2.) Buster Island- Rated "R" for Rugged
Backpacking in Florida? Yes, it's a thing! Almost 150 years ago, John Muir thru-hiked Florida's tropical woods during his Thousand-Mile Walk from Illinois to the Gulf.
What we lack in mountains, Florida makes up for in its vast and varied vegetation. Buster Island lies in Lake Kissimmee State Park and offers a 6.9 mile loop that is perfect for families seeking a relatively short, but beautiful overnight adventure. Explore the old-growth live oak groves, expansive prairies, and even a replica of an old cow camp. Make sure you take time to examine your surroundings- you may spot a bald eagle!
We've rated this adventure 'Rugged' since the camping is primitive, meaning that if you plan on camping under the oaks for the night, be aware that these unofficial sites only offer a few picnic tables and fire rings. So plan to do your business at the restroom found by the trailhead before setting out on your hike, or freshen up your cat-hole digging skills! Make sure to take plenty of water as well, and remember: pack it in, pack it out. Backpackers register at the ranger station beforehand.
DIRECTIONS: From US 27 in Lake Wales, drive east on SR 60 for 9.7 miles to Boy Scout Camp Rd. Turn left and continue 3.5 miles to Camp Mack Rd. Turn right and drive 5.4 miles to the park entrance, on the right.