When you imagine hiking trips, you think of the Smokey Mountains and the Appalachian Trail. There are many unknown destinations that give you a different and sometimes better experience than you ever imagined. Florida has many different kinds of terrain to offer to hikers of all accomplishments. It does not take a mountain trail to create a great a great trip.
Florida has a tropical edge that is not recreated anywhere else in the US.
Florida has an excellent trail system that runs the whole length of the state. South Florida boasts and area called Big Cyprus that has been made famous by local photographer Clyde Butcher.
The South Florida Everglades offer a complex system of lakes and marshes that offer all kinds of different experiences. Hike alongside lakes with beautiful palmetto and pine trees. You can even take an excursion on an airboat that skims along the water powered by an engine with an airplane propeller.
You can head north via trails that head on the east and west coasts of the state. The west coast features warm, lush forests and sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Along the east coast you will find huge beaches and cooler climates that are fed by the Atlantic Ocean.
You will be able to see the environment change drastically as you hit the middle of the state. Pine trees start to mingle with oaks and maples. There is also the start of some elevation changes as you move inland.
Reaching Northern Florida brings you to a fork where you will need to decide if you would like to go east or west.
This is a larger decision than near the beginning in South Florida because as you work North from that point the east and west trail meet a couple times. Up here, the eastern route will lead you to Jacksonville and north where there are beautiful islands to explore along the Atlantic Ocean. Hiking east will bring you along the panhandle of Florida towards Alabama along the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida also has a very diverse ecosystem where you may see alligators in South Florida and then see deer in central and North Florida. There is also nothing like camping on a desolate beach and waking up to the surf in the morning. Florida is truly a fantastically unique hiking experience.
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By: David Stone -