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While I’m growing to love longer hikes (longer than I’m used to but still only 6-7 miles) I do still love a good short hike and there are so many short Florida hikes that are worth doing.
These are all easy Florida hikes that don’t require going through water (unless the trail floods, but don’t normally require it), are boardwalks, are short, or are flat.
But also, almost every hike in Florida is flat so we’ll go with short, boardwalks, and not in water. I’ve done all of these and will continue to update the post as I do more easy Florida hikes.
What to bring hiking in Florida
Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen. I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.
Long sleeve shirt – A long sleeve shirt will help protect you from mosquitos. This is a must for a summer visit, but not 100% necessary for January and February, but it would be helpful.
Good hiking shoes – If you’re sticking to boardwalks and other dry trails, Chacos will be good. If you want to go in the water or flooded areas, you’ll want closed toe shoes so you don’t get cut by sawgrass. Chaco Odysseys with socks are my favorite for hiking in Florida.
Location: Ten Thousand Islands, Southwest Florida
Trail length: 2.2 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? Nope!
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is a great easy hike in Florida if you want to see wildlife. Of course, it’s never guaranteed because it’s wildlife, but there is a very high chance of seeing some here.
This hike is pretty much all flat and once you pass the observation deck, it’s not the most thrilling hike, but it is nice if you want to avoid crowds, not that there are tons of crowds in this area. You can always turn around at the deck if you want.
It’s an awesome short hike near Everglades City and one I’ll probably at least do part of any time I visit the area. It’s especially great for birding.
Myakka Canopy Walk
Location: Myakka River State Park
Trail length: Just 0.8 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? $6 per vehicle to enter Myakka River State Park
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is a nice short loop through the Florida Forest. You’ll be taking the William S. Boylston Nature Trail to the Canopy Walk.
The hike is easy but you will need to climb stairs to do the canopy walk 76-feet above the forest floor where you’ll have sprawling treetop views.
They may close the canopy walk if there is inclement weather or the forest area floods. If it’s open though, this is a great easy Florida Hike to get views you won’t get many other places in Florida. Shark Valley is another great place for treetop views.
Location: Fakahatchee Strand State Park and Preserve, along the Tamiami Trail by Everglades City
Trail length: 1.2 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? Nope!
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: Wildlife! I think we’ve seen at least one exciting animal every time we’ve done this. Sometimes it’s gators, sometimes it’s snakes, and sometimes it’s birds.
I just love it. This is half boardwalk half gravel path but all perfect Florida swamp. This is our go-to hike in Everglades City if we’re trying to pass a little time.
Everglades City tours
- Everglades boat eco tour
- Marco Island: Dolphin, birding, and shelling tour
- Mangrove kayaking eco tour
- Birding, wildlife, and photography tour
- 2.5 hour private photo safari
- Alligators and plants eco kayak tour
Location: About 40 minutes from Naples and Fort Myers at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Trail length: 2.25 miles
Is there a fee? Yes and it’s more than most places. It’s $14 per adult but it’s good for two back-to-back days.
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is actually the longest boardwalk hike in Florida! I think that’s reason enough but you can also see a ghost orchid here! If you’re lucky. If you’re not, you can at least see it’s roots.
While this sounds like a longer hike, it’s still an awesome easy Florida hike since it’s all boardwalk. Those are usually pretty flat. We didn’t see tons of wildlife here but the swamp is beautiful.
Towards the end though, we did see those ADORABLE baby gators and I love them so much, they’re so cute! Just look at them! That said, this is a great hike and you should totally do it.
Read more about the ghost orchid in The Orchid Thief!
Alfred B Maclay Garden Walk
Location: Alfred B. Maclay Garden State Park is on the north edge of Tallahassee, about 15 minutes from FSU.
Trail length: I’m not actually sure, but 1-3 hours depending on how fast you walk and how much you stop
Is there a fee? Yes and it’s a little weird. It’s $6 per vehicle but from January to April when the gardens are blooming it’s an additional $6 (I’m not sure if it’s per person or group) to go into the gardens but it’s worth it.
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is a great easy hike in Florida, it’s really more of a stroll. It’s almost like a stroll through the gardens of Alice in Wonderland.
The walk takes you through blooming camelias, dogwoods, magnolias, azaleas, and more, past a pretty good sized lake, through a secret garden, and to a small spring/pond.
This is a great walk to do while the flowers are blooming, it’s a wonderful short walk, and a great way to relax near Tallahassee.
