What to Wear for Hiking in Florida

If you’re planning to do some hikes in Florida, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration when it comes to what to wear for hiking.

The first is the weather. Florida is hot and humid, so you’ll want to dress accordingly.

If you’re looking for what to wear for hiking in summer, know that lightweight, breathable fabrics are key.

You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

This is pretty obvious but you’d be surprised by the number of times people forget to use sun protection on their hikes. Also, consider the terrain.

what to wear for hiking

I’ve learned the importance of getting familiar with terrains from my experience hiking in Utah, around its beautiful desert landscape.

If you’re hiking in the Everglades, for example, you’ll need to be aware of potential hazards like alligators and snakes.

I mean, after all, this is Florida! Therefore, wearing closed-toe shoes and long pants to help protect yourself is best, for the most part.

But the one thing to always keep first in mind is your own comfort level. It’s important to feel comfortable with your hiking gear and attire, especially on longer hikes.

carlos and I holding hands while hiking in wekiva springs

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When is Hiking Season in Florida?

Generally speaking, the best time for hiking in Florida is from October through April. During this time the weather is a lot cooler and the humidity is lower, making it more comfortable to explore the outdoors. You may want to avoid the months of June through September as the heat and humidity can be extreme. Not the mention the bugs! For this reason, that is the time when I usually stay off the Florida trails.

As part of your planning, always inform a close friend or family member of your hiking location, route, and expected arrival time. This is very important, especially if you’re hiking alone.

Additionally, always have an emergency plan and bring at least a first-aid kit, flashlight, map, and cell phone. There are some really good hiking apps like Alltrails where you download the map and print it for backup.

carlos and I taking a break at sunset surrounded by the forest trees

What to Wear for Hiking in Florida

  • Wear lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing that will help keep you cool 
  • Long sleeves and pants are best, especially because they can protect from the sun, insects, and plants. 
  • Bring plenty of water, as well as some snacks, to stay hydrated and energized.
  • Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Appropriate shoes are essential. Wear hiking boots or sandals that can give you a better grip on any terrain while also protecting your feet.  
  • Be mindful of the terrain and the wildlife. Look for signs that indicate danger, such as poisonous plants or animals.
checking our hiking gear and closing the zipper of the convertible pants for hiking

What is the Proper Attire in Hiking?

When it comes to hiking clothes, the options are endless! And if you’re new to the trails, you may be asking yourself “What do beginner hikers wear?“.

Well, to make things simple and easy to remember, Carlos and I curated this list with our personal favorites of what to wear for hiking in Florida.

We’re including mainly two items per each category of hiking gear, for both men and women.

1. Hiking Headwear

Wearing the proper headwear on your hikes can definitely help you have a better hiking experience. Hats can protect you from the sun and even from annoying bugs.

There are many different options like regular running/hiking hats, sun hats, or brimmed hats that cover around your neck area.

Whichever hat you decide to wear, make sure it has a comfortable fit, and UV protection and is moisture-wicking.

carlos looking at the sunset surrounded by the trees
Trailheads: UV Protection Hat

2. UPF Long-sleeve Shirts

When choosing your hiking shirt, one of the main things you should consider is a long sleeve and UPF protection.

Alternatively, choose a base layer under any shirt of your preference. Although sleeveless shirts are comfortable to wear in Florida, these aren’t the best option when hiking on trails.

Long-sleeve shirts can protect your skin from bug bites and many other elements you can encounter on the trails.

A good quality hiking shirt can also help regulate your body temperature and keep your body dry.

We’ve found the most comfort in materials like polyester and merino wool.

Additionally, most people don’t realize it but even in hot and humid weather, a long-sleeve shirt will keep you cool.

Additionally, you can also wear a rain jacket or at least always carry one with you.

Florida’s weather is very unpredictable, especially if you plan on doing summer hiking. It’s best to be prepared at all times.

a picture of me looking up at the trees in wekiva springs
Hiking outfit idea

3. What Pants to Wear for Hiking

Pants are often the clothing item most talked about when looking for what to wear for hiking.

Although many might opt for cargo shorts, Carlos prefers the convertible cargo pants from KÜHL.

These can quickly change to shorts by just unzipping them at knee length.

What Do Ladies Wear for Hiking?

