State and National Parks in Florida | New Discovery

  • By: Joseph Benson
  • Time to read: 8 min.

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State and national parks in Florida, when some people think of parks in Florida, they think of castles, roller coasters, and Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzels but national parks are just as popular as theme parks.

Florida is famous for its beaches, theme parks, and sunshine, but it also has some of the country’s most beautiful and expansive national parks. In Florida, there are three parks, each with its own distinct terrain and animals for tourists to discover.

State and National Parks in Florida

This article contains all the national and state parks located in Florida United States and how to get to each with all the social amenities found on each park, take your time to read through this article for information.

Protected areas stretch from the Florida panhandle to the tip of the Keys, showcasing tremendous ecological and biological diversity.

Mangroves create kayak mazes, rockets launch over lagoons, and alligators and crocodiles live side by side Florida is the only spot on Earth where the two reptiles cohabit.

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Whether you’re searching for a relaxing day at a beautiful beach or a peaceful trek through a pine forest, Florida’s state and national parks have it all.

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State and National Parks in Florida

State Park of Bahia Honda

Bahia Honda State Park is a pastoral stop on the road to Key West in the Florida Keys. Calusa Beach, whose turquoise-tinted waters lure swimmers, snorkelers, and kayakers alike.

Anchors the postcard-worthy park off Big Pine Key (snorkeling and kayaking equipment are available to rent).

The Bahia Honda Bridge, a historic building built in the early 1900s as part of Henry Flagler’s ill-fated Overseas Railroad to Key West that was never finished, provides a photo-worthy occasion.

A small path runs beside part of the bridge and leads to one of the highest places in the Keys, with panoramic views of the bay below.

Keep an eye out for a photo-worthy sunset and following stargazing that you won’t soon forget.

The Apalachicola National Forest is located in the state of Florida.

Apalachicola National Forest is a natural sanctuary only minutes from Tallahassee, the state capital.

The park, which spans 633,000 acres and is separated into two sections: Bradwell Bay Wilderness and Mud Swamp/New River Wilderness, is Florida’s biggest national forest.

Visitors may paddle, swim, walk, fish, and go off-roading or horseback riding between the two.

From longleaf pine sandhills and pine flatwoods to coastal plain hammocks, basin swamps, and floodplain forests.

The park is rich in biological and ecological variety. Wildlife such as woodpeckers, bobcats, gray foxes, and alligators abound in the region.

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Take in the scenery on a one-mile circle at Camel Lake Trail, or kayak to Owl Creek from Hickory Landing, a two-mile route along the Apalachicola River that brings paddlers up and personal with typical Florida river swamp terrain.

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State and National Parks in Florida

Biscayne National Park is a national park in Miami, Florida

This 172,971-acre park, located on the southern point of Florida between the Everglades and Miami, is 95 percent water, making it the National Park Service’s biggest “water park.”

However, there are no lazy rivers or splash pools here. Rather, it’s a landscape made up of four separate ecosystems: coastline mangrove swamp.

Biscayne Bay, coral-clad keys, and Florida reef, all of which are ideal for exploration. On the mainland, there isn’t much to do besides visit the visitor center museum.

Instead, book a guided trip to one of Biscayne’s many nautical destinations, such as paddle boarding through mangroves in Jones Lagoon.

Climbing to the top of the iconic lighthouse on Boca Chita Key, or snorkeling over coral-encrusted shipwrecks, where hundreds of fish species alone make this one of the country’s most biodiverse parks.

Everglades National Park is a national park in Florida

Everglades National Park, Florida’s most famous national park, is a 1.5-million-acre subtropical wilderness packed with jet-black rivers, mangrove-lined coastlines, and enough threatening animals to make Jurassic Park appear like a petting zoo.

This massive park, the third biggest in the contiguous United States, is hard to conquer in a single visit.

The Anhinga Trail, a 0.8-mile circle that begins at the Royal Palm Visitor Center and ensures an alligator sighting or two, is a good place to start for first-timers.

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Then continue down the Main Park Road to Flamingo Campground, where you may hire kayaks and paddle up the Flamingo Canal through deep woods and mangrove tunnels to Coot Bay on unnervingly quiet water.

Keep a look out for manatees and American crocodiles along the journey, since they favor the brackish waters along the beach.

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National Park of the Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, is an aquatic marvel made up entirely of water. A handful of small keys, including the major attraction, Garden Key, are the only land out here, appearing in the midst of the gulf.

Dock at Garden Key after a two- to four-hour boat voyage from Key West’s Yankee Freedom ferry port to visit Fort Jefferson, an armored citadel that resembles a brick Pentagon.

The fort was erected to protect the southern coast of the United States following the War of 1812, and it later functioned as a temporary jail until being designated as a national park.

The fort along with the neighboring keys and waters tells the story of maritime battle and marine animals. Which may be seen from the Garden Key beaches or the underwater snorkel routes that encircle the fort.

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State and National Parks in Florida

Big Cypress National Preserve is a national park in Florida

Big Cypress National Preserve is a tiny version of the Everglades that is much less frequented. The marshy waterways, alligators, endangered Florida panthers, and, of course, enormous cypress trees abound in this 720,000-acre park.

