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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.
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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.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
The 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.
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.
Big Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville
A truly unique State Park in Florida, you will find oddly twisted bleached skeletons of dead cedar and live oak trees rising out of the sand on Big Talbot Island State 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.
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 is not only fantastic for swimming, canoeing, hiking, and exploring the oldest attraction in Florida, the Fountain of Youth, but it is also popular for its unique make-them-yourself pancake house at an Old Spanish Sugar Mill.
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.
Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin
Ultimate peace and quiet is 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 on shore. Sit back and relax or swim in the warm waters of the Gulf while soaking in the gorgeous scenery.
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 US, you can explore one of the only natural islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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
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 claim it dates back to 10,000 B.C with the inclusion of an Indian occupation many centuries ago.
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.
Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
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.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee
A perfect example of old Florida, Weeki Wachee is world renown for their 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
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.