While the song Welcome to the Jungle was written about Los Angelas and its bustling cityscape, we think the song's title might be more fitting for Highlands Hammock State Park, where you can take yourself on a Jungle Adventure along their boardwalks through 9,000 acres of nature.
As the park with more rare and endemic species than any other Florida State Park, Highlands Hammock boasts one of the most unique and diverse collections of plant and animal life, where panthers, gator, deer, and black bears are known to quietly trek beneath the canopies of towering oaks. It's not uncommon to spot a curious owl perching atop the branches.
The awe-inspiring hydric hammocks, moss-covered oaks and other flora create some of the densest and most lush green landscapes, showcasing real Florida at its best. Where have the Highland Hammocks been all our lives? Tucked away about 2 hours southeast of Tampa in Sebring apparently.
Lace-up your boots and put on your best jungling hat as you unlock your inner Eliza Thornberry. Explore the forest by foot on 9 diverse hiking trails and wander across wetlands on elevated boardwalks taking you over swamps and streams; who knew that the Florida Swamps could be so beautiful?
While the beauty will bring you a sense of peace, you will be exploring swampy areas in the heat - it is Florida after all; you'll definitely want to pack some bug spray, dress light, and bring some water. All a must if you decide to camp here as well.
While this may be one of the more lesser-known State Parks in the Sunshine State, you'll find that it doesn't mean that it's not beautiful as you explore the delicately diverse ecosystem at Highland Hammocks State Park.
Highlands Hammock State Park
Price: $4 for a single occupant vehicle, $6 for a vehicle seating 2-8.
Address: 5931 Hammock Rd. Sebring FL 33872
Hours: 8 a.m. - Sunset, 365 days a year; unless you've reserved to camp here of course.
Why You Need To Go: Stunning trails and boardwalks wind you through the lush tropical Florida landscape, giving you all those South American Rainforest vibes. Admire the beauty of the lesser trecked areas of the Sunshine State on a day trip around the park, or camp here for a stunning night under the stars.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.