First Day Hikes in Florida State Parks

A trail in Torreya State Park.

People often view an approaching new year as a time for reflection – both on the year that’s passed and the road ahead.

For many, a new year is a chance to reconnect with nature and commit to spending more time outdoors in the months ahead.

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 January 1. Varying from short strolls to longer treks, these guided walks offer a variety of ways for people to get outdoors and start the new year on the right foot! Last year alone, 84,000 people hit the trails on New Year’s Day, walking over 176,000 miles collectively.  

This year, our parks will take extra precautions to make sure we can all stay safe while out on the trail. We’ll be following all safety guidelines while also limiting group size. Be sure to check out our events to see which parks will be offering guided hikes and how you can sign up today. 

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 grab one from the ranger station and get hiking.

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.  

We hope to see you in a Florida State Park this new year. There’s no better way to experience… the Real Florida ℠.

This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign-up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.