The Second Seminole War began amid the longleaf pines at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, where on December 25, 1835, Major Francis Dade left Fort Brooke – located in what would become Tampa -and led his troops north on the military road to Fort King, Ocala.
Established as a botanical preserve for native plants, Flat Island Preserve is on an island in the Okahumpa Marsh ringed with a loop trail more than 3 miles long
Lake Griffin is one of two massive lakes that flank the city of Leesburg, and it’s well known for its alligator population. That doesn’t deter canoeists, who depart from the docks at Lake Griffin State Park.
At Ocklawaha Prairie, east of Lake Weir and south of Marshall Swamp, trails lead to some of the best birding in the region from levees along the extensive marshes of the river basin.
At PEAR Park south of Leesburg, enjoy a deeply shaded walk on a nature trail that follows the trickle that is now the Palatlakaha River flowing towards Lake Harris.
The 0.6-mile nature trail at Sarah Maude Mason Nature Preserve in Howey-in-the-Hills spends most of its time on a boardwalk over a floodplain forest along Little Lake Harris.
At Sunnyhill Restoration Area, the Levee Trail provides a scenic stroll atop a levee paralleling both the Ocklawaha River channel and its vast marshes favored by wading birds.
We launched a new full-color edition of 50 Hikes in Central Florida at the National Trails Festival in Deland the first weekend of October. Take a peek inside.