With a diverse landscape that ranges from dreamy beaches to bright blue springs, it’s no surprise that Florida is home to several memorable state parks. Here are 7 of these parks that you’ll want to consider adding to your next trip to the state!
1. Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park is a gorgeous destination in St. Augustine, Florida. This park truly offers a little something for everyone – regardless of whether your ideal outdoor outing is camping, hiking, or even shelling, you can look forward to enjoying it here! The park is home to 139 campsites located a short distance from the beach. All campsites have amenities such as electricity and water. This makes camping here a great option for those looking for a nature retreat without having to “rough” it too much. Reservations can be made for camping online. The park is also a popular place for shelling, with the park’s beaches being great spots to find a wide variety of shells including clam and oyster.
2. Amelia Island State Park
Head off the coast of Florida to experience Amelia Island State Park! This serene park is a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, go for a drive on the beach, or go fishing! Amelia Island State Park is also the only state park in Florida to offer horseback riding on the beach. You can contact the ranger station to discuss bringing your own horses, or book a trail (or, in this case, beach) ride with Kelly Seahorse Ranch. No riding experience is necessary – the basics will be covered at the beginning of the tour.
3. Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is a well-loved destination in Florida, and for good reason! The park is home to stunning clear blue waters, as well as several hiking trails, cabins, and campsites. It is a popular spot for swimming, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving, in the warmer months, and a great spot for viewing manatees in the cooler months. While swimming in the spring is currently closed, visitors are still welcome to enjoy a boating or kayaking trip. If you’re looking to stay overnight, the park has 51 campgrounds, as well as 6 cabins. Pets are allowed in the camping area, and reservations can be made online.
4. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
If you’re looking for a getaway that combines natural beauty with some fun attractions, look no further than Weeki Wachee Springs. This state park features the gorgeous Weeki Wachee River as well as unique attractions such as mermaid shows and Buccaneer Bay Water Park. As of October 12th, mermaid shows are currently offered daily, and the waterpark is open for swimming – the lazy river and water slides are currently closed until next spring. The park’s boat tour, the Wilderness Cruise, is set to reopen on November 1st. Additionally, masks are currently recommended on the shuttle bus in the park.
5. Gasparilla Island State Park
Gasparilla Island State Park is a great example of the gorgeous beaches and relaxing getaways Florida has to offer! This is a great option for those looking for a fun day or afternoon trip. The island is accessible by car via the Boca Grande Causeway. The park is a great spot for snorkeling, fishing, and shelling. While camping is not available in the park, there are several places to stay on Gasparilla Island for those looking for a longer stay.
6. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
This state park is unique from others on this list for its location – underwater! John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park was the United States’ first undersea state park. Home to all manner of stunning sea life as well as reefs, this park is an ideal spot for those looking to go snorkeling or scuba diving. Some of the other ways to enjoy the park include a glass-bottom boat tour – an excellent way to take in the stunning park without any training or equipment needed – as well as both camping on the shore and boat camping.
7. Falling Waters State Park
See Florida’s tallest waterfall with a visit to Falling Waters State Park. In addition to seeing the waterfall, this state park is an excellent spot for camping as well as bird watching. Bird watching is actually one of the park’s most popular activities year-round, with over 100 species of birds calling the park their home.
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