Tate’s Hell State Forest is a Must-See for Outdoor Enthusiasts
By Forgotten Coast Web Team | April 19, 2023
If you’re a nature lover planning a visit to Florida’s 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 over 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:
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 wildlife species make their home here, including bald eagles, Florida black bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and gopher tortoises.
If you admire 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 Tate’s Hell State Forest trails! The High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail winds six miles through the forest, often paralleling St. George Sound. You’ll see 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 offer kayak, canoe, small boat access and fabulous fishing on the river banks.
Here are useful maps of Tate’s Hell produced by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
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!