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Top 10 Amazing National Parks in Florida—You Must Explore

Do you know there are amazing national parks in Florida? This state of the US has made a mark of its own not only in the country but also in the whole world. Although there are other things that Florida is known for such as beaches and resorts, amusement parks, natural sceneries, and subtropical climate, the place has left its marks regarding wildlife preservation.

Florida is a US state in the southeast that is surrounded by the Gulf Coast of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic on the other.

Some centers of attraction that make Florida known are Universal Studios, Disney World in Orlando, Kennedy space center, Theme Parks, national parks, beach destinations, Busch gardens, nightlife, marine life, and the famous Castillo de San Marcos National monument which is popularly known as “oldest masonry fort” according to the National Park Service in North America.

Do you know how many national parks are there in Florida? All the national parks in Florida can be considered hidden treasures out of which three are full-fledged that have different geographical features and Biodiversity, especially to protect the fragile ecosystem.

And if you are waiting for an adventurous trip and if you want to experience the true colors of nature, this is the right place where you can find many things to explore such as hiking trails, explore boat tours, gulf islands, bird watching, biking, climbing, and the amenities like visitor center, lodges are also there maintaining social relationships.

And what is the fun fact behind all national parks? Along with being a mesmerizing beauty, every place has a unique history behind it. Here is the full guide with a glimpse of its history and with a brief discussion. So, let’s know in detail about these Amazing national parks in Florida.

1. Everglades National Park

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Everglades National park in United State also known as the largest subtropical wilderness is found in South Florida and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. This amazing piece of nature encompasses 1.5 million acres of area.

It is estimated that more than 1 million people visit every year Everglades national park. This national park is blessed with amazing flora and fauna and is home to rare species that are endangered and unique. The city of Miami and Fort Lauderdale are some of the human communities to which Everglades city is surrounded.

1.1. History and Current State

This historic preserve used to be larger than it is, but this “river of grass” decayed due to urban development and the requirement of land for agricultural purposes. The Gulf Coast, pinelands, Swamp buggies, freshwater slough, and tropical hammocks that rise from the grassy river are found here.

There are many national parks in Florida but the estuarine environment of Everglades national park is just amazing. You will surely fall in love even though you are not fond of animals or wildlife viewing.

1.2. Activities and Attractions

The beautiful national parks in Florida are worth visiting. You can also enjoy water activities, guided tours, or walking trails. But the best time to visit Everglades national park is from December to April.

1.3. Accommodation

A lot of accommodation can be found in nearby cities in comparison to this location. You can also opt for camping or renting if you want to stay inside the forest.

2. Apalachicola National Forest

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The largest national parks in Florida are divided into two main parts; Bradwell way wilderness and new river wilderness or Mud Swamp.

This national park was established in 1936 and became one of the largest national parks in Florida which is spread over 574000 acres. It gives wide-ranger programs and opportunities to explore and experience the beauty of the pine forest.

2.1. Activities and Attractions

Swimming, hiking trails, scenic driving, water activities, camping, and visiting the Gadsden historic preserve are some of the major attractions and family-friendly activities of these national parks in Florida.

2.2. Flora and Fauna

The main inhabitant red foxes, raccoons, black bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers, alligators, and wild turkeys are found and making this national park system more sublime and spectacular.

3. Gulf Island National Seashore

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This is one of the most beautiful national parks in Florida stretches 160 miles eastward to the Okaloosa area that includes historic forts, trails from Cat Island, and intercede historic preserve from the Gulf of Mexico, the barrier island of Florida to the Mississippi.

3.1. Attractions and Awards

One thing that makes it unique from the other national parks is the sparkling-unmatched beauty and uncrowded seashores of white sand with bird-watching views. The entrance fee for America’s largest national seashore per vehicle is $25 which is quite expensive and a little hard to figure out.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is also an acclaimed national park that was awarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the US. And another achievement is to be announced again as the best Florida attraction in the 10th best readers’ choice award which was chosen by the readers of the USA itself.

