Pine Island Trail is a 5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Orange City, Florida that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Orange City, FL: Take U.S. Highway 921 / 17 to French Avenue. Travel 2 miles west on French Avenue to the park entrance. From the last parking lot, a trailhead is located on the southside between the cabin area and the lagoon.
Nice trail. Longer than a lot that you find in FL although it is an out-and-back which no one loves. Trail is mostly loose sand or leaf covered sand but its very wide so no fear of anything in the bushes surprising your ankles. My wife and I saw a number of armadillos and a whole family of Florida Scrub Jay (which is a highly endangered bird found on in FL). Nicely changes ecosystems throughout the hike but I would NOT do this in summer as other reviewers have pointed out.
This trail is recommended for winter months. It is much too hot in the summer and is full of mosquitos. We went in December and the temperature was nice still some mosquitos in the evening. First short portion is forest, then it opens up to a scrub lowland area and the trail turns into a sandy/dirt utility road. Arrows will direct you in the right direction. There are picnic benches to relax along the way. After a while of open, the trail leads you back in the cover of the trees. The bugs didn't get too bad till around dusk. We saw a couple armadillos, a family of wild boars, and a deer. It was a nice trail but nothing spectacular, the wildlife was a perk. From start to finish it took about 3 hours to complete. Make sure to bring plenty of water, pack a lunch, wear a hat, and bring bug repellent.
First half mile is nice, trails through a pine swamp. Then miles of sugar sand on an access road. Did see a few scrub jays.
The trail is beautiful as it takes you through different terrains and ecosystems. It ends on the banks of the St. John's River. My friend and I saw a Florida panther and a family of wild boar. Highly recommend this trail.