Because spring is in the air, which means super hot weather is right around the corner. Now is the time to spend in the woods in Florida. There are many great hiking trails around the around. No, there are no mountains, but we do have pretty rivers, winding trails and tree-lined oases to get your nature on.
I am an on again off again avid hiker. I love to go. I love the solitude of the woods, the wondering of whats around the next bend, or the chance meeting with some Florida wildlife. When my son was little we spend hours in the woods with him on my back, but as he grew older it became harder. That in-between stage when he just couldn’t hike 5 miles, but I had his sister to carry. The desire to go just didn’t outweigh the reality of hauling two kids in the car and dealing with the “are we there yet” or “how much longer questions” whining.
Now he can go 5+ miles, keep up with me and not scream about it too much and she can go some and still fit on my back in my Tula. It’s time for me to break out the walking sticks and hit the trails again. We hit a few trails close to the house to get our feet wet and then struck out for a drive, headed south. Little Manatee is a favorite of mine because it’s a loop trail with great access to the river and lots of shade. The river is shallow enough to play in, plus there are creeks and great climbing trees. Make sure to bring bug spray and water plus a little snack for the littles if they are travelling with you. Keep your eyes peeled for gators and turtles resting on the bank, plus lots of canoers and kayakers from the outpost on the river. Early morning or late evening hikes would probably elicit some other wildlife viewing if you didn’t have screaming kids giving their best firetruck siren impression. Needless to say, wildlife sightings are rare for me.
Overall the about 5 miles didn’t take long and the well-groomed trail allowed us to hike back barefoot. This was a pretty big plus since someone was in jeans and shoes when he jumped in the creek. I really should put him in a bathing suit no matter what the weather. We did see a few other hikers, but the foot traffic was fairly quiet. We also say 2 groups floating down the river.
Want to see more of our adventure?
Are you looking to hit the woods with your kiddos (or if you are lucky alone)? Here are some great resources to find places to go:
- Florida Hikes
- SouthWest Florida Water Mangement District
- Hillsborough County Nature Preserves
- All Trails
Now get out into nature and post your pictures of just how much fun you had in the great outdoors! Find any great spots to hike? Make sure you share them!
Remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints!