The best rides in Florida aren’t necessarily at Universal, SeaWorld or Disney. They’re all over the state on some of the craziest, most challenging trails ever carved out of the landscape. There are plenty of great places to ride ATVs in Florida from the panhandle to the Gulf Coast and beyond. You want four-wheeling trails in Florida? You got it.
What follows is a list of some of the best ATV parks and UTV trails in Florida plus information on rules, regulations and how to make the most of your ride. Want to know where to ride your ATV in Florida? Read on.
Where to ride ATVs and UTVs in Florida
Here are a few of the many riding options you can find in America’s Sunshine State. Rules, regs, hours and costs are all subject to change, so make sure you visit the website of each individual park before you hit the road.
Apalachicola National Forest at Silver Lake Trailhead
This trailhead is just 8 miles from the state capital of Tallahassee with over 100 miles of trails and play areas. There are many trailheads to access this extensive system, but Silver Lake is the only one with ATV access. The area is prone to rainy periods and can get muddy, which we love, but it can also flood, so call before you visit if there’s been bad weather. Recommended for bigger bikes and quads due to the deep sand and mud. Not sure if your ride can handle the terrain? Try giving your ride an edge by adding a set of mud tires (like these Outlaws or these Mud Lite XL’s) to reality get the most out of your Silver Lake Trailhead experience!
- Location: Tallahassee, Flor.
- Size: 305 miles of trails
- Terrain: Smooth, flat, sandy, dusty and if you’re lucky, muddy
- Vehicles: ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, motorcycles (nothing wider than 50”)
- Cost: $10/rider
Big Cypress National Preserve
For years, the only way to reach this area was by boat or home-made swamp buggies. Today, you can add a Big Lift kit and snorkel and access this incredible area for “hunting, fishing, frogging, camping, wildlife observation, transportation to private property, and other traditional nature-based activities are consistent with the Big Cypress National Preserve enabling legislation and the Addition Act, and are, therefore authorized in the Preserve.” This means you can’t race or mud around, and have to stick to designated trails. So if you’re looking to tear it up, head to Hog Waller (see below), but if it’s access to incredible wildlife and truly remote Everglades wilderness that floats your boat, you’ll love it. You’ll need proper permits and knowledge of regulations before you visit.
- Location: Ochopee, Flor.
- Size: 700,000 acres
- Terrain: Forest, mud, water crossings
- Vehicles: ATVs, UTVs, swamp buggies
- Cost: $10/rider
Bone Valley ATV Park
This 200 acre ATV park in Polk County has everything OHV enthusiasts love, including designated one-way trails, hill climbs, free riding areas and a large open play area. One of a few trails with a concession stand. Good for beginners or those who want to hone skills and gain comfort on their ride, but more experienced riders might find the short loops leave them wanting more. They also offer ATV, UTV and dirt bike rentals.
- Location: Mulberry, Flor.
- Size: 200 acres with 15 trails
- Terrain: Mostly hard pack, dirt and sand
- Vehicles: ATV, UTV and dirt bike
- Cost: Up to $20 for non-resident riders
Hog Waller Campground & ATV Resort
Hog Waller is a popular, family owned 1,100 acre recreation park. It has approximately 50 miles of ATV and UTV trails that run through the woods, and it features a 6 acre mud pit that’ll make you especially happy if you’ve got a High Lifter Big Lift kit installed. Call ahead because the park splits weekends between ATV/UTV riding and 4×4 mud trucks. They have cabins, RV sites and UTV rentals to round out your weekend.
- Location: Mulberry, Flor.
- Size: 1,100 acres with 50 miles of trails
- Terrain: Mud, hard pack, water
- Vehicles: ATV, UTV
- Cost: Day Pass is $20/day
Ocala North Trail System
This is a sandy two track with extensive trails to rip around on.
- Fort McCoy, FL
- Size: 35 miles of trails for UTVs and ATVs; 76 miles of mixed use trails
- Terrain: Mostly Sand, mud
- Vehicles: ATV, UTV, OHM, dune buggies
- Cost: $10 3-day pass; $25/7-day pass
Lazy Springs is more than just an Off-Road adventure park–you can explore the land and water in a variety of vehicles available for rent, or of-course you can bring your own. If you plan to trailer your own rig, check their website for regulations, and make sure to bring your DOT-approved helmet. And make sure your ride is terrain ready by adding a standard lift kit to your rig. Don’t let getting stuck on rocks or mud keep you from conquering Lazy Springs!
