The Florida Panhandle is a great place to see native wildflowers.
Review the map for key routes, read about common species for the season, and hit the road!
The region’s relatively high percentage of public land makes it a splendid place to see wildflowers in natural ecosystems. These holdings include the Apalachicola National Forest, a number of state forests and wildlife management areas, large natural areas surrounding two US Air Force bases, and land owned by the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
Private conservation organizations such as Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy also own and/or manage substantial acreage.
Much of this land is routinely managed by prescribed fire, which promotes the growth of native wildflowers and grasses. Soil characteristics also are key. Many wildflowers thrive in the moist, slightly acidic fine-sand soils abundant in the Panhandle. In addition, cool winters, warm summers and plentiful rainfall (historically more than 60 inches annually) support wildflower growth.
PLEASE NOTE: There is spotty to nonexistent cell coverage for much of the Eastern Panhandle wildflower route because the region is largely undeveloped. So plan ahead before you travel.
- Visit the In Bloom map before your trip and jot down some destinations you’d like to visit.
- Make sure you have a locator app for your phone or tablet that works without cell service to track your longitude and latitude.
- Take lots of photos along the way. You can send the best shots when you’re within range of a cell tower or wifi connection.
Spring and fall typically are the best seasons to view showy stands of wildflowers, but check moist areas in the summer for flowers such as Meadow Beauty, Hibiscus, and Rosegentian.
Don’t miss State Road 65 in the Apalachicola National Forest, widely acknowledged as the best place in Florida to view wildflowers.
The best places to see showy wildflowers are rural areas (especially moist ones), recently burned natural areas and infrequently mowed roadsides.
Please don’t pick wildflowers. If you want to preserve your memories, take a picture – it will last longer. Picking flowers reduces a species’ ability to sustain itself. It’s also illegal to pick the flowers of endangered or threatened species (see Florida Statute 581.185 Preservation of native flora of Florida).
Stopping on the road or shoulder can be hazardous to you and other motorists. Many Panhandle roadsides have pullouts where you can park to view or photograph wildflowers.
Take a picture! You can upload your wildflower photo now for viewing in this web application, or share your photo on the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s What’s Blooming page. Visit FlaWildflowers.org/bloomreport.php for instructions about submitting your photo.