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Florida Forests

The National Forests in Florida are comprised of four separate Forests, each of which provides visitors with unique experiences

Florida enjoys a collection of National Forests:Apalachicola, Choctawhatchee, Ocala, Osceola.

Apalachicola National Forest
On the Apalachicola National Forest you will discover flat to gently rolling terrain and moist lowlands where cypress, longleaf pine/wiregrass, and savannas provide refuge for an unusual combination of amphibians and wildflowers.

The Apalachicola is one of the last remaining large areas of swamps, savannahs, and pine forest. Apalachicola's rivers and streams provide a steady freshwater flow to some of the most productive coastal bays or estuaries known for shellfish and other commercial seafood. Portions of the forest in wet lowlands abound with cypress, oak and magnolias. Stands of slash and longleaf pines cover the sandhills and flatwoods. You can visit Fort Gadsden Historic Site or Leon Sinks Geological Area. The climate is ideal for year-roundrecreation.

The Apalachicola National Forest offers water-based recreation such as boating andfishing along the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola Rivers, and swimming in the numerous lakes. Trails and roads accommodate hiking, mountain bike riding, horseback riding, off-roading, and motorcycle riding.

Camping can be enjoyed during all seasons on the Apalachicola National Forest. The Apalachicola has six day-use areas, four of which are fee areas.

Ocala National Forest

The Ocala National Forest is a unique and fascinating Forest that offers an accommodating climate for year-round recreating. The mild winters are fine for family camping while a summer canoe trip down a palm-lined stream is a cool way to spend an August day.

The Forest has huge springs, twisting streams and lakes for fishing, boating, and water skiing. Many of the scenic lakes formed when limestone bedrock dissolved, permitting the surface layer to slump and fill with water. The cool crystal-clear water of Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs, Salt Springs and Silver Glen Springs entice many visitors to take a cool dip. Snorkelers frequently find a thrilling underwater view of fish, swaying vegetation and cavernous springs.

The Forest offers wonderful opportunities for mountain biking, off-roading, horseback riding, and hiking. The Ocala portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail traverses the Forest north to south, winding through multiple ecosystems. Hikers can experience rolling hills in the open longleaf pine forest, vast prairies, wooden boardwalks through swamps, thick scrub oak – sand pine, and oak hammocks. The Trail meanders approximately 67 miles through the Ocala National Forest, making it an excellent choice for backpacking.

Ocklawaha River in the Ocala National Forest.

Osceola National Forest
Nearly two hundred thousand acres of the original Florida are waiting to be explored in theOsceola National Forest. These forested woodlands and swamps provide many opportunities for a wide range of visitor experiences such as camping, hiking, swimming,fishing and hunting, off-roading, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and many more.

Florida Forests

First-timer’s Adventure

Do you know what a "Sink Hole" is?

Sink holes are caves or holes in the ground where water has dissolved limestone that exists in pockets below the ground. There are many sinkholes in Florida you can visit, including the Leon Sinks Geologic Area in the Apalachicola National Forest.

From Crawfordville: Head North on Crawfordville Highway (US 319). Leon Sinks will be on your left just as you enter Leon County.

Statistics

State(s):

Florida

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Tallahassee, Orlando

Notes & Conditions:

Alligators are present in the Florida Forests. They are an important part of Florida’s ecology and may be found wherever there is a body of water. They have a natural fear of man, but may lose that fear by being around people especially if they are fed. When this happens alligators can be dangerous. For this reason alligators should not be fed or molested in any way.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.