More than 126 million people visit Florida every year, many heading for the thrill of the theme parks. But if you want to experience the real Florida, off the beaten track, then there is only one way to do it in style – on an off-roading adventure. This way, you can navigate terrains that can’t be driven in an ordinary hatchback. It will give you the opportunity to see areas of Florida that are completely unique in terms of landscape. You might even spot a manatee or two on your travels.
What sort of vehicle will I need?
A reliable SUV or crossover is perfect if you want to go off-road in a little luxury. A Jeep Compass is a good option: it’s big enough to transport a family in, but comfortable to drive, even over the roughest ground. There’s plenty of cargo space for your rucksacks and tents too. A Subaru Forester is also built perfectly for an off-road experience. All-wheel drive comes as standard, so even over rough ground, there’s no problem. The 2.5 litre, 4 cylinder engine is plenty powerful to get you up steep hills too. Check your vehicle over before you set out, paying particular attention to your tyres, to ensure a safe trip.
Osceola National Forest
In the Northeast of Florida is Osceola National Forest (24874 US-90, Sanderson, FL 32087). It is a natural gem with some great off-road opportunities. There are open pine flatwoods to explore, green and luscious swamps, verdant marshland, and trails through the temperate forest areas. The most popular way to get onto the OHV trails is off Mount Carrie road. Make sure you check the conditions before you leave though, as trails can often be waterlogged. It costs nothing to ride, but make sure that your vehicle is titled and registered.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Big Cypress (33100 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL 34141), located 45 miles west of Florida, boasts 729,000 acres of amazing scenery. There is a mixture of temperate and tropical plants – it’s like driving through a rainforest. There’s a diverse range of wildlife to look out for, including the elusive Florida Panther. You can see the amazing Cypress trees, mangrove swamps and alligators all in one day, all from the comfort of your off-road vehicle.
Florida is the perfect place for an American off-road adventure. From the endless blue landscape of the Florida Keys, to the jungle forests of the north, there is an incredible terrain for you to explore in your SUV.