Apalachicola National Forest

Just south of Tallahassee, Apalachicola National forest is the largest national forest in Florida. With a forest this big, there is so much to see, do and explore. The popular recreation activities include, camping, swimming, boating, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, and fishing. The forest has animals such as Florida black bears, snakes, alligators, whitetail deer, and according to National Geographic, the world’s biggest population of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Where to go in Apalachicola National Forest:

 

Camel Lake Recreation area

Surrounding a beautiful lake, this is a great place to camp, hike, picnic, and swim. If you enjoy hiking, make sure to check out The Trail of Lakes, a 9-mile loop hike starting and ending at Camel Lake.

Leon Sinks Geological Area

On the east side of the Apalachicola National forest is the Leon Sinks Geological Areal, a beautiful and fascinating region of sinkholes that are full of crystal clear water. There is an easy 4-and-a-half-mile hike around the area that passes through a variety of ecosystems and over twelve different sinkholes.

camping in florida national forests

Source: Lonely Planet

Ocala National Forest

Located in central Florida, east of Ocala, is the second largest national forest in Florida. The Ocala National forest is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River and was established in 1908. This forest has some over 600 lakes and rivers, where you can go fishing, snorkeling, boating, canoeing and swimming. There are great hiking trails in this national forest and amazing springs!

Where to go in Apalachicola National Forest:

Alexander Springs Recreation Area

This recreation area in the Ocala National Forest is a popular spot for hiking, swimming, snorkeling and canoeing. There is a great 1-mile loop trail that is a great representation of the Timucuan people who once lived on the land.

Juniper Springs Recreation Area

This is one of the most popular campgrounds in the National Forest and the recreation area has so much to offer. Canoeing is one of the most popular year-round activities here and you can see alligators, and otters while out on the water. The springs are beautiful shades of teal blue and are unbelievably clear. You can visit for the day or stay the night here.

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Osceola National Forest

The Osceola National Forest is located in the north east corner of Florida and is a true Florida experience. The forest is full of forests and swamps. Popular activities include camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, birding, and horse riding.

 

Ocean Pond

Ocean pong is a two-mile-wide lake which has a sandy beach perfect for boating, swimming and picnicking. You can camp at the pond and there are 67 sits at the campground, but get there early to get a lake front camping spot. There are hiking and backpacking trails at Ocean Pond, as well as many water activities to enjoy.

 

Big Gum Swamp Wilderness

This 13,600-acre wilderness area is in the middle of the national forest and includes great hiking trails. The area is swampy and full of beautiful Cyprus trees and palmettos, and has a classic old Florida vibe. You can hike along the famous Florida Trail that goes through this wilderness area.

 

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