Florida is flat, there is no doubt about it. And while we love our beaches, sometimes we get an itch for a mountain retreat.
But does Florida actually have any mountains to visit?
With vistas approaching 350 feet, Florida has some really beautiful scenic experiences.
Let’s dig into the geology and see if we can find any Florida mountains for you to visit.
Let’s define a mountain
Mountains are technically any land that is elevated above sea-level. Mountains are created through the movement and collision of tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust.
The classification of hills and mountains in the United States used to be based on a specific height requirement of 1,000 feet.
However, this distinction was abandoned in the mid-twentieth century. Now, there is no official difference between hills and mountains in the United States.
With that being said, we are going to use a common sense approach to this question because there are many blogs claiming that Florida has mountains.
And sure, if anything that rises above sea-level constitutes a mountain, then every state would have mountains and that just isn’t the case.
If I asked you to visualize a mountain, you will probably see the following in your head:
If we then asked you what a hill looks like, you’d probably be thinking something like this:
So for technicality, we are going to say that mountains must live in a mountain range.
We use this technical definition because when we envision American mountains, we picture majestic mountain ranges such as the Smokey Mountains of Appalachia, the Rocky Mountains of the North American Cordillera, and the iconic Mount Rainier of the magnificent Cascade Mountain Range.
LiveScience has classified the smallest mountain range in the world as the Sutter Buttes which are give or take 2000 feet.
On the other hand, no one thinks about 100 foothills as mountains in the middle of Florida.
Does Florida have mountains? (short answer)
Florida does not have any mountains.
While Florida does have hills that exceed 300 feet in height, it is important to note that these hills do not fit the conventional definition of mountains as we typically imagine them.
Florida’s highest natural point is Britton Hill, which is 345 feet above sea level. Even though it’s called a “hill,” it doesn’t meet the criteria for traditional mountains.
To further illustrate, consider the following examples of hills in other states:
Hoosier Hill in Indiana (1,257 feet) is the highest natural point in the state but is still considered a hill and not a traditional mountain.
Does this look like a mountain to you? I didn’t think so.
And then there is Charles Mound in Illinois (1,235 feet), which is the highest natural point in Illinois. While some might use the term “mountain,” we can all see that this is a hill.
When we lived in Illinois, no one said “I’m heading to the mountains” and arrived at Charles Mound.
Other states also have notable peaks, like Woodall Mountain in Mississippi, which reaches 806 feet, Driskill Mountain in Louisiana, standing at 535 feet, Ebright Azimuth in Delaware, reaching 450 feet, and Point Reno in the District of Columbia, peaking at 415 feet.
All of these points are considered hills and not traditional mountains.
Having a 300-foot hill in Florida doesn’t automatically mean it is a mountain. Hills and mountains are different geological features with specific characteristics and classifications.
With that being said, we’ve chosen to live in the western Orlando area where hills can reach over 300 feet and are surrounded by lakes and trees.
What is the highest point in Florida?
The highest point in Florida is Britton Hill, which reaches an elevation of 345 feet above sea level.
Although it is the tallest point in the state, it is not a real mountain but rather a hill because it has a lower elevation compared to regular mountains in other areas.
If you drive north across the border into Georgia and head towards the South Appalachians, you’ll see the difference immediately.
When you drive to Britton Hill, it’ll look like a gentle rolling hill. In fact, it’s kind of easy to miss.
Britton Hill is located in the northern part of Florida, specifically in Walton County. It is situated in the Florida Panhandle region, not far from the border with Alabama.
The hill is part of Lakewood Park, which offers a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy the highest point in the state and take in the surrounding views of the Florida countryside.
Britton Hill appears like a rounded hill with a gradual incline as your drive through Lakewood Park.
It lacks the steep and rugged characteristics typically associated with towering mountains in the Appalachian and Cascade Mountain ranges.
Although Britton Hill is a pleasant and picturesque spot, it does not have the dramatic landscapes typically found in mountainous regions.
What is the closest mountain to Florida?
Mount Cheaha in Alabama is the nearest mountain to Florida.
It’s like the ‘almost-mountain’ neighbor, standing tall and proud at an elevation of about 2,407 feet about 70-75 miles north of the Florida state line.
|Distance to Mount Cheaha (miles)
|Driving Time (approx.)
|4 hours 15 minutes
|5 hours 45 minutes
|6 hours 15 minutes
|6 hours 30 minutes
|8 hours 30 minutes
|10 hours 15 minutes
|11 hours 30 minutes
Mount Cheaha is in the Talladega Mountains, a southern extension of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
While it may not be right in Florida’s backyard, it’s the closest you’ll get to a mountain wonderland. Perfect for all us Florida residents looking for some elevated excitement!
Is there any skiing or snowboarding near Florida?
You bet. Cataloochee Ski Area, located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina is approximately 310-320 miles away from the northernmost part of Florida’s border.
If you are wanting to leave the tropics for a downhill adventure, Cataloochee is an awesome ski destination for people living in or visiting Florida.
|Driving Distance to Cataloochee Ski Area (in miles)
|Driving Time (approx.)
Cataloochie is beautiful in the summer as well. Look at those sweeping hills!
Now, don’t go thinking this is Aspen or Tahoe—it’s not. But, it’s a good time with nice runs.
While Florida may have hills that exceed 300 feet in height, they do not fit the traditional definition of mountains.
Florida’s highest natural point, Britton Hill, is classified as a “hill” and not a mountain.
Other states also have notable hills that are not considered traditional mountains as well, such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, and Illinois—flat states.
It is important to understand the geological distinctions between hills and mountains to appreciate the diverse landscapes found across the United States.
Regardless of the technicalities, Florida’s hills still offer beautiful scenery and unique experiences for residents and visitors alike.