One of the grandaddies of the Florida Park System, Highlands Hammock State Park protects the amazing beauty of an ancient oak and palm hammock dense with trees many centuries old. A network of short trails and a scenic one-way loop drive make it easy for all visitors to appreciate the natural grandeur of this park.
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Just west of US 27 in Sebring.
Standing at the base of an oak tree more than 36 feet in circumference and over 1,000 years old, you’re immersed in a world that has nearly vanished from the face of the earth, an island of ancient forest surrounded by a sea of cattle ranches, citrus groves, and subdivisions.
When Margaret S. Roebling – widow of John Roebling, famed builder of the Brooklyn Bridge – came to Sebring in the 1920s, she found this ancient hammock a place of serenity, and purchased it to preserve it.
A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established to build the “Florida Botanical Garden and Arboretum” in these grand forests, but plans shifted to creating one of Florida’s first (and still one of its finest) state parks. It opened in 1931.
Whether your preference is a gentle drive along the one-way loop in the depths of the ancient hammock, a walk or two (or five) on loop trails through the woods and marshes, or a bicycle ride under the dense canopy, it’s a place to savor the passage of ages, where ferns grow to enormous size.
Florida’s one and only Civilian Conservation Corps Museum showcases the history of the program and how these hardworking men were responsible for the beginnings of the Florida State Parks system.
Explore the park
- Ancient Hammock Trail- At Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, the Ancient Hammock Trail shows off the glory of towering cabbage palms and live oaks up to a thousand years old and more
- Cypress Boardwalk- Teeter-tottering above a swamp, experience a stretch of old-time catwalk through the cypress swamp on the Cypress Boardwalk at Highlands Hammock State Park
- Florida and the CCC- Highlands Hammock State Park is home to the Florida CCC Museum, which recounts the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps contributions to Florida, particularly to the state park system.
- Highlands Hammock Nature Trails- Encompassing a jungle of ancient oak hammocks and floodplain forests, Highlands Hammock is Sebring’s crown jewel and a Florida State Park that you won’t want to miss
- Young Hammock Trail- Walk beneath immense oaks and pines on the Young Hammock Trail at Highlands Hammock State Park, a half-mile nature trail that showcases the succession of habitats