- Location: Felda, Flor.
- Size: 375 acres for UTV and ATV fun
- Terrain: Mud, water, rock, dirt
- Vehicles: Jeep, UTV, ATV, MX, Wave Runner, Swamp Buggy, Rock Crawler (no 3-wheelers)
- Cost: Cash Only, $20 for the day, per person; $10 per off road vehicle; Kids 9 and under are free
Tate’s Hell State Forest OHV System
These trails wind through forests and swamps along the southern rim of the panhandle. WHen Cebe Tate went hunting after a panther that ate his livestock and emerged after a week stating, “My name is Cebe Tate and I just came from hell”. We hope you don’t have the same experience! You won’t find much in terms of challenging terrain here, but these trails offer access to beautiful back country and wildlife.
- Location: Along the gulf southwest of Tallahassee
- Size: 150 miles of trail
- Terrain: Mostly hard pack
- Vehicles: ATVs, UTVs, OHMs
- Day Pass for all State Forests: $2; Annual Pass for all State Forests: $45
- Tate’s Hell OHV Trail System Day Use: $15; Tate’s Hell OHV Trail System Annual Pass: $80
Stuff you need to know before you ride
Do you need an UTV or ATV license in Florida?
According to Florida law, any person under 16 years of age who is operating an ATV or UTV in Florida must have in his or her possession a certificate evidencing the satisfactory completion of an approved OHV safety course, unless that person is a non-resident in Florida temporarily for a period not to exceed 30 days. But if you’re over 16, your driver’s license is all you need.
Do you need a permit to ride in state forests?
Florida Forest Service OHV permits are required for each OHM, ROV and ATV operating on state forests. To purchase an annual permit, visit the web store at ReserveAmerica.com or call 1-877-879-3859. Find out more about Annual Off-Highway Vehicle Fees.
Where can you ride UTVs or ATVs on the beach in Florida?
Generally, it isn’t allowed. Check with local authorities to see if there are any designated areas for off-road vehicle use. (Operating vehicles, such as ATVs, on the beach may harm or kill wildlife). But to ride your ATV in the sand, you’re going to have to change out the tires. GMZ paddle tires scoop the sand away from the wheel to help your ATV gain and maintain traction on slippery sand, but don’t use them on regular roads or they’ll get wrecked.
Are UTVs or ATVs allowed in Florida state parks?
No, sorry. Florida’s state parks do not offer any trails or off-road areas for use by ATVs or other vehicles.
How old do you have to be to ride a UTV or ATV in Florida?
Anyone under the age of 16 operating an ATV on public land must be under the supervision of an adult and must have proof of having completed a certified safety course.
Is it legal to drive UTVs or ATVs on Florida streets?
You can only operate all-terrain vehicles on unpaved roadways where the posted speed limit is less than 35 MPH and only during daylight hours. However, a county may choose to be exempt from this, so if you’re interested in riding in a specific area, give the county a call. If you do find a county that allows on-road UTV or ATV use, you’ll need street legal tires.
Also, to add a bit of extra comfort to your riding experience in the muggy Florida sunshine, try adding a windshield to your ride. Not only are they legal on paved, unpaved or no road at all, they do an excellent job of keeping bugs and other debris out of your face.
Do you have to register your ATV or UTV before riding?
State law requires that all ATVs be registered prior to riding on public property. Learn more about Florida off-highway-vehicle rules and regulations.
A few important safety tips to never, ever forget
- Wear protective clothing. Biting insects and sunburns are the two biggest dangers while four-wheeling in Florida. Wear gator waders and long-sleeved shirts that are lightweight and breathable. Keep bugs (and mud!) out of your eyes with goggles. At the very least, wear high SPF sunblock and bug spray.
- Watch for alligators and snakes. They will likely stay away from trails, but you need to choose break spots carefully. Also, check for red ant nests before finding a spot to relax.
- Can you identify poison plants? Before you ride, know what poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and poisonwood look like.
- Watch the weather. Also, to add a bit of extra comfort to your riding experience in the muggy Florida sunshine (or fast-approaching rain), try adding a windshield to your ride. Not only are they legal on paved, unpaved or no road at all, they do an excellent job of keeping bugs and unexpected weather out of your face.
High Lifter is here to help you get the most rugged offroading without bottoming out
Florida is a great place to ride, especially if you love the mud. And it’s our job to make sure you have the most fun while you stay safe. So keep checking out our High Lifter blog for more information on how to make that happen.