It might seem like summer will never end, but believe it or not, fall will be here before you know it. Fall is my favorite time of year and a great time to take advantage of Florida’s endless outdoor opportunities. If you want to start exploring our state’s many trails but you’re a beginner or you just don’t know where to start, try out a few of these easy trails.
1. Wekiwa Springs State Park Trails, Apopka
These trails are picturesque and full of wildlife, and located only a short drive from all of Orlando's big attractions. So next time you're in town, schedule in a relaxing hike (and swim). This park is very popular on weekends, so plan to arrive early.
2. Grassy Waters Preserve, West Palm Beach
This preserve has 18 miles of trails, including a boardwalk through cypress swamp and marsh, complete with several places to stop and rest. Look for alligators, great blue herons and bald eagles in the wintertime.
3. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ponte Vedra Beach
The trails at this park are filled with wildlife and natural beauty. Most of the trails have plenty of shade and there are a lot of places to stop and rest, making this a good family hike. Come see the beautiful beaches, dunes, marshes, pine flatwood, hardwood hammock and tidal wetlands.
4. Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound
Take the trails at this stunning state park near Hobe Sound through pine flatwoods or take the Hobe Mountain Trail boardwalk to the observation tower.
5. Silver Springs River Trails, Ocala
This enchanting park in Ocala is full of lovely foliage and wildlife, including monkeys that still inhabit the area from its days as a tourist attraction.
6. Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights
This park offers a fun hike over the modest ups and downs of sandhills and explore a deep ravine.
7. Weedon Island Preserve, St. Petersburg
The boardwalk here offers an incredible escape and a glimpse of Florida's natural beauty. The boardwalk and the 45-foot observation tower give visitors impressive views of mangrove forests, saltwater ponds and pine flatwoods.
8. Shark Valley Trails, Everglades National Park
This 16-mile loop near Miami is suitable for beginners and experienced hikers of all ages. This paved trail is popular with cyclists, and you can rent a bike at the visitors center. This is a great place to spot wild birds and alligators.
9. Lettuce Lake Regional Park Boardwalk , Tampa
This easy 2-mile loop offers awesome birdwatching and scenic views from an observation tower on a swampy area of the Hillsborough River.