Exploring South Florida
In the rural middle of the southern Florida peninsula, ranches surround the high ground of the Lake Wales Ridge until you reach Lake Okeechobee.
Here, sugar cane fields and citrus groves stretch to the horizon. South of Alligator Alley, millions of acres of watery wilds are protected by Everglades National Park and within the Big Cypress ecosystem.
On the SOUTHEAST and SOUTHWEST coasts, barrier islands and inland prairies are protected for hiking, paddling, and trail riding.
Hundreds of small but critical urban parks provide quiet getaways for families to enjoy birding, wildlife watching, and the colorful blooms that appear year-round.
East or West around Lake Okeechobee?
Making the decision to walk the Florida Trail east or west around Lake Okeechobee used to be easy. Now, with construction zones blocking access to much of the southern half of the lake, it isn’t. Here are the facts on each route’s strengths and weaknesses to help you decide the best route for you.
Our 2020 update of the state of the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee. Thru-hikers should continue to use Okeechobee West as their route around the lake. We provide full details on why.
The Trans-Florida Central Railroad Trail
If you’ve seen the prominent Trans-Florida Central Railroad Trail over Interstate 95 at Fellsmere, you’ve probably wondered about it. Here’s what we found when we stopped for a ride.
How To Prepare For A Backpacking Trip
What does a hiker need to spend a week, or a month, or three months on the trail? Here are trail-tested suggestions for backpacking in Florida for trips of a week or more
Bear season in Florida
As Florida black bears become active in late winter and spring, the chances of a bear encounter go up significantly if you leave food unsecured outdoors – whether in your campsite or at home.
Every Kid Outdoors
Got kids? If any of them are in fourth grade, they can get a free pass to ALL Federal public lands good for the whole family through the end of August. Here’s how.
Crossing Big Cypress
It’s Florida’s roughest, wettest, weirdest backpacking trip, best tackled with friends. Along this 30 mile stretch of the Florida Trail in the heart of Big Cypress National Preserve, immersing in the swamp is the point of the hike. Sandra tackled it as the final stretch of her multi-year 1,110-mile section hike of the Florida Trail, end-to-end.
In spring, alligators become more active as the days warm up. It’s also mating season, so alligators are on the move. Expect to see them anywhere and everywhere along Florida’s trails.
Do Not Feed the Bears
Bear bagging is the art of hanging your food properly out of reach of bears. If you’re a Florida backpacker and haven’t learned how, here’s a short course. Securing your food from bears is required in the Ocala, Osceola, and Apalachicola National Forests.
Botanically rich hikes along the Florida Trail
With more than 1,400 miles of hiking statewide, the Florida Trail provides a gateway to grand landscapes for botanical beauty. Here are our top suggestions for fascinating botanical destinations along the Florida Trail.
Adding to the Life List
Although John is a native Floridian, our research trip to South Florida became an opportunity for him to see many natural “firsts” in Florida that most people have on their life lists.
Ten Thousand Islands
Where the waters of Big Cypress and the Everglades meet the Gulf Coast, the Ten Thousand Islands are a maze of mangrove forest: the second largest mangrove forest in the world, bested only by Bangladesh