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15 Beautiful State Parks in Florida To Visit

With over 160 State Parks in Florida, you will find idyllic beaches, incredible wildlife, and a plethora of activities for all types of nature lovers. Whether you want to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, explore nature trails, or simply sunbathe on some of the most pristine beaches the Sunshine State has to offer, you will be spoiled for choice. Ditch the fancy resorts and theme parks and head to one of Florida’s best-kept secrets.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
Credit: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo by mattk1979 via Flickr

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

Looking for the best snorkeling in Florida? The natural gorgeousness of State Parks in Florida doesn’t get any better than what you’ll find at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. In fact, it is here that you can visit the first undersea park and only living coral reef in the US, with the ability to explore the plethora of colorful and diverse underwater marine life.

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key Bahia Honda State Park
Credit: Bahia Honda State Park by © SimonDannhauer | Dreamstime.com

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key

Home to one of the prettiest beaches in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is what state parks strive to be, as it is consistently referred to as the ultimate Florida getaway. With world-class beaches, legendary snorkeling, diverse wildlife, and a trail that leads to a view of the entire island, you can see why.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Credit: John D. MacArthur Beach State Park by floridastateparks.org

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach

Surrounded by mangrove swamps and canopy-covered trails, you will find this beloved gem is a 2 mile stretch of unspoiled beach nestled on a barrier island next to the Atlantic Ocean. Snorkeling is hugely popular in this area, in addition to kayaking, swimming, and fishing.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Credit: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park by © Felix Mizioznikov - Dreamstime.com

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne

Bill Baggs is home to Florida’s historical 109-step lighthouse and the oldest standing structure in Miami. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, this park not only holds historical value but has some of the best beaches on the Atlantic.

De Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs De Leon Springs State Park
Credit: De Leon Springs State Park by floridastateparks.org

De Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs

Home to one of the best springs in Central Florida, De Leon Springs State Park is a fantastic spot for swimming, canoeing and hiking. You can also enjoy exploring the oldest attraction in Florida, the Fountain of Youth, or visit its unique make-them-yourself pancake house at an Old Sugar Mill Pancake House.

Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach

If you’re looking for the most unblemished beaches in Florida, head to Grayton Beach State Park. This beach covers over 2,000 acres of impressive beach, including a rare coastal dune lake that is ideal for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, and fishing.

Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin Caladesi Island
Credit: Caladesi Island by rcgtrrz via Flickr

Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin

With white powdery sand, emerald waters, and an area devoid of tourists, you won’t regret visiting Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin. Regularly situated in the top beaches in the U.S., you can explore one of the only natural islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach Sebastian Inlet
Credit: Sebastian Inlet by floridastateparks.org

Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach

Earning its stripes as a bonafide surf mecca, Sebastian Inlet is also fantastic for saltwater fishing. Catch fresh snook, redfish, and bluefish from the jetties, try your hand at riding the waves, or pick up a sun-kissed tan sunbathing on the three miles of superb beach.

Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Micanopy Paynes Prairie
Credit: Paynes Prairie by floridastateparks.org

Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Micanopy

Boasting the title as Florida’s first state park and a National Natural Landmark, Paynes Prairie State Preserve offers a massive 20,000 acres of diverse wildlife perfect for horseback riding, hiking, and camping. History lovers will also love this preserve due to its historical value as many claims it dates back to 10,000 B.C. with the inclusion of an Indian occupation many centuries ago.

Myakka River State Park, Sarasota Myakka River State Park
Credit: Myakka River State Park by floridastateparks.org

Myakka River State Park, Sarasota

Get a true Florida experience at Myakka River State Park, where you can take an airboat ride or stroll on the canopy walkway through the 58 square miles of wilderness preserve where you can regularly spot deer, bobcat, red-shouldered hawks, and cottontail rabbits.

Big Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville Jacksonville, Florida
Credit: Jacksonville, Florida by bigstock.com

Big Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville

A top state park in Florida, Big Talbot Island State Park is one of Florida’s best hidden gems. You will find oddly twisted bleached skeletons of dead cedar and live oak trees rising out of the sand at this unique park. This beautiful site of natural art is caused by the erosion of dunes, creating a hotbed of activity for bird watchers and photography enthusiasts.

Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin Honeymoon Island State Park
Credit: Honeymoon Island State Park by tinycherub via Flickr

Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin

Ultimate peace and quiet are what you will find at Honeymoon Island State Park. Nature lovers will revel in the plethora of activities that include nature trails, bird observation areas, and the opportunity to explore a variety of seashells deposited onshore. Sit back and relax or swim in the warm waters of the Gulf while soaking in the gorgeous scenery.

Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna Florida Caverns, Marianna
Credit: Florida Caverns, Marianna by Scott Shawcroft via Flickr

Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna

Just west of Tallahassee, you will find damp caves loaded with limestone stalagmites and stalactites rising and dripping from its ceilings, a process that took millions of years to form. Come tour through the only dry (air-filled) caves open to the public and stay for the fishing, boating, and canoeing at the nearby Blue Hole spring.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee Weeki Wachee Springs
Credit: Weeki Wachee Springs by Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee

A perfect example of old Florida, Weeki Wachee is world-renowned for its underwater mermaid shows. If that doesn’t excite you, they also have a water flume ride that will get your heart pumping by catapulting you into the refreshing 72-degree crystal clear springs.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Credit: Ichetucknee Springs State Park by floridastateparks.org

Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White

You will find water activities abound in Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Here you can enjoy some of Florida’s top-notch swimming and or take a tube down the crystal clear Ichetucknee River, all under the luxury of lush live oak and cypress trees.

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