Do you want an escape from the rush of modern life, but you barely have a weekend to spare? You’re in luck, because some of the most interesting and scenic hikes in our state are well under five miles. These hikes are perfect for day trips or road trips with lots of stops. Relax and recharge with one of these short and serene hikes.
1. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples
The 2.25-mile boardwalk will take you through marsh and wet prairie, pine flatwood and a large forest of Bald Cypress - the largest left in North America. You can spot alligators, white-tailed deer, and many types of native birds. Bring binoculars for a glimpse of the "Super Ghost orchid" that blooms in the summer.
2. Big Cypress Bend, Fakahatchee Preserve State Park
At only 2,300 feet, this boardwalk is very short and accessible, through a rare stand of ancient cypress trees. Look up for orchids and bromeliads, and possibly even some bald eagles.
3. Timucuan Trail, Alexander Springs, Ocala National Forest
This is an exciting hike which winds through several different habitats before depositing you at a beautiful natural swimming hole.
4. Caladesi Island Trail, Dunedin
The trails at this park take you on a three mile tour of one of Florida's most beautiful state parks. This unspoiled barrier island has everything from a wonderful natural beach to slash pine forest and mangrove swamp.
5. Garden of Eden Trail, Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Bristol
Shorter doesn't always mean easier. This 3.3-mile hike in the Panhandle is possibly the most challenging hike in the state, due to the rise and fall of the terrain. Your hard work will pay off, though, because it leads to gorgeous scenic bluffs that most people have no idea exist in Florida.
6. Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
This popular trail in Everglades National Park is an easy stroll of less than a mile. There are lovely views of the sawgrass prairies, and of course, plenty of alligators.
7. Falling Waters Sinkhole Trail, Chipley
This hike at Falling Waters State Park will take you past several deep sinkholes before leading you to the main attraction: Florida's tallest waterfall. The flow is seasonal, so call ahead to check on its status if you're hoping to see the waterfall.
8. Ravine Gardens State Park, Palatka
Around two miles of trails weave up and down and around the ravines the park is named for. Parts of the trail are a little rugged and steep, but the park also has a scenic drive. It's best to come in early spring when the azaleas are in full bloom.