Take a First Day Hike on New Year's Day 2013 at a SoWal State Park

We live in a great place to get outdoors but sometimes we get stuck inside during the course of living life. What better New Year's resolution than to get outside more? Our local state parks are giving us a great way to start the year off right on January first.

And you have no excuse even if you aren't in SoWal because all 50 state park systems are sponsoring guided First Day Hike Programs on New Year’s Day 2013. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offers the opportunity to begin the new year connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2013 at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. Currently there are 657 First Day Hikes scheduled across the country.

Area parks offering First Day Hikes (free of charge):

Grayton Beach State Park
10am-12pm
Come see how Grayton Beach State Park is restoring wet bog prairies and learn about the flora and fauna that call the state park home. Participants will meet at the ranger station for a 3 1/2 mile round trip hike. The degree of difficulty for the hike is "Moderate". Hikers are asked to wear/bring the following: hat, long pants, insect repellant and closed toe shoes or hiking boots, bottled water. Pets are not allowed. Persons 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent. 
Contact: (850) 267-8300
Directions: Grayton Beach State Park is located South of U.S. 98 approximately halfway between Panama City Beach and Destin. Take County Road 283 south of U.S. 98, turn left at the stop sign on 30A. Approximately half a mile east of the intersection of County Road 30A and County Road 283 the entrance is on the right.

Camp Helen State Park
9am - 11am
Camp Helen State Park is hosting a Nature Trail Hike in support of Americas State Parks First Day Hikes promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles to Florida's citizens and visitors. First Day Hike is a good time for everyone to get active and get healthy by taking advantage of the great physical activity opportunities that Florida State Parks have to offer. Meet at the Day-Use area off Hwy 98.Contact: (850) 233-5058
Directions: Camp Helen State Park is located west of Panama City Beach on U.S. 98 at the west end of the Phillips Inlet bridge, just inside Bay County. The entrance is South of U.S. Hwy 98 and approximately six miles west of State Road 79.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
12:45pm-3pm
Come enjoy your local state park on the first day of the New Year and take a 2 mile hike along our Turpentine Trail featuring many of the ecosystems that make Topsail unique. This is an easy hike in which all ages can participate. Park at the Day Use parking area and meet at the Tram Stop. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen, camera, and/or binoculars.
Contact: (850) 267-8332
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located in Santa Rosa Beach, 10 miles east of Destin, FL. Take I-10 to Exit 85 (Defuniak Springs) and follow U.S. Highway 331 south. Travel 27 miles to U.S. Highway 98. Turn right and travel approximately five miles west to scenic Highway 30A. Turn left and go one quarter mile to the entrance on the right.

See all Florida State Parks in or near South Walton.
 SoWal.com Parks Guide includes photos, video and information for all parks.

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