Highlands Hammock State Park
Highlands Hammock State Park gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy a Florida hardwood forest as it would have looked 100 years ago. The park was opened in 1931 as part of a grass-roots environmental movement to preserve the tropical hardwood hammock. Highlands Hammock is one of the original four state parks when the Florida State Park system was established in 1935 and became a base for development by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s.
Hammock means “shady place” and Highlands Hammock lives up to this name. Elevated boardwalks meander through the old=growth cypress swamp so visitors have the opportunity to explore the park without having to get up close and personal with the American alligators that make their home here. Some of the trees are believed to be over a thousand years old and the park is home to what is claimed to be the largest oak discovered so far in Florida which boasts a girth of over 36 feet! In addition to the the boardwalk, there is a three mile loop exercise station in the shade of the massive spreading oaks which is a popular skating, cycling, running or walking trail. Hikers will find multiple trails which located along the loop and are connected via bridges or catwalks.
The boardwalk gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with the American Alligators that slide through the dark waters. Black bear, Florida Panthers and the occasional bobcat can be seen disappearing in the early morning mists and white-tailed deer graze in the early afternoon. Night hawks, bats and owls hunt at dusk with fireflies lighting up the swamp in Mid-March.
The full-facility campground features 117 RV or Tent sites, 22 Tent only sites, 4 Horse sites and primitive single and group sites. The RV sites offer water, electric, a dump station, picnic tables, fire rings and range in length from 20 to 50 feet. There is also a shower facility, laundry, playground, picnic pavilion and amphitheater which is a beautiful wedding or memorial setting.
Catch-and-release fishing is available at nearby Seven Lakes. Pets are allowed in the campground and all outdoor areas except the tram tour and the boardwalk as alligators may be present in the swamp.