As for me, I prefer either roll-up pants or leggings, depending on the length and difficulty of the trail.

I never, never wear shorts for hiking. Mainly, because I feel very unprotected from animal bites and poison ivy.

Secondly, wearing long hiking pants also prevents the sweat from sticking to my skin like glue. The best thing about proper hiking pants is that these are also available with UPF protection.

4. Hiking Socks – one of the most important things to wear for hiking

If I had to choose just one item from this list to recommend, it would be hiking socks.

This is an item that beginners often overlook and it’s one of the most important clothing items you need for your hikes.

Wearing proper hiking socks is a game-changer! Quick-drying socks with cushion and support in the heel, ball of the foot, and toes are essential to protect your feet while hiking.

But most of all, hiking socks really do make a difference in comfort while you’re on the trails.

Lightweight or Midweight Hiking Socks: What’s the Difference?

Two of the most common options for hiking socks are lightweight and midweight. The reason for choosing one or the other lies entirely in your type of foot.

Lightweight hiking socks are the best option for a hiker with a high instep or wide feet. These are thin and have a great level of cushioning for comfort.

On the contrary, you’ll want to go with midweight hiking socks if your feet have a low instep or are narrow.

These are thicker because of the extra padding, especially around the leg and the top part of the foot.

As for me, I use lightweight socks. However, if I’m going on a hike that is longer than 15 miles, I prefer wearing midweight socks because of the extra cushioning on the leg.

showing my feet wearing merrell zion hiking boots and fox river socks in tones of blue
Fox River Lightweight Hiking Socks for Women and Merrell Zion Hiking Boots

5. Shoewear: Best Shoes to Wear For Hiking

And now, we get to the good part. This is my favorite category of what to wear when hiking… shoes!

For the most part, I wear hiking boots when hiking in Florida, mostly because of snakes.

However, many people love hiking in trail running shoes which are an excellent option too!

I swear by my Merell Zion hiking boots because they give me 100% protection and comfort, no matter how long the trail is.

They also perform great in wet conditions and don’t trap moisture, which is something I actually tried while hiking The Narrows in Utah.

However, when I’m hiking in dry, rocky areas, I prefer hiking sandals because I have a better grip and feel of the surface.

As for Carlos, he prefers hiking in his Danner boots because they provide him with superior stability, grip, and support.

These are all things you should look for when choosing the perfect shoes to wear for hiking.

6. Miscellaneous Items to Wear When Hiking

Now that we have the main things to wear on your hikes, let’s talk about some miscellaneous items that are good to have.

Hair ties

For women, ponytails are pretty much the best way to wear your hair when hiking. For my curly hair, I usually have issues with hair ties because most of them get stuck on my curls.

With these hair ties from Trailheads, I really have no problem at all and it makes it easier to tie my curls when I wear my hats.

I love these so much that I have replaced all of my hair ties and just use them even when I’m off the trails.

Hiking Underwear

I’ll keep it really simple on this one. Yes, there is such a thing as hiking underwear!

The main thing you’ll find with these is that they are moisture-wicking and quick-drying.

Waterproof Socks

If you’re hiking in hot conditions and are looking to keep your feet extra dry, a waterproof sock might be your best option.

These kinds of socks create an extra layer of protection for your skin, regulate the temperature, and prevent blisters.

Final Thoughts

So what’s the bottom line? When it comes to what to wear for hiking in Florida, comfort and protection are key.

Remember, you’ll most likely be hiking under the sun for long hours. Therefore, you really need UV protection at all times.

And comfort is super important because there is no worse thing than being in the middle of a hike and feeling pain due to discomfort. I hope this gives you a good idea of what to look for.

standing on a hiking trail showing my hand holiding a 52 hike challenge sticker

If you plan to start your hiking journey, join us on the 52 Hike Challenge! It’s a great opportunity to explore nature one hike at a time and to connect with other hikers in your community. See you on the trails!

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hiking what to wear

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Yanitza Ninett
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Yanitza is one 1/2 of the Next Stop Adventures dynamic duo with 15+ years of hiking experience and adventure travel. As a PADI-certified Scuba diver, she's also passionate about ocean conservation. When she's not exploring the great outdoors, Yanitza obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and dreams of traveling to Spain.

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