When it comes to finding some exciting off-road trails to get out and see what your Jeep can do, Florida may not exactly be the first place to jump to mind. Known more for its beautiful beaches than anything resembling a mountain, Florida hasn’t had quite the same appeal for offroaders as those more well-known trails in California and Colorado have. For those looking to try out a new Jeep Compass in Miami, the long drive out west might seem like the only option.
But, as any good off-road loving Floridian will tell you, what Florida may lack in rocky climbs it more than makes up for in its natural beauty, its diversity of wildlife, and – maybe best of all – its miles and miles of muddy, messy swamps. These hidden gems – many of which offer huge trail networks to test out – lie scattered throughout the state, and some of the best are in Florida.
Here’s a quick look at some of the best Jeeping spots in southern Florida, where you can get out and see what that Compass can do. Take a look and find one you’d like to visit – unless, of course, you decide to try them all.
Big Cypress National Preserve
With over 270 miles of off-road vehicle trails available for your Jeeping needs, the Big Cypress National Preserve offers just about all the driving space and wildlife the southern Jeeper could ever want.
This huge expanse offers a wide variety of trails to take on, with everything from muddy swampland to flat grassland for your Jeep to take on. Known throughout the state as a preserved hunting, fishing, boating, and off-roading spot, this popular destination boasts some of the most diverse and varied Jeeping trails in the state. And, located just across Alligator Alley from Miami, this site is easily reachable by those in the southern part of Florida.
Be careful on these trails, however. While the wide diversity of wildlife at the National Preserve offers great sightseeing and a place to get in touch with the wilderness, it’s important to tread lightly and not leave anything behind. Watch out for the endangered Florida panther, and keep your eye out for some impressive alligators.
Lazy Springs Recreation Park
Those looking for a full day of offroading fun – with a little bit of a challenge mixed in for good measure – should look no further than Lazy Springs Recreation Park, located at the corner of Lee, Collier, and Hendry counties. This family-friendly 4X4 park offers everything from rocky hills to deep mud pits, and just about everything in between.
This popular destination boasts natural lakes that swell with summer rains and create a fun mud patch for everything from ATVs and dirtbikes to your suped-up Jeep, as well as new hills and “surprise” elements that are updated annually.
If you’re looking for a fun place to test a wide range of what your Jeep is capable of, Lazy Springs might just be the perfect place to do just that.
Osceola National Forest
Of course, one of the best parts about owning a Jeep is being able to easily get to places other cars might not even be able to reach. For those interested in seeing not only some great nature but also in being immersed in history, then Oceola National Forest may just be the place for you.
Located just west of Jacksonville, this natural preserve boasts not only miles of scenic, beautiful off-road trails to challenge your vehicle – including Big Gump Swamp, which features 13,000 acres of cypress-sweetgum swampland – but also features the Ocean Pond, a large body of water that was an important Civil War battlefield in the 1860s. History buffs and nature lovers can both enjoy this scenic trip, and only a Jeep can take you to the places you really want to go.
If you’re looking for some relatively easy Jeep trails but don’t want to settle for anything less than a great visit, the Osceola is likely a great destination for you.
Redneck Yacht Club Mud Park
The again, there are definitely those looking for a little bit less easy driving and a lot more hard, down-and-dirty, mud-slinging fun. For those with a good sense of humor and the pride that comes with being a rough riding southern Jeeper, the Redneck Yacht Club Mud Park is the place you need to be.
Built as a fun hangout for those whose yachts look better in a pile of mud that on some harborside, the Redneck Yacht Club Mud Park features some of the best mudding and off-road obstacles available in the Sunshine State. Featuring everything from a massive mudhole to forest riding trails, both alongside a dirt obstacle course and several muddy and dry racetracks. Plus, with an on-site buggy and car wash available, you can keep your Jeep looking like new between rounds in the mud.
If you are looking to challenge your Jeep in just abut every way possible, you can do it at the RYC.Located just northeast of Fort Meyers in Punta Gorda, this racetrack is open and ready for all your fun Jeep desires.
Ocala National Forest
Then again, there are definitely those whose Jeeping plans extend beyond the single, short day trip. For those camp-ready Jeepers who are ready to spend the night, make the long haul, and finish the trail, the Ocala National Forest might be just the spot for you.
Located just north of Orlando, this National Forest boasts over 200 miles of ATV and Motorcycle trails, with an additional 80 miles open only to Jeeps and 4X4 vehicles. This means that not only can you cruise along gently on flat trails to observe thousands of acres of wilderness, but you can also get in those tough Jeep climbs you’ve been itching for.
Drivers interested in checking out huge expanses of open grassland should see the Big Scrub, a natural formation and campground for ATV and 4X4 enthusiasts. For those looking to get a little muddy, the Lake Delancy area offers plenty of OHV trails for your enjoyment.
If you’re looking to get in on one of the most popular Jeeping spots in Florida and see some amazing natural wilderness, look no further than the conveniently-located Ocala National Park.
Whatever your reason may be, having a Jeep is good enough motivation to want to get out there and see what it can do. While not every part of the country can be as well-endowed with rocky trails and mountain passes as the western states, there is sure to be somewhere great you can bust out your Jeep’s greatest moves near you that’s just waiting to meet you and your beloved 4X4.
So for those Jeepers in southern or central Florida who’ve just stopped by Miami Lakes Jeep to pick up a new Jeep Compass and who are now looking for a good spot to go for a ride, these are the best spots the Sunshine state has to offer. The best way to pick your favorite is to get out there and try them all, and to bring your Jeep along with you – after all, it’s the perfect tool for the job.