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Volusia Mall Toddler Play Area in Daytona Beach

Hiking Long Leaf Pine Preserve in New Smyrna Beach and DeLand


If you live in the area there is a good chance you have passed by Long Leaf Pine Preserve many times in the car. The east entrance to the park is right on Pioneer Trail in New Smyrna Beach, while the west entrance is in DeLand off E. New York Ave. You can choose either entrance to take a hike from. We have hiked from both entrances and it's always a nice time. 

There are two trails at Long Leaf Pine Preserve. The red blazed trail is 6-mile trail, which is a loop that starts and ends at the west entrance. The blue blazed trail is 11 miles long and extends from one entrance to the other, so you can start it at either entrance. If these hikes are too long, as they are with my kids (they are currently good for a 3-4 mile hike), then you can choose your own distance. Whether you want to take the kids out for 1 mile or 3, you can do it easily on one of these trails.

We recently decided to take a quick two-mile hike from the east entrance. It was kind of last minute decision to take a quick hike, or we would have went for a longer one. It was nice to take the kids on the short hike though. Long Leaf Pine Preserve is a great place to see a lot of animal tracks. In fact, we have been out there making casts of animal tracks on numerous occasions. The two mile trek we took from the park lot (1 mile out, 1 mile back) provided a nice short hike that was mostly shaded. We saw plenty of animal tracks, wildflowers, and swamp area. 

As you hike at this preserve you can hear the shooting range off in the distance (just in case you wonder what the sound is). It's a nice area to take a short or long hike that is only minutes from where many of us live. Rather than always drive past it, pull in and try taking a walk back there with the kids! In addition to hiking, you can take your bike back there on the unpaved trails. If you go, always take water with you. Note that there are no picnic tables or restrooms available.

- Jacqueline Bodnar

Update: We took a hike 3-mile hike here again in April 2017. There were SO many butterflies out! I have added a few pictures from this one into the mix of ones from our first hike there.
















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