Point Washington State Forest - Seaside, Florida
If you’ve seen the movie The Truman Show, then you know what the idyllic town of Seaside, Florida looks like. If you have not, imagine a town so perfectly constructed you’d think it was a movie set. This small beach community is located on the gulf coast of Florida and is an ideal location for a family vacation. It’s located on Highway 30a, a well known coastal road that travels through many of Florida’s gulf coast communities. In the summer the beaches are quiet and while hot in the direct sun, there is typically a nice breeze to keep you cool. When you want a break from the beach, there are plenty of casual places to eat and in the center of the town there is a small grass lawn amphitheater that’s a good place to people watch or enjoy a band or a show.
While most people enjoy the beach when visiting, I don’t think many take advantage of the Point Washington State Forest that border the northern edge of the town. For my beach breaks, I like to find a unique place to go running. Fortunately, there are many single track trails through the forest that are excellent for running given the sandy surface and little elevation. What makes the running ultra though is the heat and humidity if you head out mid-day. The temperature in the shade can be in the 90s (high 30s celsius) with 75% humidity. While not recommended if you are not heat acclimated nor have enough water with you, you will have the entire forest nearly to yourself later in the day. Most of the trails are in and out of the shade which takes some edge off the temperature. That being said, it’s smarter to go out very early when the temperature is lower, but the humidity will still be very high. Going out early also helps to avoid the thundershowers that are common most afternoons.
The Point Washington State Forest makes an excellent place to keep up your training, or even go for an ultra-distance run since you can easily string together a 50k on the many trails through the park. However, it’d be challenging to cover that kind of distance in the middle of summer given the heat and humidity. If you find yourself on the gulf coast of Florida, I hope you can enjoy this ultrarunning destination.
Start and Finish : Seaside, Florida
Distance : 14 miles (23k)
Elevation Gain : 100 feet (30m)