Florida Coastal Hikes
Whether you are visiting or live here year-round, Florida boasts numerous coastal hikes to please even the most discriminating adventurer with pearly white sand, liquid horizons, exotic wildlife, historic forts and prehistoric shark tooth hunting. Strap on your hiking shoes, grab some water and sunscreen. Time to take a hike!
Caspersen Beach Venice
This little-known 4 mile loop features over a mile of wild shoreline and a nature trail through the mangroves. Ancient sharks more than 52-feet long once roamed the waters off the coast of Venice. This beach is one of the best in Florida for unearthing prehistoric shark teeth ranging in size from one-eigth of an inch to three inches; on rare occasions, observant hikers have found them even longer! If you don’t want to sift through the sand or wade out, low-tide is the best time to hunt for fossils along the water’s edge.
Fort Clinch Loop Jacksonville
History buffs and dedicated hikers will appreciate this 6 mile loop on the most northern barrier island in Florida. The scenic Fort Clinch is complimented by massive, ancient sand dunes and scenic side trips. For hikers looking for a mellower experience, there are three shorter loops that can be completed in under an hour and offers hikers the opportunity to view some of the native wildlife including alligators, deer and a variety of birds. The trails start at the Fort Clinch parking lot so make sure that you schedule extra time to explore some of Florida’s rich history. The park is open from 8am until sunset daily and leashed pets are welcome. Admission to the park is between $4 to $6 per vehicle. Admission to the fort is $2 per person.
Snake Bight and Rowdy Bends, Everglades National Park
Flamingos, salt breezes and palm trees are your companions on these two great coastal hikes located in southwest Florida. If you are visiting the 1.6 mile one-way Snake Bight, check the tide schedule to arrive at high tide when the bird life is the most active and don’t worry about the name; bight is actually a smaller bay inside of a larger bay! The Rowdy Bends Trail is 2.6 miles one-way but the two can be combined into a 12.6 mile round-trip adventure which starts at the Flamingo Visitor Center. Neither trail is being maintained at this time due to potential damage to the Cape Sable Thoroughwort. The trails remain open but there may be branches or debris on the trail which may need to be navigated. Bikes and horses are allowed but dogs are prohibited.
Florida Trail Fort Pickens, Pensacola Beach
The 3.7 mile Seashore Trail is the northern end of the Florida Trail and passes through the Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS). This is the only segment of a National Scenic Trail that follows an ocean beach while stilling giving stunning views of the bayside. The trail boasts another unusual trait – there is no trail! The ocean breeze continually sweep away the trail so hikers have to blaze a path from one orange-blazed pole to the next. The trail passes through the site of the second Spanish settlement in Pensacola founded in 1722 until it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1752. The site is currently being excavated by a University of West Florida team about a quarter mile east of the Fort Pickens campground. Dogs are not permitted on the beach section from the front gate to Langdon beach. They are allowed on the Fort Pickens Trail portion but it is not recommended as the sand is very hot on their paws. The entrance fee is $15 per vehicle or $7 per person.
This is just a small portion of our favorite Florida coastal hikes. Stay tuned for more amazing destinations! Have a Florida destination you would like us to highlight? Just let us know!