Parks are now
toll free, at
HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARK
Webster's defines hammock as "a
fertile area in the southern U.S. and especially Florida, that is usually
higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation
and deep humus-rich soil." True enough. But visitors to Highlands Hammock
State Park know exactly what it means -- "Beautiful!."
This 4,896-acre park opened to the public in 1931 and is one of the earliest
examples of grass-roots public support for environmental preservation. Local
citizens, concerned about plans to turn the hammock into farmland, acquired
the property and pledged to protect it. When Florida's state park system
was established in 1935, Highlands Hammock became one of four original state
parks, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a camp there as a
base for development. The history of the CCC in Florida State Parks is illustrated
in an accessible museum.
The park still preserves a scenic, virgin hardwood forest.
Its boundaries encompass several additional plant communities, including
a cypress swamp, pine flatwoods, sand pine scrub, scrubby flatwoods, bayheads
The sharp-eyed wildlife observer can catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer
and alligators almost every day from one of nine nature trails. Three of
these trails are ramped boardwalks bordering cypress swamps and hardwood
forest. The other six trails are packed dirt that meander through all of
the plant communities found in Highlands Hammock State Park. Otters and
Florida scrub jays also make frequent appearances, while bears and the rare
Florida panther are seen on occasion.
TOURS & ACTIVITIES
A ranger-led tram tour gives visitors
a chance to see wildlife in remote areas of the park. Winter and summer
schedules are available at the ranger station. There is a minimum of five
people per tour. Rangers also give guided walks and campfire programs according
to seasonal demand. For the birder, a checklist of birds is available at
the ranger station. Other publications are on hand for those who want to
learn more about state parks. A day-use horseback-riding trail is available
for those wishing to ride their own horses. Contact the park to make reservations.
Proof of a recent negative Coggins test is required.
A paved loop drive through the hammock
offers nature study and is ideal for cyclists as bicycles are not permitted
on the nature trails. Rentals are available at the ranger station.
Areas designated for picnicking are located
throughout the park. Several tables are designed for wheelchair use.
A full service concession is operated for
the visitors convenience. The Hammock Inn offers food, souvenirs,
camping supplies and rental canoes.
Hammock State Park is located on S.R. 634, four miles west of Sebring.
For more information on the park, write to:
Highlands Hammock State Park
5931 Hammock Road
Sebring, FL 33872
or call (863) 386-6094
e-mail the park at Hammock@strato.net
View Larger Map