Description - This 8,140-acre park opened to the public in 1931 and is one of the earliest examples of grassroots 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.
Copyright: Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Highlands Hammock State Park
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 and marsh.
- As one of Florida's oldest state parks, it was actually considered for national park status but was determined too small. Over the years, the Florida Park System has acquired additional land and today the holding totals over 8,000 acres. The park is located in the central area of the state along a massive dune that was once an ancient shoreline. Archeologists have uncovered mastodon bones and a shell from an ancient giant tortoise. Another ancient site, is the 1,000-year-old live oak with an expanse over 37 feet. More recent, the Civilian Conservation Corps established one of the first Florida camps at this site. The depression-era workforce built trails, roads, picnic pavilions, bridges and other structures that remain functional. A museum on the grounds depicts their daily routine.
Highlands Hammock is a beautiful park with much to do and see. Exploring the dense hammock is intriguing. Varied subtropical plant life and a profusion of birds are found among the various habitats. Hikers will find a number of boardwalks that assist journeys through wetlands. A relaxing park loop road is great for biking or enjoying the park's interpretive tram. A horse trail with convenient parking, is another way to enjoy the diversity of Highlands Hammocks.
Recreation - Visitors to Highlands Hammock State Park will find bike trails, family and group campgrounds, guided tours, nine hiking trails, an 11-mile horse trail, an 8-mile bike trail, a large picnic ground, children's playgrounds, an amphitheater, and paved loop drive through the dense hammock.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Summer Fahrenheit temperatures average in the mid to high 80's (28 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Precipitation for the central area averages anywhere from 56 inches to less than 52 inches per year. The region offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
Highlands Hammock State Park is located on State Route 634, four miles west of Sebring.