Ring in the New Year with a First Day Hike at a Florida State Park

Special to Gannett
Miles of hiking and biking trails are neatly nestled within Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Dune Allen, where you'll find vast stretches of sugar-white and natural beauty.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Park Service invite Florida's residents and visitors to start a healthy new year by participating in one of several First Day Hikes held statewide on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

This New Year's Day, Florida State Parks are offering guided hikes at participating parks around the state. Joining in a First Day Hike allows Floridians and visitors to get a head start on a health-focused new year by being active and having fun in the outdoors. Visitors are encouraged to bring friends and family along. 

"We value this opportunity to show off our state's natural beauty during the First Day Hikes and hope this will encourage visitors to return throughout the rest of the year," said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. "Start the new year off right and enjoy Florida's diverse and unparalleled outdoor resources and recreational opportunities, from natural springs to coral reefs." 

"First Day Hikes are a great way to begin 2022," added Chuck Hatcher, acting director of Florida State Parks. "First-day hikers can enjoy 2,200 miles of both paved multi-use and off-road trails. Florida State Parks trails are not only great for hiking, but also for running, cycling and exploring with children."

Scheduled events include a scavenger hunt complete with hidden signs at Oscar Scherer State Park near Sarasota, a three-quarter mile, self-guided tour through the history of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway near Ocala and a scenic, winding walk through three natural communities at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Port St. Joe. 

Find a First Day Hike event at a park near you at https://www.floridastateparks.org/events?keywords=first+day+hike