3.2. Activities

If you want to relax on the seashore or want to have a taste of adventure such as hiking, or bird watching, there are plenty of things to do but swimming is the main attraction of these national parks in Florida.

4. Biscayne National Park

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It wouldn’t be surprising if you call this national park a unique piece of nature. You can immerse yourself in the sunny seas to explore over 600 species of fish and the world’s largest coral reef.

The best coastline underwater treasure is preserved in Biscayne national park. It has a subtropical climate because of that this place is submerged in sunlight for 300 days with muggy humidity.

4.1. Attractions

The water is so crystal clear that you can see amazing things like bottlenose dolphins, Iguanas, jellyfish, and many more on boat tours. Up to 95% park is surrounded by water and the only accessible location by car is The Dante Fascall Visitor Center.

Over 20 threatened species are protected here to create a prominent ecosystem. This is one of the best national parks in Florida.

4.1. Activities

This is one of the best national parks in Florida for water sports. From the visitor center, you can find a variety of programs and there is also an availability of boat tours.

5. Canaveral National Seashore

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By: humblebleufrog photo/Shutterstock

If you also love national parks and outdoor activities, this place is made for you! Here you can find a nature trail near the visitor centers and horseback riding, kayaking, surfing, boating, fishing, canoeing, whatever you want, you’ll find here.

This is exactly the place where you can do these activities and explore the park as well. Yeah! something very difficult to find in the Florida national parks.

5.1. Unique Features

The lesser-known fact about the Canaveral national seashore is that it is a natural park so here you would rarely find hotels or vendors, you have to be prepared to eat on the beach as few public tables are available.

Nudity is legally allowed here so you can find nude beaches on both ends. An agreement was made between the national park service and nudists and the beaches are safe with the availability of patrolling police. These national parks in Florida are unique in themselves.

5.2. Bring Your Own Supplies

The thing that you need to know is that you have to take your food and drink with you because there are no such facilities.

6. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Exploring Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in Beautiful St. Augustine, Florida

This historic preserve tells a different tale as the country’s oldest city sits in the continental united states.

Having its vast background, this historic fort became a tourist destination since the national park service took over charge. It can be said that this national park is the oldest surviving structure in the US.

6.1. Tourist Destination and National Park

Castillo de San Marcos is a really impressive and attractive place by its architecture. It is a testament to the 300 years of the Spanish occupation. The fort was under the control of different forces and became the reason for conflict.

6.2. Rooms and Wildlife Preservation

While walking along you can find many rooms telling different stories of their period. There are a different variety of birds and marine life in the name of wildlife preservation.

7. Dry Tortugas National Park

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Especially known as the home of Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas national park is only accessible by seaplanes or boats. There are 7 small islands and open water in this 100-square-mile national park.

7.1. Location and Accessibility

The Garden key is the main island as it is the home to Fort Jefferson. This is one of the largest 19th-century historic forts in the US. This national park site is something to be remembered. The entrance fee for Fort Jefferson is $15.00 per person.

And if we talk about wildlife viewing, here you can find a natural diversity both above and underwater. And if you are fond of bird watching, and want to explore fort Jefferson, spring is the season when you can witness the bird’s migration.

7.2. Rules and Regulations for Fishing

Some rules and regulations are there if you talk about fishing as it is protected wildlife. Although some areas are allowed to do fishing, this is also under the surveillance of federal rules. This place is worth the visit and so much fascinating to present living history demonstrations whether it is marine landscape or its history.

8. Fort Caroline National Memorial

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As the name suggests, Fort Caroline no longer exists there but it is best known for the trails. Fort Caroline and Timucuan Ecological historic reserve are managed together.

8.1. Nature, Hiking Trails, and Activities

You can discover nature trails, hiking trails, history, and stories of religious dispute and survival. The things to do here are wildlife viewing, biking, camping, paddling, hiking, and jogging. There is no entrance fee which is located in Jacksonville. These amazing national parks in Florida are just astonishing for all visitors.

