Begin the New Year by going out into Florida’s inspiring wilderness and take a guided hike with park rangers. Walking in the outdoors is a good way to keep up with those New Year resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Florida’s State Parks in the Orlando area have First Day Hikes scheduled for January 1, 2012 that vary in length, difficulty and time of day to meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities.
This year is the first time all 50 state park systems are participating in the First Day Hike program that began 20 years ago in Massachusetts. More than 350 First Day Hikes are scheduled across the country on New Years’s day.
“What a better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a state park?” Ruth Coleman, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), said in an article on the NASPD website. “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle, for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”
The following state parks in the central Florida district are offering First Day Hikes:
DeLeon Springs State Park, DeLand – Meet at parking lot at 1:00 p.m. for a 4 mile, moderate hike suitable for participants 12 and older. This is not wheelchair accessible. Bring water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. (386) 985-4212
Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach – Meet at Nature/History Trail at 10:00 a.m. for an easy .07 mile hike. Children are welcome, but no pets. The trail is mulched and considered accessible. Bring water, insect repellent, sun screen and wear comfortable shoes. (386) 676-4050.
Blue Spring State Park, Orange City – Meet at the riverside parking lot at 8:30 a.m. for an easy 1/2 mile hike along the spring run to view the manatees. Children are welcome and pets must be leashed. Bring cameras. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible. (386) 775-3663.
Sebastian Inlet State Park in Indialantic – Meet at the day-use parking lot, .5 miles south of the Sebastian Inlet Bridge, at 8:00 a.m. for a moderate two-mile walk. No pets and no smoking. Bring insect repellent, sun screen, and water. Wear comfortable shoes and hat.
Colt Creek State Park in Lakeland – Meet at pavilion 471 at 10:00 a.m. for a moderate two-mile walk. Children are welcome, pets are not allowed. Bring water and insect repellant and wear comfortable shoes. Bring a packed lunch for a picnic after the hike. (863) 815-6761.
For more information about these hikes or other First Day Hikes in Florida visit the Florida State Park website.