Highlands Hammock State Park Travel Guide

  • Bob on the kids on the boardwalk
    Bob on the kids on the boardwalk
    by grandmaR
  • River from the car
    River from the car
    by grandmaR
  • Highlands Hammock trail
    Highlands Hammock trail
    by grandmaR

Highlands Hammock State Park Things to Do

  • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum

    Highlands Hammock is one of eight Florida State Parks originally built by CCC members. At this park they developed additional park facilities and the beginnings of a botanical garden. Other Florida parks (such as Fort Clinch) and other parks in the US were also built by the CCC. There is even some of their work at El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto...

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  • Sebring Trail over Charlie Bowlegs Creek

    In 1968, we visited Sebring, and went to the State Park there. We walked along an elevated boardwalk over the water - I think this must have been Charlie Bowlegs Creek where even today, an elevated boardwalk traverses an old-growth cypress swamp. These are digitized slide that I took at the time. The water was tea-colored with lots of alligators....

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  • Swamp Flora

    The swamps along the Catwalk are lovely, with patches of lilypads throughout, beautiful butterlies fluttering wildly past your face (no, I couldn't chase them to get any pics, it was too swampy!), and all manner of birdsongs, luring you in further like swamp sirens.

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  • The Cypress Swamp Catwalk

    The famous Cypress Swamp Catwalk is the most popular trail of all, wending its way through the floodplain of the Charley Bowlegs Creek. Be forewarned that the Catwalk is aptly named - if you have any balance issues or impairments, this is probably not your best choice for a stroll. The original Catwalk built in the Depression is still intact, with...

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  • Best Time To Go

    I think early in the day would be best for wildlife sightings, or perhaps at sunset. I was there in mid-afternoon, and that's not the prime time. I didn't see much of the teeming wildlife on my brief visit, but did enjoy learning about the park nonetheless, and loved taking pictures of the hammock's flora.

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  • ...and Cypress Knees

    Many are cone-like in shape, while others are more gnarly. They are often harvested by woodworkers who treasure their wonderful shapes. As long as the harvesting is done selectively, it apparently causes no harm to the trees, since they will just grow replacements.

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Highlands Hammock State Park Restaurants

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    Restaurant

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    I have not eaten here, but the park (according to the sign in this pictures and the park website) has a full service restaurant.

    Favorite Dish: The park website says:

    The Hammock Inn will be open and serving hot meal items, desserts, coffee, hot chocolate and more.

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Highlands Hammock State Park Nightlife

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    by grandmaR Written Apr 26, 2007

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    I have not attended any of these concerts, but the park web page says:

    On Saturday, May 19th, our final "Music in the Park" concert of the 2006/2007 season will be held. The wildly popular California Toe Jam band will get you dancing with their great 50s, 60s, & 70s tunes. This concert is suitable for the whole family and don't forget that kids age 16 & under are always admitted free to our Music in the Park concerts. Adult admission is just $5 per person and all proceeds help to fund park improvement projects via the Friends of Highlands Hammock.

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    • Music

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Highlands Hammock State Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Poison Ivy Habitat

    Beware of poison ivy if you are near a patch of cypress knees, since they provide a nice growth site for these and other water-intolerant plants. On the nicer side, they are also the favored nesting grounds of the Prothonotary Warblers.

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  • Here there be monsters too!

    Falling into the water would not be a pleasant experience; most of Florida's freshwater is infested with alligators & water snakes, and this is no exception. This pic is of the resident Big Mama gator, who had a young brood nearby - but alas my photos of the babies didn't come out very well.

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Highlands Hammock State Park Sports & Outdoors

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    Driving the 3 mile loop trail 4 more images

    by grandmaR Written Apr 26, 2007

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    There is a 3-mile loop drive for cycling and hiking along nine trails. If you want to run the loop and also do strength training, there are stops along the trail for various kinds of caltesthenics.

    For equestrians, there is an 11-mile, day-use trail.

    Equipment: I am not sure whether they have bikes for rent or not.

    For equestiran, you have to bring your horse, and tack.

    Equestrian Fees:

    Individual daily equestrian fee is $6.00 (includes tax)-Negative Coggins report required.
    Family daily equestrian fee is $14.00 (includes tax)-Negative Coggins report required. Family fee covers entrance for the vehicle, trailer in tow, and up to a four person maximum.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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Highlands Hammock State Park Favorites

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    Bob starting the Fern Garden trail 4 more images

    by grandmaR Written Apr 26, 2007

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    Favorite thing: We drove around the three mile loop trail (one way for cars), and stopped off to walk down a few of the nature trails that the park maintains to show the various eco-systems that exist in the park.

    Unfortunately we did not get to see the kind of environment that we saw from the elevated boardwalk on our first visit, because there was no water under the boardwalk.

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    • Hiking and Walking
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