About

Sandra Friend & John Keatley

About Us

Take one adventuresome author, add one outdoorsy guy, spend a few months together on the Appalachian Trail, and you get us: Sandra Friend and John Keatley (aka JK & Navigator), your hosts to the grand adventure that is Florida’s outdoors.

Between us, we’ve hiked and biked over 20,000 miles, toured by motorcycle and sailboat, explored waterways by kayak and SUP, slogged through swamps and scrambled up mountains, met presidents and worked with astronauts. We hike, camp, backpack, paddle, bike, and explore the outdoors from our vintage VW camper.

As luck had it, we met while hiking the Florida Trail, which we both love. We’ve been inseparable as an outdoors couple since sharing our 2012 attempt at thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Sandra has written 29 books, with more than a dozen on Florida’s natural areas and hiking, and several apps. John started blogging in early 2012 and joined in on two new guidebooks in 2013.

John’s outdoor background includes sailing, diving, and extensive bike touring. He’s ridden numerous Safaris and two Cross-Florida rides in a day.

We’re both public speakers, and are members of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and the Society of American Travel Writers, where Sandra serves on the Board of Directors.

Thanks for joining us!  Our mission is to connect you with the outdoors, and by doing so, hope that you fall in love with Florida’s natural places as much as we have, and will help conserve and protect them in the future.

About Florida Hikes!

Back in February 2006, Sandra started Florida Hikes! as a blog to share her favorite hikes, and dusted off old webmaster skills to bring it up to what it is today – a robust hiking community sharing information on hiking in Florida, from easy walks on boardwalks to backpacking trips on the Florida Trail. John’s eclectic outdoors background, a stress reliever during 33 years of working with both mechanics and astronauts on the Space Shuttle program, has enabled us to greatly expand our content and fields of interest since 2012.

With more than 5,000 miles of hiking trails to explore across two time zones, there are hikes in Florida for all ages, abilities, and interests. In 2014, we expanded our mission to bring you a full array of easy outdoor recreation in Florida, including camping, cycling, and paddling, as well as information on our many parks throughout the state. We also merged in our “Trails & Travel” blog under the new Travels section to share our worldwide travels as well.

We hope you enjoy exploring this website and find it as useful as many of our readers have. We’re always tickled to get thank yous in our email box and through Facebook.

Information on this website is provided for your personal use. You’re welcome to email it, print it out, or link to it.  Be sure to read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Since we write hiking guides on a regular basis, we do try to keep current with what’s changed out there. If you’ve seen changes to a trail, feel free to leave updates in the comments section.  The content on this site is fluid – that is, don’t be surprised to see it change.  As we package up a group of hikes for use in a book, we may compress the level of detail provided on these pages. Or if we revisit a site, we may add more information.

If you have questions, no problem! Just drop us a line. Thanks for stopping in!