Recreation Land: Having Fun and Parking Money

Millions of acres in Florida are privately owned recreation lands where owners or lessees hunt, fish, ride four-wheelers – whatever they want to do for fun out in the woods.

Recreation land is usually partially pastureland; having pasture on the property lets the owners obtain an agricultural tax classification because cattle are raised on the property. The owner may either raise cattle on the land or lease it to others for ranching.

Recreation land is almost always sold in parcels of 250 acres or more – usually more than 500 acres. CBC Saunders Real Estate associate Richard Dempsey says that much land is needed to accommodate more than one hunter safely.

Recreation land is usually found in Florida’s more rural counties where such large tracts are readily available. Rural areas are available in most parts of Florida except the heavily urbanized southeast.

Who buys recreational land? “Most often it’s somebody parking money,” Dempsey says. Buyers expect to get at least some appreciation in the land value over time, he says. In the meantime, the owner can enjoy the land with family and friends.

Valuing Recreation Land

Dempsey cites the following factors that can increase the value of recreation land:

  • The possibility of alternative uses, like being able to create and sell 5-acre lots that have road frontage
  • Having lakes and streams on the property
  • Having a high percentage of dry uplands on the property
  • Proximity to a city (the closer to a city, the more valuable the land usually is)

Dempsey says some people buying recreation land prefer primarily open spaces. However, he adds that recent high cattle prices have made land with fencing for cattle more appealing to some buyers.