What is a Gateway Community?
A Gateway Community is a designated town in close proximity to the Florida Trail that offers accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores for thru-hiker resupply, and other recreational opportunities. This program works by connecting Florida Trail hikers to local businesses within the community, and making visitors to the community aware of the Florida Trail.
A Gateway Community not only brings awareness, safety, and accommodations that enhance hikers’ experience on the Florida Trail, but also provides publicity, tourism, and economic growth to each town’s local businesses.
Look for this decal (shown above) in the front window of local businesses in each Gateway Community**! This logo signifies official awareness and a partnership with the Florida National Scenic Trail.
(** Not all businesses listed on our GC pages will have this decal)
Florida Trail Passport Program
The FT passport program is a fun way for hikers to visit our Gateway Communities and have a memento of each place they visited along the Florida Trail. Gateway Communities will be housing town and local business stamps. To learn more click on passport program below!
Our Gateway Communities:
Florida’s Panhandle offers beautiful hiking experiences along the Gulf of Mexico. Here visitors can be treated to pine-fringed estuaries and long walks along the sparkling sands. The panhandle is known for its “hills,” where hikers are challenged to transverse steep ravines, along narrow footpaths.
As a strike contrast, low boggy areas and seepage slopes are host to a colorful assortment of wildflowers, including terrestrial orchids and pitcher plants.
North Florida is a window into the past, passing through 1700’s plantations and civil war battlefields. The region is known primarily for its flatwood forests and hilly terrain along spring-fed, tannin-rich rivers.
Circling conservation areas around the Greater Orlando Metro Region, the Florida Trail splits into its Eastern and Western corridors. Travel through palmetto and pine flatwoods, creekside hammocks, rolling sandhills and floodplain forests.
Explore the wet wilderness of sawgrass prairies, hardwood hammocks and dwarf cypress swamps of Southern Florida. Start your journey at the Southern Terminus in Big Cypress National Preserve, and trek through swamps, historic cattle country up to follow the winding Kissimmee River.
Click on a Gateway Community in the map or list above to learn more about our partnered businesses and recommendations.