GTM Estuarine Research Reserve

The Guana Tolomato Matanzas Estuarine Research Reserve is a park near Ponte Vedra with about 10 miles worth of hiking trails. We decided to take the red and purple trails down to the southernmost point of the island, which added up to just under 6 miles of walking.

IDIDAHIKE 2017

This one’s a little different! We went out this weekend with the Florida Trail Association for IDIDAHIKE 2017, part of the Florida Trail that goes from the Bell Springs Tract through White Springs Tract along the Suwannee River! The entire loop from the entrance at Bell Springs to the parking lot at the Stephen Foster Tourist Center was about 8.5 miles, but with a little bit of sidetracking down to the river here and there we ended up walking closer to 9 miles.

Black Creek Ravine Hike

Black Creek Ravine Conservation Area is a trail system with about 10 miles worth of hiking all together, but sadly we only had time for 5 miles of it. We definitely got a late start on this one, but at the same time it was nice to hike while the sun set and the temperature dropped a little. February in Florida is supposed to be the coldest time of the year, but apparently not this year.

Bayard Conservation Area

Bayard Conservation Area is a nature preserve in Green Cove Springs with about 10 miles worth of trails — all 10 of which we walked yesterday. I’m pretty impressed that we were able to do 10 miles in one sitting (er, walking?), but man. That definitely wore me down, especially given that the entire area consists mostly of pine trees, and pine trees are REALLY not good for shade. There was not a single cloud in the sky all day, and towards the end the only thing that kept me upright was the cool breeze coming off the St. Johns River.

O’Leno State Park

There are multiple trails to take in O’Leno State Park, and they all connect, so I can’t tell you exactly how long your trip will be if you decide to go hiking out here. I usually reference AllTrails before I go anywhere to hike, so I was expecting a 6.5 mile trip, but once you get out here it gets sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-y so the final total ended up being 8 miles for us.

National Parks Off-Season Travel Guide

[Via US National Parks in the Off Season — The Wholesome Hiker]

Hello everyone! Today I thought I’d share a helpful piece of information regarding the National Parks. This little graph is so cool! It shows you the least crowded times to visit each Park. Here’s the link https://www.alamo.com/en_US/car-rental/scenic-route/travel-guides/best-national-parks-to-visit-in-winter-off-season.html?mcid=paidsocial:242 The only question now is “Which one should you visit?” I don’t know but I bet they’re all […]

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.