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Highlands Hammock State Park

 Activities at Highlands Hammock State Park

Bicycling

Bicycling

A paved loop drive through the hammock offers nature study and is ideal for cyclists as bicycles are not permitted on the nature trails. This drive is smooth and suitable for roller-blading, or skating. A six-mile "off roadway" bicycle trail is also available and is best suited for fat-tired bikes. See the results of our prescribed burn and the restoration it has created.
Bike rentals are available at the ranger station.

Participation Requirements

Campfire Circles

Campfire Circles

A gathering place for Saturday evening campfire programs presented by park staff, contact Ranger Station for next scheduled program topic and meeting time.

Participation Requirements

Camping, Equestrian

Camping, Equestrian

Equestrian camping area currently under construction- to be opened at later date. Equestrian trails are available for those owning their own horses. Call (863) 386-6094 for more information on the equestrian trails.

Camping, Full Facility

Camping, Full Facility

This family campground offers water and electric hookups, a dump station, access to restrooms with shower facilities, and laundry and dish washing areas. Nearly all sites offer some shade; however, open spots can be found for those who love the sun or want to ensure clear satellite reception.  A recreation hall with full kitchen, large seating area, restrooms and grill is nearby and available for renting for reunions, rallies or large events.

The campground is just a short walk from the state Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, and picnic area. Playgrounds and bike trails, along with nine different nature trails are also available. White-tail deer frequent the campground in the early morning hours and alligators are routinely seen from the popular Cypress Swamp Trail, just a short drive or bike ride away. Ranger-guided programs and camper social activities during the winter season provide additional activities for visitors to enjoy. Well behaved pets are welcome in the campground.

Maximum RV length = 50 ft.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Camping, Group

Camping, Group

A primitive group camp is available for organized groups of six or more. Youths must be chaperoned by at least one adult, 21 years of age or older, for each 10 youths. The primitive site includes a grill, tables and a pit type toilet nearby. Full service restrooms are available in the family campground. Call the park at (863) 386-6094 to make reservations.

Camping, Primitive

Camping, Primitive

Drive-to wilderness sites, located in an open pine flatwood area, have ground fire rings, picnic tables and a pit toilet, but no electricity or running water. Showers are available at the family campground. Youths must be chaperoned by at least one adult, 21 years of age or older, for each 10 youths.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Camping, Youth

Camping, Youth

A short drive from the park entrance, two youth camping areas are located in a shaded oak hammock. Each area can accommodate up to 25 campers. Restrooms with hot and cold water, electricity, a shower, camp fire ring and picnic tables are provided. Call the park at (863) 386-6094 to make reservations.

Geo-Seeking

Geo-Seeking

The Florida State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Geotrail is now at www.Geocaching.com. Nine parks were built by the CCC and Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Search for all nine caches and end at the CCC Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park and receive a commemorative geocoin. GC codes: GC38Y93 Fort Clinch State Park
GC3BG4G Florida Caverns State Park
GC3D02X Highlands Hammock State Park
GC3BG4A Hillsborough River State Park
GC3ABB5 Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
GC3BG4N Myakka River State Park
GC3ABBC O’Leno State Park
GC38Y8V Ravine Gardens State Park
GC3BG4E Torreya State Park
GC38Y9F Florida State Parks FINAL CCC Cache – located in Highlands Hammock State Park.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

Highlands Hammock Webster defines hammock as " a fertile area in the southern U.S. and especially Florida, that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil." True enough. But visitors to Highlands Hammock State Park know exactly what it means -- " Beautiful!." Stroll along the elevated boardwalk over Charlie Bowlegs Creek and search the tea-colored water for alligators. Walk along the boardwalk of the Memorial Trail and view the colorful, scattered leaves. See fall in Florida, and maybe observe a flock of White Ibis feeding. Walk deep into the woods under the expansive tree canopy of the Ancient Hammock Trail. Wonder over the giant oaks and their airplant-laden branches. Lake June in Winter Scrub State Park is located 20 minutes from HHSP, and offers hiking opportunities through rare scrub habitat. Current amenities include a picnic pavilion, composting toilet, and short ¼ mile nature walk through scrubby flatwoods and bay communities along a spring-fed creek. This nature trail is a delightful oasis, providing a quiet and shady spot in this predominantly scrub and scrubby flatwoods ecosystem. Another brief walk will offer beautiful views of Lake June in Winter, a 3500-acre lake that lies west of the property. Hikers may enjoy several miles of firelanes that transverse this hot, sunny habitat. From these firelanes, you may see Gopher Tortoises, Florida Scrub Jays, Bald Eagles, Wild Turkeys, Bobcats, Florida Scrub-Lizards and more! Rare, endemic plants of the Florida Scrub can be discovered by those interested in botany. Full sun and deep sands should be expected. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water, suitable shoes, sunblock and perhaps a cell phone. This park is remote and quiet, affording a very relaxing and peaceful wilderness experience.

