The Sunshine State offers a wealth of natural beauty characterized by varied terrain that hikers can explore for an afternoon or a lifetime. To help you plan we've highlighted five of what we think are some of the state's best hiking trails based on recommendations from Trails.com and VISIT FLORIDA, and yes, you should definitely visit Florida.
The Florida National Scenic Trail
You can hike up to 1,300 miles on the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) to explore not just the state's diverse ecosystems, but also the rich history, biodiversity, and melting pot of cultures found over the length of the peninsula. The Florida Trail runs from Gulf Islands National Seashore in the panhandle to Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades, and as the nation's only subtropical NST it hosts hikers all year long.
Citrus Hiking Loop
The Citrus Hiking Loop is Central Florida's most rugged trail, and hiking the full 47 miles through the Withlacoochee State Forest can take up to four days (you can always opt to walk portions). Hikers experience a mix of contrasting terrains that include hardwood forests, open prairies, and sinkholes, and they come across many opportunities to see birds and wildlife.
Little Talbot Island
Hikers can choose from two nature trails to explore Little Talbot Island: the mile-long Campground Nature Trail and the 4-mile Dune Ridge Trail. The Campground Nature Trail traverses gentle sand dunes, a maritime forest, and the marshes of Myrtle Creek, while the Dune Ridge Trail loops through four different habitats before ending on a sandy beach.
Bulow Woods Trail
The 7-mile Bulow Woods Trail runs through an old-growth forest beneath a canopy of some of Florida's largest living oak trees to the the Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site. Don't forget to inspect Fairchild Oak up close, it's 400 years old and one of the largest live oaks in the South, and keep an eye out for raccoons, barred owls, and white-tailed deer.
Big Shoals Trail System
The shortest route to see the largest whitewater rapids in Florida (which can earn Class III classification at times) is the mile-long Big Shoals Trail, but there are more than 28 miles of wooded hiking trails throughout Big Shoals State Park. Hikers get to see towering limestone bluffs along the banks of the Suwannee River, a sight found nowhere else in Florida.