Ocala National Forest is one of the few places in Florida where you hike into the woods and cut down a Christmas tree.
But you need a permit.
Get a $10 permit and you can chop down a Christmas tree at Ocala National Forest. Rangers will direct permit-holders to one of the designated areas at the time you receive your permit.
Tree harvesting ends Dec 24.
This year, all permit requests are being handled online.
When you receive your permit, you get a map to the sites where you can cut your tree.
Unlike tree farms, these sand-pine trees have not been treated for bugs, so small beetles may crawl out once the tree is in your home. Sand pine trees are the only native Florida Christmas tree. They’re not commercially sold because the branches are too weak for heavy ornaments.
Call (352) 625-2520 for more information.
Here’s more about the Florida sand pine.
Florida also has Christmas tree farms
In Central and Northern Florida, you can also buy Christmas trees from farms where they are grown. The farms grow a variety of types of pines — red cedar, Virginia pine, sand pine, spruce pine and Leyland cypress.
This page provides a locator map for Florida Christmas tree growers who are members of the Florida Christmas Tree Association. Many offer potted trees, pre-cut trees and choose-and-cut trees. Some also offer wreaths, arts and crafts, gifts, and family activities such as hay rides.
Other holiday-oriented Florida Rambler stories
Notes from the editor:
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning visits.
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.