Whether you’re a seasoned park veteran or just finding us for the first time, there’s no better way to kick off a new year than with a First Day Hike!
Organized in state parks across the country, thousands of people participate in First Day Hikes every Jan. 1. Varying from short strolls to longer treks, these hikes offer a variety of ways for people to get outdoors and start the new year on the right foot!
Some state parks offer ranger-guided hikes. Of course, you don’t need a guide to explore our state parks! Anyone can participate in their own First Day Hike, whether on your own or with family and friends. There are 175 state parks across Florida, each with their own stories to tell. Sometimes the best way to see a park is simply to print out a map or get one from the ranger station.
Hiking is fun and a healthy way to exercise. Here are few tips:
- Stay on the trail. Wandering off the trail can cause erosion and you could be injured or become lost.
- Be courteous and observe trail etiquette. Communicate with others as you pass.
- Bring supplies. You’ll need drinking water, insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes to help prevent injury.
- Never feed or touch wildlife. If you encounter wildlife on the trail, keep your distance and back away slowly.
Hiking not your thing?
There are many other ways to experience our state parks this new year. Biking is a great way to stay active and see the trails—both dirt and paved— that wind through our parks.
Some trails allow for horseback riding or bringing a leashed dog to explore with you. Getting out on the water is always popular, too.
State parks offer rivers, lakes and bays that are perfect for paddling. Be sure to grab your fishing rod, as we offer both freshwater and saltwater fishing for anglers of all types.