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 have explored 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 40 books, with more than a dozen on Florida’s natural areas and hiking. John started blogging in early 2012 and joined in on research and writing books after we returned home from the Appalachian Trail. We also produce the content for a very popular app.
John’s outdoor background includes sailing, diving, and extensive bike touring. He’s ridden numerous Safaris and two Cross-Florida rides in a day. He’s also grew up with Scouting. He became an Eagle Scout and the Lodge Chief of Tipisa Lodge, Order of the Arrow. He served as a camp counselor for several seasons at Camp La-No-Che in Central Florida.
We’re both public speakers, and are members of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Outdoor Writers Association of America, and the Society of American Travel Writers, where Sandra recently served on the Board of Directors for four years. She is now the Immediate Past Chair of the Freelance Council for SATW. We are life members of the Florida Trail Association and several other outdoor organizations.
Thanks for joining us! Our mission is to connect you with the outdoors, and by doing so, we 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.
Interested in working with us? We offer workshops, we license our photography, we work with clients to create travel products and content for their websites, we review outdoor products, and more.
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 share our worldwide explorations outdoors under a separately-branded Travel section, Trails and Travel.
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.
- If you wish to reuse any of the content on this site, please contact us about setting up a licensing agreement.
- If you represent a destination or service that fits what we do here, we offer partnership opportunities.
- If you represent a gear manufacturer, yes, we do test and review gear in Florida’s unique outdoor environment. Let us know what you’d like us to look at.
- For more about Sandra’s writing background, please see her personal website.
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! Contact us. Thanks for stopping in!