Florida’s oldest state forest has been providing a place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the great outdoors since it was first established in 1936. Today it offers everything you would expect from a forest – hiking trails, horse trails, places for bicycling, lakes to swim in, wildlife viewing and birding, and of course camping and picnicking.
Where is Pine Log State Forest?
Pine Log State Forest is located just south of the small town of Ebro, about 30 miles (by road) north west of Panama City and 22 miles from Panama City Beach. While there are many coastal parks in the Panhandle, Pine Log State Forest is inland, giving this park a different atmosphere, but it’s still very easy to access from the cities via Highway 79. In total, the forest covers an area in excess of 7,000 acres.
What can you do at Pine Log State Forest?
Pine Log State Forest was established in 1936 as Florida’s first state forest. Since then it has been managed as a multi-use forest for its timber, as a place for wildlife to thrive, and of course as an outdoor recreation destination.
When we think of a forest, an abundance of trees comes to mind and while Pine Log does have many trees, the area is also home to swamps, ponds, lakes, flatwoods and sandhills. The diverse natural environment of the forest means it attracts many different species of wildlife and birds, making this a popular destination for nature lovers, in fact, the forest is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail so bring along your birding checklist.
Pine Log State Forest is popular as both a day-use park and for camping. Whether you’re visiting for just the day or are staying for longer, there is a picnic area next to the camping area that has picnic tables and a pavilion, plus a number of grills available. The pavilion itself is available by reservation only, and for a fee, making this a great option for larger groups.
For overnight visitors there are several choices when it comes to camping. The main campground has 20 sites that are serviced with electric and water hookups, making these great for both tenting and RV’ing. The campground offers restrooms with showers as well as a sanitary dumping station. If you prefer to have less of the creature comforts there are also primitive camping sites spread alongside Pine Log Creek, plus there’s a group camping area for youth groups.
The Recreation Area surrounding the campground is also where you’ll find the forest’s two main lakes and one of them, East Lake, is great for swimming in. However, there are no lifeguards on duty and you’ll need to keep your eyes open for alligators and other wildlife that may be coming to the lake for food and water!
If you’re visiting Pine Log State Forest to use the trails there are over 13 miles of trails to explore in total. Some have been set aside for horseback riding while others are for bicycling and walking, and they cover a variety of distances from the 2-mile Campground Trail (for walking only) to the 11.5-mile Old Sawmill Horse Trail. The lakes and streams can also be great for fishing, plus the forest has a boat ramp and canoe launch if you want to explore it from the water.
Pine Log State Forest, 5583 Longleaf Road, Ebro, FL 32437
There are parking areas along Highway 79 for trail access while the campground recreation area is on Longleaf Rd.
- Horseback riding
- Wildlife viewing
- Serviced campsites
- Primitive campsites
- Group camping
- Boat ramp
- Canoe launch
- Hiking trails
- Horse trails
- Picnic tables and grills
- Picnic pavilion
What to Bring
- Camping equipment/RV
- Swimming gear
- Fishing gear
- Walking shoes