Even though Gold Head Branch is one of the oldest state parks (created by the CCC in the 1930s), it's in the tiny town of Keystone Heights and you don't just "happen to be out that way" very often. Or ever. But, that being said, the park is certainly worth a visit. There are deep ravines, bubbling springs and it is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. You can get all the details at the Florida State Parks website.
Here are a few of the highlights from our visit.
Or I promised that she could have extra Minecraft time when we got home. And ice cream. Whatever it was, it worked.
Once on the trail, leadership duties fell to an enthusiastic Ellison and she never once led us astray. This could be because the trails are exceptionally well-marked here (like every few feet), but my money is on her navigational skills, which already surpass mine. There aren't any particularly long trails at Gold Head Branch (the longest is only a few miles), but they wind through a variety of terrain starting with hardwood hammocks, then past ravines and up to sandhills. It's the quintessential northern Florida landscape.
And - most importantly - there are skinks, millipedes, and lizards. Ellison was delighted.
Just maybe not one in August.