Majestic moments are ready to be made without even leaving the Sunshine States. With over 32 million visitors annually, Florida is home to 175 state parks covering 800,000 acres, each embodying a dynamic experience.

Whether you’re seeking a day trip or an extended stay, there’s a perfect park for every family. State parks host a variety of adventures, from beaches and swamps, hiking and biking trails, to exquisite gardens and artifacts from Florida’s indigenous populations as well as remnants of the first settlers to the Floridan coasts. The state park website offers pre-sorted options that help you narrow your options as well as an interactive map showing where all parks are located.

Accessibility is a commitment for State Parks. The organization has made strides to be more inclusive for differently abled individuals by upgrading services to include beach wheelchairs, all-terrain mobility devices and accessible kayak launches. And with over 2,100 employees and volunteers, personnel are on hand to assist and educate visitors as needed.

Where to Begin

Local indulgences are a short ride away. Beach destinations like Amelia Island and Anastasia State Parks are perfect for relaxing in the sand and searching the sea and sky for surprise wildlife. Anastasia also offers beach-adjacent camping.

Blue Springs State Park near DeLand is home to many manatees in the winter months. Not only is viewing these sea cows a rare thrill, but the park also has crisp springs to enjoy.

Bulow Creek houses one of the largest live oak trees. Witness the Fairchild Oak in its 400-year-old glory as you hike the trails. Close by is Tomoka State Park, which offers camping and boating opportunities.

Test your limits on the Palatka to St. Augustine trail. This 19-mile path weaves through rural areas. The trail is accessible at various points offering diverse round-trip distances to meet any athlete’s needs.

Aerial view of Dry Tortugas in Key West Florida
Aerial view of Dry Tortugas in Key West Florida

Further Escapades

Close to Destin, Topsail Hill State Park displays the lush jade waters of the Gulf of Mexico, paired with rolling white sand dunes. If the cabins are rented, glamping is another popular way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the beaches, paddling and trails

As the 175th state park, Gilchrist Blue Springs provides unparalleled clarity to view a plethora of aquatic life, all visible in its pristine waters. Hiking and nature studies are also popular at this location.

Begin or end your 1,515-mile sea-kayaking at Big Lagoon. This saltwater trail circumnavigates Florida. Bird watchers can spot numerous species here during migration season. Big Lagoon boasts beaches, boat and kayak launches, camping and amphitheater options.

There’s no need to take a plane for this picturesque destination; splendor surrounds the drive. Follow US1 south until you meet Bahia Honda: 524 acres of uninhabited space with lagoons, trails and picnic areas, all with access to numerous aquatic activities.

The ever-popular Florida Everglades has captivated tourists and locals. These internationally protected lands are known for their dark, murky waters, which are home to the American crocodile and the endangered Florida panther. While this area is a must-see, its neighbor, Big Cypress Preserve, is ripe for expeditions. Trudge through the swamplands or kayak the waters, guided by a park ranger. Then, gaze into one of the darkest skies in the Eastern U.S. during a campout and witness the bright brilliance of the universe.

Tranquility and paradise are unmatched in the Dry Tortugas, a national park accessible only by seaplane or boat. Since 99% of this 100-square-mile park is water, the best to experience its breathtaking crystal waters surging with sea life is to dive in.

There is evidence that Native Americans were present 10,000 years ago in Biscayne National Park. The protected coral reef teems with vibrant fish, coral and other marine life. Cast a line, hunt for lobster or enjoy this sea space while boating.

Plan Ahead

Wherever you choose to sightsee, discuss specific details and requirements with your destination, and inquire about any assistance you may need. Many recreation areas have parking and access fees as well as costs for camping, boating, fishing and other activities. Advanced camping and cabin reservations are highly recommended. Mobility equipment may also need to be reserved.

Whether it’s a history lesson, a splashing adventure or a nature experience, Florida has a park excursion to entice the entire family. From Pensacola’s Big Lagoon to islands beyond the Keys—and countless destinations in between—there are magic and memories waiting in every corner of Florida’s abundant oases.