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Tate’s Hell State Forest is a Must-See for Outdoor Enthusiasts

By Forgotten Coast Web Team | April 19, 2019

Dwarf Cypress

If you’re a nature lover planning a visit to the Forgotten Coast, be sure to add Tate’s Hell State Forest to your must-see list. Nestled between the Apalachicola and Ochlocknee Rivers in Franklin County, this breathtaking forest spans more that 202,000 acres. Managed by the Florida Forest Service, this protected park offers tons of recreational activities for visitors.

Here are just a few of the activities you’ll enjoy at Tate’s Hell State Forest:

Wildlife Viewing

When you visit Tate’s Hell State Forest, be sure to pack your binoculars and a camera! This lush forest is teeming with wildlife for visitors to observe. Countless species of wildlife make their home here, including bald eagles, Florida black bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers and gopher tortoises.

If you’re an admirer of plant life, you’ll find botanist’s bliss at Tate’s. The forest features rare plant species like whit birds-in-a-nest, Florida bear grass, small-flowered meadow beauty and Chapman’s butterwort.


Ready to take a hike? Lace up your boots and hit the trails at Tate’s Hell State Forest! The forest’s High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail winds six miles through the forest, often paralleling St. George Sound.  You’ll come across some enlightening visitor education exhibits as you walk along the trail.

During your hike, keep an eye out for the natural phenomenon of the area’s dwarf cypress trees. These unique regional trees grow no more than 15 feet tall—even though they are 150 years old! Be sure to stop by the Ralph G. Kendrick Boardwalk, which offers an observation tower overlooking one of the areas where the dwarf cypress trees grow prolifically.

Fishing, Paddling & Boating

Home to 35 miles of rivers, streams and creeks, Tate’s Hell State Forest offers tons of paddling, boating and fishing opportunities. The park offers a concrete boat launch at Cash Creek and additional launch sites throughout the forest. If you plan to fish in the forest, you are required to have a valid license. Fishing is regulated under the direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Picnicking & Camping

Tate’s Hell State Forest offers numerous day-use areas. Here, you and your family can enjoy a picnic under the lush forest canopy while you watch the wildlife.

Ready to pitch a tent and sleep under the stars? You’re in luck! There are primitive campsites dispersed throughout the forest. Most of these sites are located on the river banks, which offer kayak, canoe and small boat access as well as fabulous fishing.

 If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and plan to visit Franklin County this year, be sure to add Tate’s Hell State Forest to your itinerary!