It was established as the first national preserve by the National Park Service in 1974, giving it access to additional recreational options (such as off-road vehicles and hunting) than other national parks.

Take a trip with Big Cypress Institute to completely immerse yourself in this immense wetland, which provides informative and entertaining activities such as canoe routes and off-road adventures on swamp buggies custom-built for Big Cypress.

National Seashore of Canaveral

Canaveral National Seashore is a unique site, maybe the only area in the world where rocket ships, alligators, and naked beaches coexist.

Canaveral National Park, on the east coast of central Florida, protects one of the state’s longest stretches of undeveloped coast, where mile after mile of pristine shore provides a peaceful sanctuary for sea turtles, sunbathers.

And the occasional nudist Apollo Beach, at the northern end of Beach Road, is the clothing-optional alternative to the bustling Playalinda Beach down the street.

If that’s not your thing, there’s also viewing rocket launches from the neighboring Kennedy Space Center from the park’s beaches.

Or kayaking Mosquito Lagoon, a large estuary that spans two-thirds of the park (just remember to bring bug spray).

Silver Springs State Park is located in the state of Colorado

Glass-bottomed boat rides through the state’s beautiful springs have long been a popular attraction for visitors. Glass-bottomed boat rides were first offered at Silver Springs State Park over a century ago.

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And they continue to be a popular attraction in this north-central Florida location, which is located between Orlando and Gainesville.

It’s little surprise, given the park’s stunning crystal-clear water and diverse fauna, which includes otters, rowdy rhesus macaques monkeys, manatees, and alligators.

Though you can’t swim here (due to the aforementioned alligators), Silver Spring is a kayaking and paddle boarding heaven, with 15 miles of shady hiking paths around the 4.5-mile Silver River.

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State and National Parks in Florida

National Seashore of the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a calm retreat for the metropolitan towns that border the Gulf Coast, reaching 52 miles across Florida’s panhandle and into Mississippi.

The park’s Florida sector, which spans 5,900 acres of land and 19,000 acres of ocean, has some of the state’s most renowned and picture-perfect beaches here. The silky-smooth sand like a sea of Splenda. It’s a great site for swimming, picnics, and watching dolphins.

History aficionados may also visit the Civil War-era Fort Barrancas, which overlooks Pensacola Bay, or the Naval Live Oaks Reservation, which has 7.5 miles of calm hiking paths and numerous resident birds.

In reality, the Gulf Islands are a birder’s dream, with almost 300 species ranging from pine warblers and pelicans to ospreys and piping plovers. The Point Washington State Forest is located in the state of Washington.

The panhandle’s Point Washington State Forest.

Which seems to be a world apart from Florida’s more well-known parks, is a refuge of towering trees and hiking paths. The longleaf pine, a tree so big that it appears like a cross between a redwood and a palm, is the headline attraction of this 15,000-acre park in Walton County.

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The Eastern Lake Trail System, which anchors the park’s recreational options, is surrounded by these pines for kilometers. Although the trail system is as flat as a pancake, there are various unpaved trails for bikers and walkers.

Grayton Beach State Park, which hugs the coast and provides coastal forest trails, swimming chances, and Dune Lake paddling, is a must-see.

National Monument of Fort Matanzas

Forts are as important to Florida’s national parks as gators and mangroves, from Fort Jefferson to Fort Barrancas. Fort Matanzas National Monument is the most famous of them.

It’s one of the state’s oldest forts, as well as one of the country’s earliest forts-as-national-monuments, having been declared in 1924.

Built by Spanish immigrants in 1742 to reinforce the Matanzas Inlet in St. Augustine, it is still a strong fortification that runs 50 feet on each side and is 30 feet tall.

The fort is now accessible via boat, with ranger programs shedding light on its illustrious past.

Other park activities include sunbathing on a beach or zigzagging through a shaded hammock forest on the boardwalk route off the visitor center parking lot.

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State and National Parks in Florida


State and national parks in Florida offer a wide variety of landscapes and activities. From hiking, to kayaking, to horseback riding, here’s a list of parks to visit next time you’re in Florida.

State and national parks are a fun way to explore Florida’s history, culture and wilderness. From ecotourism to missions, parks are all about outdoor recreation in Florida.

Florida’s state parks bring in millions of visitors each year. Many tourist attractions are located off the beaten path, but are still within the boundaries of all these parks.

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If you’re planning a visit to any of the various state or national parks in Florida soon, make sure to check out this post beforehand!

Whether you are a nature lover or just looking for easy going vacation, Florida has the right national park and state parks for anyone who is ready to explore the natural beauty and history of our amazing country.

Many types of regional parks, monuments, seashores, forest and wildlife areas are available throughout Florida. Take your pick from hiking trails, swimming with the manatees, horseback riding or boating on the Indian River Lagoon.

We’ve gone over twelve different Florida parks that are worth visiting, but keep in mind it’s a big state and there will be many more waiting to be discovered.

It’s hard not to love Florida as a travel destination, considering all the awesome things it has to offer. The next time you plan a trip to Florida make sure you make time for one of the twelve parks featured above, or better yet, all of them!

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