We’ve heard the rumors (mostly from kids) that “summer’s already almost over,” but we’re not sure we believe them. If you don’t either, you know there’s still plenty of time to get outside, stretch, and take a long walk down a trail or through a local park. We’ve listed a few local hikes below to give your perfect summer day a perfect destination.
LAKE MANATEE STATE PARK
20007 FL-64, Bradenton, FL 34212
With three separate trails making up the Main Park Trails, totaling just under three miles, there’s plenty of room to spread out at this state park, with excellent views of the prairie, a nearby lakefront to walk, and even bicycle and canoe rentals. Looking for an overnight outing? The park also offers camping, fishing, and a separate area for boat put-in.
1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
Looking for something a little longer? Robinson Preserve is a county-managed former farmland that’s undergone restoration to include over 8 miles of walking and biking trails, excellent kayaking spots, and “some of the best birding on the Gulf Coast.” This is a family-friendly destination, featuring a playground along the trail, the historic volunteer-staffed Valentine House, and picnicking spots connected to the main parking area.
HIGHTOWER TRAIL SYSTEM at Terra Ceia Preserve State Park
389 Terra Ceia Rd, Terra Ceia, FL 34250
A little farther out (both in location and getting off the beaten path) is the Hightower Trail system, which you can start at the south end of the Terra Ceia Preserve a few miles north of the marina. With a large variety of local wildlife, marshes, and plant life to take in, you can set off along the trail for a whole day exploring the preserve. You’ll also find trail conditions, hiking maps, and information about local species right at the trailhead, setting you up for success as you head out. (For an insider look at the Hightower Trails, as well as a recommended route, check out one visitor’s account on the Florida Hikes website, here.)
Of course, whether you’re going out for an hour or an afternoon, a mile or a whole loop, remember to stay safe. Pack water and snacks for your hike, let others know where you’re going if you’re headed out alone, and be mindful of the native species and plant life.