8.2. History of Fort Caroline and Theodore Roosevelt Area

After the devastation of the original fort, it was rebuilt again and again. The present location of the fort is among the Hammock forest. The 600-acre wilderness is also known as the Theodore Roosevelt Area. The historical facts about the National Parks in Florida are really interesting.

8.3. Wilderness and Ancient Culture

This area of dense forest, open grasslands, and coastal swamps are surrounded by hiking trails, and piles of ancient oyster shells allude to an early culture that has been around for a long time now. The amazing fact is that you can watch Dolphins in St. John’s river.

9. Fort Matanzas National Monument

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Fort Matanzas is an amazing historic fort that is located 15 miles south of St. Augustine. You can get access by ferry for an escorted tour of the historic fort, and you also don’t need to give any entrance fee for the ferry ride to the monument.

9.1. Nature and Wildlife Viewing

This is a great destination if you are planning a day out. And also a great place for nature lovers who are fond of wildlife viewing, and bird watching if you are planning a vacation.

The visitor center with park ranger programs and an 8-minute orientation movie provides an insight into the fort Matanzas national monument.

9.2. Historical Significance and Purpose of Fort Matanzas

If we talk about its history, Fort Matanzas’ national monument was built as a watchtower to keep an eye on the enemy ship that was supposed to attack St. Augustine. For centuries it was being handled by different powers such as the Spanish, French, and British.

9.3. Historic Preservation

By that time, it started decaying and became the first place to get funding to be restored and repaired with the purpose of historic preservation. These are really interesting facts about these national parks in Florida.

10. Big Cypress National Preserve

Everything You Need for a Wet Walk - Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the most fascinating and full of wilderness national parks in Florida. It is a great stop if you are planning to take a drive between the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic coastal dunes.

Although the large Cypress tree is supposed to be there for the namesake of the Big Cypress national preserve, most of the strands are small, but the place is worth visiting. Among all the national parks in Florida, wildlife abounds in this Florida’s national parks.

10.1. Wildlife

The most amazing thing that can make you feel attractive is a large number of alligators and birds, an elusive Florida panther, and a black bear.

10.2. History and Connection with Everglades National Park

The history of the national parks in Florida is also interesting. Initially, it used to be a part of the Everglades national park but due to stress and the beginning of World War 2. The woods became a national park in 1974.

10.3. Things to Do

There are plenty of things to do as you can spend a good time on the Tamiami Trail. Two visitor centers are there which are worth exploring. The first one is the Big Cypress Swamp welcome center and the other one is the Oasis visitor center.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When Is the Ideal Season to Explore Florida’s National Parks?

The greatest time to explore national parks in Florida is during the dry season, which spans from December through April. The weather is cooler at this time, and there are fewer mosquitoes around.

2. What Activities Are Available in Everglades National Park?

Visitors can camp, walk, cycle, kayak, and explore the distinctive ecosystem of the biggest subtropical wilderness in the United States at Everglades National Park. The park also provides ranger programs, educational exhibits, and guided tours.

3. Can You Swim at Biscayne National Park?

Absolutely, tourists can swim and snorkel in Biscayne National Park’s crystal-clear seas. The park is renowned for its varied marine life and coral reefs.

4. How Is Dry Tortugas National Park Accessible?

Dry Tortugas National Park may only be reached by boat or seaplane. The park may only be reached by private boat, ferry, or seaplane and is situated 70 miles west of Key West.

Wrapping Up

Florida is one of those states in the United State of America where you can find the highest diversity due to its geographic location and climate condition. A sunshine state that is the home of different species of animals from small to large, beautiful beaches, and national parks, makes it worth spending your time here.

Are you also a nature lover? Do you want to explore other national parks too? Here is a Guide for you Voyageurs National Park Camping. Let’s dig into it to learn more about Camping in national parks.

Also read: Best Things to Do in Queens.

Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Steffy Michael