Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#TravelTuesday 5// Florida State Park Review- Highlands Hammock State Park

Happy Travel Tuesday friends!! 
I'm excited for another link up and to see where everyone has been journeying lately!
It has been super crazy around these parts since I got back from Kenya. I haven’t had a chance to share our Highlands Hammock State Park Adventure yet, but today is the day! You can watch some of the highlights or read more of the specifics below…

Highlands Hammock State Park was a great Florida treasure!! It felt a little Jurassic Parkish and had a lot of little extra perks. We loved it even just the two of us, but I would probably deem it as the most family friendly park we have visited thus far. So if you have little ones, Highlands Hammock is definitely a worthwhile adventure!!

What We Did:
*Hiking- The trails in Highlands Hammock are shorter and a lot of them include boardwalks, which is why I found it so family friendly! You can have strollers for most walks and you can pick and choose how many you do/ how long your hike is! Each trail offered something different to see. Whether it was a 1,000 year old oak tree or a really neat “catwalk” through a swamp, you had a lot of different options to choose from.  We loved the little bonuses each trail offered- climbing the tree, forging our way across stones to keep from falling in the swamp, going inside a giant tree…!!
* Museum- There was a museum that highlighted the Civilian Conservation Corps, that was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, which helped begin many of the first state parks in Florida. 
* Exploration Station- There was a neat exploration station in the park, across from the museum, that was open on Saturday morning. You could learn about animal tracks, different Florida spiders, even different animal feces in a “hands-on” way. No, you weren’t literally holding poop, but you did get to hold the glass is was sitting in! It was intended for children, but the kid in me loved it! They are only opened seasonally and when they have enough staff, so it may not always be open, but it’s definitely a fun perk when there!
* Tram Tour- We took a 2.5 hour tram tour through a restricted section of the park! It was fun, but got a little long in our opinion. We did get to see all kinds of wildlife (gators, turtles, birds…), but when you are from Florida you get to see a lot of those. It was hard to hear the different things the guide was telling us when the tram was moving as people were talking and the tram was really squeaky, but when we could hear there were some neat facts that our driver was sharing! If you have little ones it is a much cooler way to experience the park as the movement of the tram does offer a nice breeze. The tram is a day only purchase (you can’t book ahead) and you have to be at the ranger station by 8am to ensure yourself a spot! Babe was 5th in line and the people behind him got the last tickets (there were tons of other behind them that didn’t get tickets). The tram doesn’t leave until 1:30pm, so it is definitely in high demand, just FYI!
* Music in the Park- Though this wasn’t going on when we were there, certain weekends include music from live performers. There is a stage setup by the main park playground area (the camping loop has it’s own playground), in front of a large grassy field. You can bring your lawn chairs and picnic blanket and enjoy an outdoor concert. There was a food truck while we were there and he told us that he is typically there on Music in the Park nights, so you can also get a nibble or some ice cream!!

Where We Stayed:
Photo taken from the trail located inside the campground area
The camping was nice (above photo taken on a short trail located in the campground), but VERY crowded! We ended up sandwiched in between a retreat of sorts and people had multiple tents at each spot. It wasn’t terrible, but we do enjoy state parks because they usually have more spread out spaces. The parks at this space seemed a little more on top of each other. Book ahead in order to be able to pick out a good spot, as we did see some that had more space and better views!
*There is also a primitive camping loop that looked REALLY nice, but was only open to tents and pop-ups.

Where We Ate:
In typical Flo-Venture fashion we found a local BBQ spot on the way to the park and dove right in!! Ah-mazing!! Fire-Chief Barbecue Co. is the reason we make trying new BBQ stops a priority! Though a little hard to find if you don't know what your looking for, the bounty of wonderful food you can find is worth a little hunt-and-find! Fire-Chief BBQ Co. sits directly on Highway 27 in Davenport, Fl. We had a hard time finding it at first because we were assuming we were looking for a building. What we found was even neater!! It is an open air BBQ joint, with the smoker set up under a tent. There is also a picnic table should you choose to eat there (which we did!)! The food was the bomb!! I got a BBQ burrito, filled with guac and sour cream and it was like two of the most amazing worlds collided and brought me BBQ-ican happiness of epic proportions!! Seriously a must try if you find yourself heading through the area! The owners were really great too!! 

I don't think we have ever had a Flo trip that we haven't loved and this was no different! Hope to be out exploring again soon and I hope the same for you!! 


Have you been anywhere fun lately? 
Have any plans to adventure somewhere soon? 

Join in for this month's #travelTuesday link up and let's adventure together!
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel destination and would love to see where you have been exploring! 
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest
~No real rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. Leave a little love where you like! 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
Excited to explore the globe with you all!!

3 comments:

  1. So nice... How I wish we are not that far from Florida.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think my favourite part would have been the tram tour!

    ReplyDelete

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