Most Water Management Areas are in floodplain areas or bordering rivers or lakes, and are often jointly managed with other agencies. There are five Districts statewide that control the floodplains of Florida, an arrangement that dates back more than a century when the state actively sought assistance from developers to “drain the swamps” for agriculture, industry, and development. It took decades before the science made it clear that those decisions caused a great deal of harm to Florida’s natural drainage pathways, particularly for the Everglades.
Today, the Districts monitor water quality, oversee permitting, and manage a large number of public lands on which trails and camping areas have been developed for public recreation. Our website contains many trails and recreation areas on water management areas, but there are many more we haven’t gotten to yet. Fortunately, the Districts provide detailed maps and information on their websites. See the Recreation Guides below.
Recreation Guides for Florida’s Water Management Districts
FREE public guides for hiking, camping, boat ramps, biking, springs, and more.
- Northwest Florida Water Management District (Pensacola to Tallahassee)
- Suwannee River Water Management District (Big Bend and North Florida) [MAP OF SITES]
- St. Johns Water Management District (Jacksonville/North Florida to Vero Beach) [TRAIL GUIDES]
- Southwest Florida Water Management District (Inverness to Naples)
- South Florida Water Management District (St. Cloud to Florida Keys) [RECREATION GUIDE]
Featured Water Management Areas
These are some of our favorite outdoor recreation destinations in water management areas.