Celebrate New Year’s Day by starting 2021 on the right foot with a First Day Hike. You can visit your closest park and enjoy the outdoors with your household or choose from one of the 18 events occurring around the state. 

“First Day Hikes is a national event started by the National Association of State Park Directors years ago. In recent years it has attracted tens of thousands of people who celebrate the New Year with a relaxing walk outdoors,” said Florida State Parks Foundation President, Gil Ziffer.

“Rangers and volunteers normally guide the First Day hikes, which provide a great way to learn about the nature and history of our fabulous award-winning state parks,” he said. “However, this year, we are encouraging people to go on self-guided hikes. Eighteen parks will have rangers walking the trails to answer questions.” 

All hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. If you have guests from out of town, First Day Hikes are a great way to show off your area and have a memorable experience with the chance to spot birds, deer, and other Florida wildlife, he added. 

“Begin 2021 with a focus on your physical and mental well-being with a First Day Hike in one of our great state parks. Recent research confirms the benefits of just 30 minutes a week spent in nature, and what better way to start a new healthy habit for 2021,” he said.

“Despite the challenges faced during 2020, volunteers and park staff kept our parks going, providing a welcome and safe place for people wanting to exercise and explore the outdoors during these restricted social times. Hopefully, as we enter 2021 we can all look forward to a healthier and happier New Year,” he said.

You can learn more at https://www.floridastateparks.org/events.

The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.  

It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.

The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.

About the Author: Foundation Staff