There are oaks in Florida

Fall in the Sunshine State: Where the foliage is most colorful in Florida

For Florida fans who cannot tolerate too much heat and who not only want to spend their time on the beach, but also want to hike through nature, autumn is the perfect travel time. As the southeastern state of the USA with a mild climate all year round and a lot of evergreen vegetation, the Sunshine State is not usually associated with particularly atmospheric autumn colors. But this impression is deceptive: In fact, according to the Fun Times Guide, the autumnal discoloration of the leaves in Florida is very pronounced. It is particularly intense when the temperatures are unusually low for several days in a row in October.

In general, lower night temperatures in particular mean that the trees break down the green chlorophyll in the leaves in preparation for leaf shedding. As a result, the leaves take on the yellow to orange-red color of the carotenes and xanthophylls that remain in them. In some tree species, due to chemical processes, anthocyanins are formed, which cause the leaves to turn deep red. Since the morning minimum temperatures in the Sunshine State usually only fall below 21 degrees Celsius between the beginning of October and the middle of October, the leaves do not start to change color until November. The color spectrum typically ranges from yellow to orange and red to occasional purple tones. According to the Fun Times Guide, the most vivid colors are shown by red maple ("red maple"), Florida maple ("Florida maple"), the smooth-leaved hackberry ("sugarberry"), ebony trees ("persimmon"), the American sweetgum tree ("sweet gum "), flowering dogwood", sour tree ("sorrel tree"), sassafras tree and cypress. For climatic reasons, however, the autumn coloration in southern Florida is much less pronounced than in the center and north.

The best way to admire the Floridian autumn colors in the first two weeks of November is on a hike through a nature reserve or park, or on a canoe tour on one of Florida's rivers. Deciduous trees grow in Florida mainly in more mountainous landscapes. Golden Age Trips recommends a visit to the Three Rivers State Park on the shores of Lake Seminole, north of Sneads, Jackson County. It is named after the three rivers Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola River, of which the first two flow into the lake, while the third rises from it. Also worthwhile are hikes through Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park south of Tallahassee and Torreya State Park near Bristol in the Panhandle, which are currently closed to visitors due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael.

Those who prefer to drive will find numerous deciduous trees with extremely brightly colored autumn leaves along Interstate 75 on the route from Tampa to Lake City, which runs through Florida's hilly region in Columbia County. If you haven't seen enough on the drive to Lake City, you can take a detour into the rural areas of the city in the direction of Ocala, where further beautifully colored groups of deciduous trees await. Another option is to drive along Interstate 10, which for the most part passes through some of the most sparsely populated areas in the state.

According to the Palm Beach Post, a trip on the approximately 30 miles long Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, which begins north of Daytona Beach and runs along the seashore and the Halifax River, is also highly recommended. While red maple trees, piglet-nut trees ("pignut hickory") and moss-hung oaks draw the eye, you run the risk of missing whales, dolphins and manatees in the sea. The Panaramat route crosses a total of four nature reserves. These include the Tomoka State Park, which is particularly considered a bird watcher's paradise, the North Peninsula State Park and the Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve. Bulow Creek State Park has one of the largest surviving primeval stands of Virginia oak on Florida's east coast, including the so-called "Fairchild Oak", which is one of the largest oaks in the southern United States and is over 400 years old. In their vicinity, it is a good idea to take a break and have a picnic.

In addition, there are avenues of deciduous trees on many back roads in rural areas. Depending on where you are in Florida, a trip to the neighboring states can also be worthwhile. According to Golden Age Trips, Georgia's capital Atlanta, Asheville in North Carolina and the Little River Canyon National Preserve in Fort Payne, Alabama with the impressive Little River Falls are very attractive destinations for weekend trips.