Location: Biscayne National Park just outside of the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, about 50 minutes from Miami
Trail length: 0.8 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? Nope! There is no entrance fee for Biscayne National Park
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: AllTrails calls this the Jetty Trail but this is a wonderful short Florida hike that is part boardwalk until you get to a little jetty with mangroves along the way.
It’s also really one of the few things to do in Biscayne National Park without taking a boat. If you like fishing, you can even do that here! At least from the non-boardwalk parts for sure.
If Biscayne is on your national park bucket list, this is a great thing to do while you’re there. Definitely try to take a boat out to one of the islands, too, though. Also, put it on your park bucket list if it’s not there.
Location: Everglades National Park
Trail length: 0.8 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? Yes, there is a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Everglades National Park
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is an amazing short and easy hike in Florida that is particularly good for seeing wildlife.
We saw tons of different birds and quite a few alligators here. I think we did this trail twice and saw plenty of wildlife both times. If you see any gators on the trail, be sure to give them plenty of room as you pass by them and if you can’t pass by, then turn around.
This trail is all plat and it’s part paved, part boardwalk taking you over water and just through the glory that is the Everglades. I love this trail and everyone that visits this park should do it.
National Park Pass + Other National Park Deals
- If you’re planning on visiting multiple parks (3 or more) on this trip or within the year, I would highly recommend getting a national park pass. It’s $80 but will pay for itself in about three trips to parks. It’s so worth it and I buy one every year! They’re also great for gifts for the park lovers in your life.
- To help plan the best national park trip ever, this Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is perfect! You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip! Homage is donating 5% of sales from the national park collection to the National Parks Conservation Association this year. Buy national park shirts here.
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
- Planning a big national park trip? Check out these other posts: National Park bucket list, Make the most of a National Park trip, National Park camping packing list, My favorite National Park hikes, More National Park hikes I love, Underrated National Parks.
La Chua Trail
Location: Paynes Prairie State Park in Gainesville
Trail length: 2.9 miles round-trip but it is currently closed at the end of the boardwalk because of flooding and has been for a few years, so it’s shorter for now
Is there a fee? It’s $6 per vehicle to enter the state park
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is one of the best trails in Gainesville and it’s great for seeing wildlife. I love this trail.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to hike the whole trail and I think it flooded the next year (or 2018?) I’ve gone back a couple of times to do just the boardwalk part since then.
This a fantastic place to see wildlife including alligators, birds, snakes, horses, and even bison. There’s a Geocache on the boardwalk, too! While this is normally an easy slightly longer trail, now it’s just a great short hike. This is another one I love.
Location: The southern edge of Gainesville just ten minutes from La Chua Trail.
Trail length: Up to 3.4 miles, depending on how many loops you do. There are three.
Is there a fee? $5 per vehicle to be paid in the parking lot entrance fee box
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: This is another great hike to see wildlife. It can be anywhere from one-three miles and is flat so it’s nice and easy.
There isn’t much shade on this trail (almost none) so it can get pretty hot. But, it’s totally worth it, just bring lots of water. I’ve done this hike twice and saw tons of wildlife both times.
We saw snakes, alligators, lizards, turtles, and tons of birds. The three loops take you through, obviously, a wetland area and there is a one-mile boardwalk section as well. This is another trail I like a lot.
Location: The end of the Janes Memorial Scenic Drive in Fakahatchee Strand State Park and Preserve near Big Cypress
Trail length: 4 miles round-trip
Is there a fee? To enter this part of the park there is a $3 fee per vehicle
Why this is one of the best short hikes in Florida: Ok, so this isn’t all that short but it is easy and it’s totally worth it. This is definitely one of my favorite hikes overall in Florida
While it’s longer compared to everything else on here, it’s still an easy hike because it’s so flat. It’s just along an old road (it does still get used occasionally) so it’s fairly wide, too. I think in the summer it can sometimes get a little wet or muddy but in the winter this is wonderful!
There isn’t tons of wildlife along the way (occasional birds) but at the end there is a little swamp shack, the Fakahatchee Hilton, with a pond full of gators out back.
I’ve done this hike three times now and still love it. You could bike this trail if you wanted to switch things up. The main cover photo for this post is the Fakahatchee Hilton trail. I think this is my favorite easy hike in Florida so far.
Florida posts you may also enjoy:
Have you done any of these short Florida hikes? Which ones? What is your favorite easy Florida hike?