Horse/Equestrian Trail

Horse/Equestrian Trail

Come ride your horse along 11 miles of firelane trails through remote natural areas. Surprise White-tailed deer, bobcats, and other wildlife as you quietly plod along in the silence. This day-use trail is available for anyone desiring to ride his or her own horses, please be sure to bring a negative Coggins report.  Restrooms are located a short drive away, self contained units and generators are welcome in this area. There is room for trailer parking at this area, tie outs and water trough are provided.

Interpretive Exhibit

Interpretive Exhibit

Various exhibits are found throughout the park, interpreting the history and natural and cultural resources found here.

Pets

Pets

Pets are welcome in all outdoor areas, including the campgrounds of the park. For their safety, please refrain from walking dogs on boardwalks without double railings. (Alligators may be present in all wetland areas of the park.) Visitors should remember to clean up after their pets and keep pets on a 6 foot hand-held leash at all times. Service animals are welcome in all visitor use areas in the park. Please contact the Ranger Station for specific pet restrictions or inquiries.

Picnicking

Picnicking

Pack a basket or cooler and enjoy a leisurely picnic in our shady, pleasant picnic area. Let the kids climb on the playground, or swing on the swings while you fellowship with friends in one of several reservable picnic pavilions. Rental deposits are required, call (863) 386-6094 for details or to make reservations.  BBQ grills are also available.

The State of Florida's Civilian Conservation Corps Museum is also located in the picnic area.

Playground

Playground

Highlands Hammock State Park has three playgrounds located within just a few moment's drive or less than 10 minute walk from each other.

The largest play area is located in the picnic area. This playground consists of a lower platform area with a smaller double slide and monkey bars which connect to an elevated walk-over ladder leading to the upper platform with a small rock wall, firehouse pole, climbing ladder and twisty slide. Two swings are available as well. (best for ages 5-12)

The medium sized playground in the family campground consists of a low double slide and curved slide connected to a crawl tunnel leading to the upper platform which has a wavy slide and a straight slide. Two swings are also located in this area. (best for ages 3-6)

The smaller playground at the park's Recreation Hall area is the perfect play area during birthday parties, reunions, company picnics and more. When this building is not reserved or in use, this play area is also accessible for the public. Please inquire at the Ranger Station for further details.

Restroom Facilities

Restroom Facilities

Restroom facilities are located throughout the park and many are ADA accessible.
Highlands Hammock State Park contains many historical structures and continues to upgrade visitor facilities for accessibility. For your convenience, please inquire at the Ranger Station upon arrival for specific locations of ADA-accessible facilities."

Tours

Tours

Tram tours are one hour in length and travel into remote areas of the park where visitors will see alligators, turtles, wading birds and more.

Park Tram Tours during the slow summer "off-season" are scheduled at 1:30 P.M. on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. Regularly scheduled Tram Tours running at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday through Fridays and at 1:00 P.M. and 2:30 P.M. on Saturday and Sundays will resume the first weekend in October. Inquire about availability of private tours for organized groups by calling (863) 386-6094 several weeks in advance of requested date. Availability varies according to staffing and seasonal demand.


 

Participation Requirements

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

A brief (10 minute) video of actual early park construction by the CCC is shown throughout the day in the state's Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. Visit the museum to enjoy interactive exhibits highlighting the 1930-40 era, when the park was constructed. View exhibits reflecting the CCC's influence throughout the United States and in our Florida State Parks.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Enjoy viewing White-tailed deer up close during the early evening hours in the historic grove areas. See alligators swimming and basking along the swamps from the boardwalks over the dark waters. Hear the scream of Red Shouldered Hawks hunting prey through the hardwood hammock. Listen for the deep resonating sounds of Barred Owls calling in the hours near dusk. Be still in the peace of the Cypress Catwalk as dawn turns to daylight and the forest awakens. Glance at the flitting varieties of song birds as they rest during their migration through central Florida. See the flash of black and white as the immense Pileated Woodpeckers chase each other among the giant oaks. Marvel over the giant spanning webs of "Golden Silk Spiders" glistening like gold threads in the morning light. Bike along the fat-tire bike trail to look for lumbering Gopher Tortoises feeding in the heat of the mid-afternoon. Enjoy a Ranger narrated tram ride and exclaim over the abundance of turtles, alligators and wading birds that you see. Enjoy the deafening songs of frogs mating after the early summer rainstorms in the hammock. It is amazing!

The park's varied habitats provide excellent birding opportunities for all enthusiasts and are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. A bird checklist is available at the ranger station. Birding Article