Home Location National Parks

National Parks

The USA has some of the vastest National Parks in the world, and there are several within a short drive of Autumn Glen. Whether it’s walking, fishing, boating or birdwatching, you’re sure to find a area of natural beauty to suit.

national parks floridaLocated 70 miles from Autumn Glen near the town of Sebring, 8,140 acre Highlands Hammock is one of the oldest and most scenic in the USA park system. From 1,000-year-old oak trees to a blackwater cypress swamp, this park has a little bit of everything for those who love Florida's natural beauty. Although rare, black bears and Florida panthers have been seen in the park.
Without a doubt, hikers will be in heaven at Highlands Hammock with nine well-maintained, easily-hiked trails to choose from. Visitors commonly see deer, alligators, wild hogs and a myriad of species of birds. Although rare, black bears and Florida panthers have been seen in the park. Rangers lead tram tours to the more remote areas of the park, and their guided walks and campfire programs are superb.

Just 60 miles from Autumn Glen, visitors to Hillsborough River State Park are enthralled by this blackwater river flowing through a lush forest of pine and oaks. The river offers great canoeing, it’s one of few rivers in Florida with Class II rapids. A huge man-made, spring-fed swimming pool draws crowds of swimmers on hot summer days, and eight miles of hiking trails will delight the hiker and nature enthusiast.

Located about 60 miles from Autumn Glen, Hontoon Island State Park offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. Unique among the parks in Central Florida, the island setting makes it accessible only by private boat or the free passenger ferry. Nestled between the St. Johns and Hontoon Dead River, the visitor will find it a fisherman's' and naturalists' delight.
Large enough to enjoy a leisure hike, but not so large as to get lost, visitors can enjoy the 3-mile trail along Hontoon Dead River. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, alligator, deer, otter, or wild turkey? With both the St. Johns and Hontoon Dead River available for fishing, the fisherman can spend hours catching largemouth bass, speckled perch, bluegills and shellcrackers. Canoeing is another favorite pastime, and canoes can be rented cheaply at the park.

Gushing from a cave at the rate of 26,000 gallons of water a minute, Rock Springs flows from the base of a 17-foot limestone cliff. One of the most unique swimming areas in Florida, the headspring is located in Kelly Park, part of the Orange County Park System. The spring empties into the Wekiva River and has long been considered one of the best canoe and tubing runs in Florida. A unique swimming area has been created from Rock Springs secondary spring, and Kelly Park offers a wonderful picnic area with tables, grills, volleyball courts, playgrounds and restroom facilities. A two-mile nature trail circles the spring, and the park also features a concession stand offering snacks and groceries.

Just a 40 mile drive from Autumn glen, fisherman will be in heaven as Lake Kissimmee State Park offers some of the best freshwater fishing in the state, from the canal banks, marina or dam. Largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, chain pickerel and bluegill are all in abundance. Boaters can access Lake Kissimmee from the public boat ramp. Hikers will have ample opportunities to view a wide variety of wildlife on 13 miles of scenic trails. Over two hundred species of birds call the park home, as well as bobcat, grey fox, white-tailed deer, fox squirrel and otter. The endangered Florida panther has also been spotted within the park's boundaries.

Just 50 miles from Autumn glen and comprising of 383,220 acres, the Ocala National Forest is the most popular National Forest in Florida. Towering palms, large live oaks, and sand pine dominate the landscape in the drier sections of the forest, while hardwoods thrive beside longleaf and slash pine. The vast variety of ecosystems in the park combined with its wonderful trail system make it especially popular for hiking. A great variety of plant and animal species can be observed along the Florida National Scenic Trail, 65 miles of which run through the Ocala National Forest. 
Four major springs are located within the forest, making it a great place to swim, dive, snorkel and canoe. For a longer canoe trip, the Upper Oklawaha River offers the visitor a chance to paddle a real Florida blackwater river. The entire canoe run takes two full days!