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It didn’t take selling the Brooklyn Bridge to preserve a slice of primordial Florida, but it took building it to do it. Highlands Hammock State Park is the legacy of Margaret Roebling, widow of bridge-builder John Roebling, who wintered in Sebring and saw the importance of preserving this forest and its thousand-year-old live oaks. There is no better place in Florida to take a slow drive on a canopied road; the forest is simply breathtaking. Home to Florida’s Civilian Conservation Corps museum, Highlands Hammock was slated to be developed into a botanical garden by the CCC, but the natural beauty of the ancient hammocks – another name for ...

It didn’t take selling the Brooklyn Bridge to preserve a slice of primordial Florida, but it took building it to do it. Highlands Hammock State Park is the legacy of Margaret Roebling, widow of bridge-builder John Roebling, who wintered in Sebring and saw the importance of preserving this forest and its thousand-year-old live oaks. There is no better place in Florida to take a slow drive on a canopied road; the forest is simply breathtaking. Home to Florida’s Civilian Conservation Corps museum, Highlands Hammock was slated to be developed into a botanical garden by the CCC, but the natural beauty of the ancient hammocks – another name for lush hardwood forests – won. Another winner is anyone who stops inside the concession stand for their famed sour orange milkshakes and sour orange pie, made from the oranges that grow wild throughout the park. Nearly a dozen nature trails showcase the beauty of this park, including one that invokes a balance beam as the narrow boardwalk leads along the edge of a cypress-lined creek. Bed down in the campground and bring a bicycle to explore the scenic drive and the many trails along it.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Near Orlando, Highlands Hammock State Park is a 9,000-acre park, four miles west of Sebring in Highlands County, Florida, off U.S. 27. The park opened in 1931.
  • Research: Sebrin, FL | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall, winter, spring