Have you seen them? The fantastic swamp sunflowers, that is – Helianthus angustifolius, for the most part. They come out every year around this time near Lake Jesup, Puzzle Lake and Lake Harney.
They’re not far from us here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary. If you drive over the 417 or anywhere near the lakes, you can frequently just park on the side of the road and hop out for a quick look at this amazing phenomenon.
You know what’s better? Seeing them up close – and for that, you need your hiking boots.
Florida hiking expert and award-winning author Sandra Friend writes about the best places to see swamp flowers on her blog, Florida Hikes!
The Florida HIkes! link has all the details – complete with internal links to all locations mentioned, plus the ever-important directions, plus stunning photos – but here are some highlights:
- Cameron Tract, Lake Jesup Conservation Area – Easy to get to – just off Lake Mary Boulevard near Sanford International Airport.
- Marl Bed Flats, Lake Jesup Conservation Area – A loop train at this little-known site leads right to the edge of the lake and expansive views of the sunflowers.
- Lake Jesup Wilderness – By far the best place to see sunflowers (Sandra’s words, not ours – and she should know). Very accessible and popular.
- Lake Harney Wilderness – Follow the loop trail from the far end of the parking lot.
- Puzzle Lake – Great place to see the sunflowers from your car, especially between the SR 46 bridge (near Jolly Gator Fish Camp) and the trailhead for the Little Big Econ State Forest.
Thanks, Sandra, for letting us share this great info!