few places to see more than alligators. The area is home to bison, wild horses, and an estimated 270 species of birds. There’s a 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor’s center for the best views.

12. Withlacoochee State Park Inverness, FL

You want a long scenic walk? Maybe not this one in its entirety because at 46 miles, it is perhaps the longest paved rail-trail in the state. But there are many access points for shorter trips and the trail is so flat that it can be enjoyed by all fitness levels. It has many opportunities for viewing plants and wildlife. There are also various other recreational chances. It runs through many small towns and ranches. Walkers and others can stop along the trail for all-day meals. It was named one of the "10 Coolest Places You've Never Been in North America" by the World Wildlife Fund. If you don’t want to walk, bicycles are fine, and there are even sections where horses are allowed.

13. Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville, FL

It’s worth a visit because there are not many more undeveloped barrier islands in Florida. But here you will find five miles of white sandy beaches. Wildlife viewing includes river otters and marsh rabbits that are not found just anywhere. Talbot Island includes seven parks. The best trail may be the four-mile Dune Ridge version that takes hikers through five natural communities, including marshes and an ending stroll along the sandy beach. Swimming is permitted in the Atlantic Ocean at Little Talbot Island except for designated areas. Surfing is also possible and the north beach area is the best place for it. Note: There are no lifeguards. The ranger station at the main entrance has information for all of the seven parks.

14. Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna, FL

Not your usual “walk in the woods” type of place. This is the only state park offering cave tours to the public. The guided tours offered Thursday through Monday last 45 minutes and are rated “moderately strenuous.” The caverns offer limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites (both above and below). Hiking trails also allow bicyclists and horseback riding. There’s even a nearby golf course. 

15. Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL

Florida as a state has more than 1,000 miles of oceanfront (a hiking option not found everywhere). So beach walks or hikes here can offer solitude and seashells, with the sights and sounds of the seaside. One of the best places for a beach hike is Anastasia, which has 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and four miles of pristine beach ideal for oceanfront walking. There’s also a self-guided nature trail through some ancient sand dunes. Be sure to take a few minute for Coquina Quarry, an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to build the nearby Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

Florida Search
View more Florida Hiking Trails.
Find Hiking Trails Near You
Find Hiking Trails Near You
611 SE Dar Lane, Port Saint Lucie, FL
Two self-guiding interpretive trails cover this 97-acre site. One loop trail describes the site of the 1891 pioneer settlement and cemetery along t... Read More
325 John Knox Rd, Tallahassee, FL
The Ocala National Forest, located north of Orlando, is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest c... Read More
5415 SouthWest 13th Street, Gainesville, FL
HistoryEvery organization has a unique story behind its founding, and the Florida Trail Association is no exception. It was incorporated in 1964 to... Read More
1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL
Surrounded by urban sprawl, Oscar Scherer State Park is an unexpected oasis providing visitors with a refreshing escape into natural Florida.Oscar ... Read More
7720 Deaton Bridge Road, Holt, FL
Blackwater River boasts an incredible array of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, many centered around the park’s namesake waterway.Despi... Read More
11330 S.E. County Road 135, White Springs, FL
When the water level on the Suwannee River is between 59 and 61 feet above mean sea level, the Big Shoals rapids earn a Class III Whitewater classi... Read More
1445 Millcoe Rd, Jacksonville, FL
Mission Statement Cultivating a unique environment for recreation, education and inspiration.   Goals Conservation: To provide stewardship... Read More
11395 South West 79 Street, Miami, FL
The Indian Hammocks Action Sports Plaza is a 14,000 square foot out door concrete plaza. Inspired by iconic skateboarding meccas such as Love Park ... Read More
1855 NorthEast 135 Street, North Miami Beach, FL
About Us:A small park with a large and significant history, Arch Creek Park was created around a natural limestone bridge formation that was once p... Read More
16450 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, FL
16 distinct natural communities create the mosaic that is Jonathan Dickinson, the largest state park in Southeast Florida.Rare environments such as... Read More
100 Savannah Boulevard, Micanopy, FL
Not just found out west, herds of wild horses and bison roam the prairie in this surprisingly diverse preserve south of Gainesville.Paynes Prairie ... Read More
3401 SouthWest 72 Avenue, Miami, FL
A.D. Barnes Park is a 65-acre park nestled in the heart of one of Miami's busiest areas.  The park is dedicated to and named after the first D... Read More
9010 North Mobley Rd., Odessa, FL
Located in northwestern Hillsborough County, Lake Rogers Park is the "newest" of the County's regional parks when it opened in 2000. Owned by the C... Read More
4 Nautical Miles West of Pine Island, Cayo Costa, FL
Cayo Costa State Park protects the Charlotte Harbor Estuary and provides visitors with a majestic piece of untouched Florida.An unspoiled Gulf Coas... Read More
8450 Placida Road, Cape Haze, FL
Beautiful Don Pedro Island State Park is part of an extensive chain of barrier islands extending along Florida's Gulf Coast.Between Knight Island a... Read More
20007 State Road 64 East, Bradenton, FL
Lake Manatee State Park is located 15 miles east of Bradenton, Florida on State Road 64. It extends three miles along the south shore of beautiful ... Read More
674 Troy Springs Road, Branford, FL
This 70-foot deep, first magnitude spring offers opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.Nestled in the shallow water of the spring... Read More
11650 NW 115 Street, Chiefland, FL
Manatee Springs State Park proves boardwalks aren’t only for the beach. Its 800 foot boardwalk runs through a majestic cypress forest overloo... Read More
6503 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL
Formerly known as John U. Lloyd Beach State ParkThis beachside park just south of Port Everglades is the last example of an undeveloped coastal eco... Read More
601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, De Leon Springs, FL
Offering visitors a Florida experience that blends its recreational swimming area with its fascinating history.Once called Acuera, or “Healin... Read More
Show More
Select a Florida town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Gilchrist County
Lafayette County