Are you a hiker? Or do you want to try something new this summer? No matter your reasons, getting out and hiking is great for your physical and mental health. It’s a good workout, it’s in the fresh air and nature is known to help relieve stress or anxiety for many people. These are just some of the many benefits you may find if you hit the trails this summer. Here are some of the top hikes in Florida for everyone from beginners to lifelong hikers.
- Torreya State Park: There are several hikes here that can be enjoyable and challenging. Walk through the endangered Torreya tree, and see the Florida yew.
- Santa Rosa Island Beach Hike: At Fort Pickens, you can walk along part of the Florida National Scenic Trail along an ocean beach.
- Little Talbot Island: View various wildlife and pass through five ecosystems on this four mile trail.
- Big Cypress National Preserve: In the southernmost section of the Florida National Scenic Trail, this rugged park has what some consider the most unusual hiking around. You may even see an endangered panther!
- Citrus Hiking Loop: With 40 miles of trails, hiking and even backpacking can be enjoyed here. Challenging trails and simpler loops can take hikers through varying habitats, with the chance to see different plants and wildlife.
- Florida National Scenic Trail: If you’re up for a real challenge, the entire Florida Trail is more than 1,000 miles long, with the average “thru-hike” completed in two to three months. Not up for the whole thing? There are plenty of places to jump on part of the trail for a day hike.
Tips for hiking
Bring plenty of water. Typically, half a liter per hour per person is considered the standard for most hikes. If in doubt, bring more than you think you’ll need.
Wear a hat and sunscreen.
Tell someone where you are going. Especially if you are hiking alone, make sure someone knows where you’ll be and when to expect you back.
Wear the correct shoes. Tennis shoes may be okay for some trails, but hiking boots may be needed for others. Be sure to wear shoes that protect your feet. Leave the flip flops in the car.
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