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Guidebook Getaway: Slip into the Pines with Your Honey in Florida's Seminole State Forest

Looking for a place to take a romantic stroll? How about a trail that steers you through patches of a plant named lovegrass?

The place to go, says guidebook author Sandra Friend, is the Lower Wekiva Loop, an 8.8-mile walk in Central Florida’s Seminole State Forest, about 40 miles north of Orlando.

Today’s Guidebook Getaway comes from Friend’s recently published book Five-Star Trails: Orlando from Menasha Ridge Press.

Click the link to get the free trail description. Or get the complete book.

Her recommended walk for romantics features lowland hammocks of ancient live oaks and palms, which stand in contrast to extensive pine flatwoods and an ancient scrub forest.

“Wildlife sightings, including bear, are common,” Friend tells us.

She points out the nearby Wekiva River is one of Florida's few Wild and Scenic Rivers, with launch points for kayaking on the opposite side of the river at Wilson's Landing Park and Katie's Landing, both off Florida state route 46.


Palm trees rise above saw palmettos, Lower Wekiva Trail. (Photos: Susan Friend)

Friend, a veteran travel writer who specializes in Florida, considers this trip a particular favorite.

After researching it for her guidebook, she returned to hike it again last year on Valentine's Day as an overnighter with her boyfriend.

Her companion cooked a steak and potatoes meal on the fire ring grill at Pine Lily Camp. In the photo to the left, she confirms that the twosome brought a bear canister for food storage.

The route also makes a dandy day hike, Friends tells us. “You can use Pine Lily Camp as a comfy lunch stop," she says.

Sounds like a sweet spot for a midwinter’s hike.


Open spaces along the Lower Wekiva Trail. (Photo: Susan Friend)

Other destinations from the Five-Star Trails series featured in past Guidebook Getaways.

Posted on at 1:45 PM

Tagged: Five-Star Trails, Florida, Guidebook Getaways, Hiking, Orlando, guidebooks and romance

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I live here, between Katies Landing & Wilson Landing. The State Park hiking is great, and kayaking is fantastic! One of the best in the state! The nearby KOA offers a natural spring to cool off in in the summer. Rock Spring &Wekiwa Spring are the headwaters. Both offer camping & info, swimming etc. Kayak or canoe rentals are available. Wekiva Island is about a 10 minute paddle down river from where Rock Spring & Wekiwa Spring intersect. Wekiva River is about 14 miles, ending in St. Johns River.

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