Highland Hammock State Park – A Can’t Miss Park In Florida

Highland Hammock State Park was a last minute decision for us and we are so glad that we stopped there it is now one of our favorite Florida State Parks! Thanks Bareneckers for the recommendation.

Highland Hammock State Park Trail - boardwalk over the swamp.

Also, be sure to check out our Florida Road Trip as this is a stop on the route!

Highland Hammock State Park

The park is located in the middle of the state and is one of the oldest State Parks in Florida. The campground itself (Florida scrub-jays can be spotted among the scrub oaks in the primitive wilderness campground!).

It was a nice State Park campground (that you can book up to 11 months in advance) but the park and nature trails are what really got us.

Florida Map of where Highland Hammock State Park is

A 3-mile paved loop drive through the hammock is perfect for riding your bikes on and you can stop at each of the trailhead entrances to get out and walk the trails. If you don’t have bikes and helmets you can rent them at the Hammock Inn concessions.

Highland Hammock Bike Riding

We highly recommend you stop and walk as many trails as you can and bring a lunch to stop at the picnic area to enjoy. If time is limited here are the ones we don’t think you should miss:

Cypress Swamp Trail – Highland Hammock Trail

Highland Hammock Cypress Swamp Trail

This trail totally caught us by surprise but was AMAZING! It has a nice wooden elevated boardwalk trail that takes you through the Cypress Swamp (over the Charlie Bowlegs Creek). A swamp is an interesting thing to walk over because you just have no idea what you are walking over and the whole view is beautiful and yucky at the same time.

Highland Hammock Trails

The surprise came when we got to the part of the trail that was a few small wooden boards with only a railing on one side. It was scary and awesome all wrapped in one!

Walking through the swamp in Highland Hammock State park

A couple of the kids were a little unsure about it – but we went. 2 of the kids wanted to run it so I had to keep up with them and slow them down so they didn’t fall in and the other 2 wanted to crawl along it since they were so scared.

Between Craig and I we made it work and it was a really cool experience. The Highland Hammock Cypress Swamp hike was a favorite of ours! I think the pictures say it best!


The Alexander Blair Big Oak Trail

Highland Hammock Tree

These trees were huge and unexpected in an area that is normally filled with palm trees. But so cool to climb on and around and to look up and see how high up in the air they went. The trail had its own unique twists and turns!

HIghland Hammock Big Oak

There are a few other trails and we recommend doing those too (Ancient Hammock Trail, Fern Garden Trail and more!). It is so cool to see the landscape for the area and how it changes with each different hike. They also have multiple signs throughout that explain some of the history of the area.

There is also a good chance you will see an Alligator along one of the trails if the sun is shining so keep a close lookout!

Highland Hammock Alligator

Alligator Tram Tour

The State Park also offers a tram tour where you should see alligators, turtles and birds as you go through the hydric hammock. We did not do the tram – we weren’t sure if the kids would last on it and you had to get up before 8am to go stand in line to get tickets (that is early for us :)).

We aren’t to sure how all that works – there was definitely a line to get tickets in the morning but we aren’t sure if they add additional tram rides if there are more people or if they do sell out. So if you want to do the tram we recommend asking when you get there so you have all the details or you can check their site here.

They also have a junior ranger program and offer kids activities.

Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

Plus there is a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum which documents how the park, and many others across the US, were built by the CCC organization which was very important for getting the country back on its feet after the depression.

They have people there to do guided tours so you can learn about the CCC and the history of the park. There is also a documentary film. It is a great place to learn about the Great Depression and the CCC.

Entrance to the museum is free with your park entrance fee.

If you are going to be traveling through the middle of Florida either on a road trip or looking for camping we highly recommend adding Highland Hammock State Park to your list. The park is magical and all the history is really interesting too!

To learn more about the park visit their website.


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