Smyrna Dunes Boardwalk

Smyrna Dunes Boardwalk is a 1.5 mile loop in New Smyrna Beach, FL that runs along the coast of the Ponce de Leon Inlet. The boardwalk has several places where you can step off onto the actual beach, or you can drive straight onto the beach and park there.

There is a $10 entrance fee, which seemed a little steep to me, but if you live nearby you could buy a $20 pass instead and visit as often as you want for the year. The nicest thing about this trail is its pet friendliness — there’s actually an entire section of beach just for dogs. Sadly, when we visited the animal access beach there were no pups to witness, but it was also a bit chilly and it looked like it might rain. If you do bring a pet, at the end (or beginning, depending on where you start) of the trail there’s a pet washing station to get all the sand and salt off.


Black Bear Wilderness Area Loop Trail

The trail at Black Bear Wilderness Area is an almost 7.5 mile loop near Sanford, FL. This is definitely one of the more challenging hikes we’ve done, since the trail is very narrow and sometimes isn’t there at all (due to animals digging holes in it or the ground just giving way). As trails in Florida go, this one required the most amount of “climbing” we’ve done so far — some of the tree roots obstruct the path that much. At times it really felt like being in a jungle too, it just felt really tropical in a way that the trails further north in Florida don’t.

Nature Loop at Little Talbot Island

This little nature loop is a .75 mile trail inside a campground directly across the street from the main entrance to Little Talbot Island State Park. You’ll need a code to get into the campground, but if you ask the ranger at the main entrance if you’re allowed to do the trail, they should be able to give it to you. Once you’re inside, you can park way back at the boat slip and walk to the trail head.

Dune Ridge Trail

Dune Ridge Trail is a 3.75 mile hike around the northern half of Little Talbot Island State Park. When you first enter, there’s a $5 admission fee per vehicle, but if it’s not terribly busy you can park in front of the ranger’s station right at the entrance. From there, it’s about a minute’s walk to the trail head.

Fort George Island Trail

Fort George Island Trail is a roughly 3.5 mile loop with a few stop-offs that include Point Isabel and Mount Cornelia (an actual almost-mountain, in Jacksonville!). It’s located near Kingsley Plantation, right across from the Ribault Clubhouse.

Devil’s Millhopper Sinkhole

Devil’s Millhopper is a natural landmark in Gainesville, FL that features a giant sinkhole with a number of tiny waterfalls that feed into the small lake at the bottom.

Levy Loop Trail

Levy Loop Trail is located in the Barr Hammock Preserve just south of Gainesville, FL. The entire loop is about 6.5 miles around, with lots of benches where you can stop and take in the scenery (and also maybe a snack).