The Florida National Scenic Trail is one of the most underrated treks in the country

Florida is renowned for many things — sandy beaches, amusement parks, traffic lights that change inexorably slowly, Cuban food, etc. Trekking through pristine national wilderness? Not so much.

But the Sunshine State is actually home to one of the country’s most underrated treks — the Florida National Scenic Trail.

The 1,300-mile trek from Big Cypress National Preserve in the tropical southern part of the state north to the Gulf Islands National Seashore south of Pensacola doesn’t get nearly as much attention from the backpacking community as the heavily trafficked Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail, but there are some serious advantages to making this your next backpacking destination — especially if you haven’t done a long-distance trek before.

While it’s totally understandable if you hadn’t heard about it until now, the Florida National Scenic Trail has actually been in place since the 1960s. Originally known simply as the “Florida Trail,” this trek is a 1,300-mile route traversing pretty much every type of terrain Florida has to offer. The entire trail sees some 350,000 visitors each year though only a small percentage actually makes the entire voyage from start to finish. The majority of those visitors are day-trippers from the state’s major cities.

Here’s why the Florida National Scenic Trail should be on your radar and everything you need to know to make an expedition there happen.


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