The best winter hikes in Florida
The weather has finally turned, and while the rest of the country is stocking provisions and prepping for winter hibernation, we Floridians can finally go outside.
- That means it's time to hike.
Why it matters: Our best weather is from now through March, and the benefits of hiking are enormous, so we're here to encourage you to plan your next trip.
The big picture: Florida has more than 1,300 recreational trails across the state for hiking, biking, riding horses, paddling or off-roading.
- This interactive state map shows them all.
- It includes the Florida National Scenic Trail, which runs more than 1,100 miles from the Big Cypress swamp to the Gulf Islands in the Panhandle.
Plus: Here's a handy guide to some of our favorite Florida trails around Tampa Bay.
Ben here. I recommend a hike in the Green Swamp, which I did for the first time back in February, and is, as I've written, a 560,000-acre world of wonder in our backyard.
- From there, follow the orange blazes south through a mosaic of astonishing protected wetlands environments.
- The trail is mostly dry, but there is one spot where you must wade across a wet slough.
- Primitive campsites are available to hikers.
Bonus: We asked celebrated writer Jeff Klinkenberg, who has covered Florida for nearly 50 years, for his favorite hikes:
- Boyd Hill Preserve, St. Petersburg
- Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales
- Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring
- Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy
- Those tram roads off Janes Scenic Drive in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Of note: Hurricane Ian affected several land and water trails. Check with local trail managers before embarking.
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