Highlands Hammock State Park
Cypress Boardwalk - Catwalk
Most people who visit
Florida really don't experience Florida at all. At least, not the
Florida seen by the Seminoles or De Soto. Swamps and Alligators
probably don't hold the same appeal as roller coasters and teacup rides
to most tourists, and that's a shame.
You probably found your way to this website
because you enjoy traveling off the tourist-clogged beaten path, to
places most people miss. That's exactly what you'll find at
Highlands Hammock State Park.
Before you get the idea that
this is a park full of hundreds of hammocks, stretched between palm
trees, hold on! While that sounds like a relaxing place to visit,
this is a different kind of hammock altogether. The kind of
hammock you'll find here is a raised area of land, surrounded by
swampland. Because of its island-like configuration, the land is
moist and lush, allowing all kinds of tropical plants to thrive.
When Highlands Hammock opened as a state
park back in 1931, planners hoped it would eventually be a candidate to
become a national park. While that didn't happen, there are still plenty
of reasons to visit. Bicyclists can circle the park's 3-mile paved
road. Equestrians can set out on an 11-mile trail.
Plenty of Flowers to Photograph
You could also hike along
any of the park's nine trails, but it's likely you'll find the raised
boardwalk most interesting. The narrow catwalk keeps you a foot or
two above the sometimes soggy ground, and helps keep you safe from the
creepy creatures that live in the park. The trail winds its way
through old growth cypress trees, and pools of water where it's likely
you'll spot an alligator or two.
Dark Swamp Water Provides Perfect Reflection
If you visit, here are a couple of things to remember. First, be
sure you're wearing bug repellant. Florida's mosquitoes are likely
more bloodthirsty than any alligator you'll see. Also, if you
visit in the summer months, be prepared for heat and humidity.
Carry a bottle of water on the longer trails.
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