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Florida is famous for its warm weather, sunny beaches, and theme parks. But did you know that the sunshine state is home to many stunning national parks? National Parks in Florida are worth visiting, each offering a unique experience.

 

Florida is home to a wealth of hidden gems that showcase captivating ecological and biological diversity. These destinations offer much more than just the opportunity to explore nature. In the beautiful Everglades National Park, for example, visitors can immerse themselves in the park’s stunning landscapes, which are a haven for birdwatchers and photographers. A trip to Biscayne National Park offers an exhilarating experience, with fun boating tours that allow you to explore the underwater world while enjoying the wildlife. And if you’re looking for something truly special, head to Dry Tortugas to discover gorgeous waters, a variety of bird species, and more. Whatever your interests, these hidden gems in Florida are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

 

So, where to go? Well, that’s up to you!

 

Let’s talk about everything you want to know about national parks in Florida!

 

Everglades National Park

 

A Beautiful View of Everglades National Park

Cypress trees in the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

 

Best Time to Visit: December through April

Entrance Fee: Free

Address: Southern Florida

 

 

The most iconic Florida national park, Everglades, entices nature enthusiasts worldwide! Located in southern Florida, it is one of Florida’s most famous national parks. The park is quite massive, covering 2.5 million acres. Incorporating flatwoods, mangroves, and marshes, Everglades is home to many endangered species. It includes West Indian Manatee, American Alligator, and Florida Panthers. Beyond the marshes, hiking is fantastic and lets you witness incredible wildlife.

 

The ideal time to visit Everglades is in the winter (December through March). You don’t have to deal with heat, humidity, and mosquitoes during that time. It’s not surprising to see alligators and crocodiles throughout the park. Thousands of wading bird species make the Everglades their winter home. Manatees hang out in the Flamingo Marina, whereas dolphins swim along boat tours.

 

To maximize your visit, consider exploring the park through an airboat. Besides, you can also take a kayak or canoe tour or embark on an exciting hiking tour. Moreover, a day tour from Miami is also possible if you need more time. Everglade’s nature tour is an excellent way to reconnect with nature. For wildlife lovers, you can join biologist-led tours to enjoy hiking, airboat rides, and cruises.

 

Activities to Do

 

Explore the Anhinga Trial

 

This 0.8-mile paved boardwalk leads you through beautiful wetlands. You will have the chance to spot fascinating wildlife, including Anhinga and alligators.

 

Visit the Shark Valley Visitor Center

 

The Shark Valley Visitor Center is home to many activities. You can enjoy the Shark Valley Tram Ride that will take you along a 15-mile paved trail. From the top, you will get a breathtaking view of the Everglades. If a tram ride is not your thing, consider taking a bike ride along the same paved path. 

 

Check Out the Pa-Hay-Okee Lookout Tower

 

Located 13 miles from the Anhinga Trail, the Pa-Hay-Okee Tower lets you enjoy an aerial view of the Everglades. You will love the breathtaking views of the Shark River Slough.

 

Big Cypress National Preserve

Alligators in Big Cypress National Preserve

Alligators in Big Cypress National Preserve

Best Time to Visit: December through March

Entrance Fee: Free

Address: Southwestern Florida

 

 

One of the most spectacular national parks in Florida! Big Cypress National Preserve in Sothern, Florida, is home to incredible wildlife. It incorporates wet prairie, mangrove forests, and hardwood hammocks. The park is accessible year-round. Visitors can camp, hike, bird watching, and take scenic drives.

 

Within the park are two scenic drives; a 27-mile loop and a 17-mile loop. The 27-mile loop allows you to wander through a dwarf bald cypress tree. The 17-mile loop features Turner River. It takes you along beautiful waterways and through grasslands.

 

December through May is the perfect time to visit and explore the park at its peak. Moreover, a vital advantage of this National Park in Florida is that it has no fee. If you want an Everglades swamp experience for free, Big Cypress is a good alternative.

 

Activities to Do

 

Observe Native Wildlife

 

Spanning over 729,000 acres, the fascinating swampland of Big Cypress is diverse. The preserve brims with fascinating wildlife and exotic flora and fauna. You will have a chance to see wildlife up close. It includes snapping turtles, southern leopard frogs, alligators, and Florida panthers.

 

Explore Wetlands while Kayaking

 

Big Cypress National Park in Florida offers excellent kayaking, canoeing, and paddling. You can explore one of its many beautiful waterways, including creeks, rivers, and the bay. Varying paddling routes let you embark on a short excursion or ride a more challenging route for hours.

 
Camp under the Starry Sky

 

As one of the most popular Florida National Parks, Big Cypress boasts eight campgrounds. Overnight camping at Big Cypress is one of the most popular activities. You can explore extended campgrounds like Bear Island. Or enjoy an intimate camping experience on private grounds like Burns Lake. You will love its night skies, swamp inhabitants’ stereophonic sounds, and lovely sunsets.

 

Dry Tortugas National Park

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys

Best Time to Visit: November through April

Entrance Fee: $15/ person

Address: Florida Keys

 

 

One of the least-visited Florida National Parks due to needing help getting there. Yet, Dry Tortugas is worth the visit! Located 67 miles west of Key West, this remote oasis features tropical marine life, coral reefs, and turquoise waters. This aquatic wonderland comprises 99 percent of water. It includes seven small islands offering top-notch snorkeling and diving.

 

The seven islands that rise a few feet above sea level are the only dry land. This tranquil national park in Florida is accessible by ferry or seaplane. You’ll want to make reservations early so you can explore this park. Despite its challenging location, many good reasons exist to explore this park. If you are into history, explore the historic Civil War-era Fort Jefferson. For snorkelers, pristine waters offer a fun experience. Wildlife lovers can see exotic bird species.

 

Activities to Do

 

Camp at Garden Key

 

While a day trip to Dry Tortugas has its beauty and seclusion, nothing can beat camping at Dry Tortugas. This Florida national park is famous for having the best place to camp. Aside from being home to Fort Jefferson, Garden Key also has a primitive campground. You can camp here to enjoy snorkeling, star gazing, and beautiful sunsets.

 

Enjoy Snorkeling and Diving

 

With 99% of water, the best way to explore this national park in Florida is by getting in the water. The remote area is located on the southwest tip of the Florida Keys and lets you see abundant wildlife. It also offers some of the best snorkeling and skin diving. The waters are shallow, which means anyone can join the fun.

 

Take a Tour of Fort Jefferson

 

You must take advantage of a tour of the historic Fort Jefferson when visiting Dry Tortugas. Joining a 45-60 minutes naturalists-led tour allows you to reveal the fort’s history. As you explore Fort Jefferson, imagine life here during the 1860s.

 

Enjoy Wildlife Viewing

 

Dry Tortugas is also home to abundant marine life and wading birds. About 300 bird species call Dry Tortugas their home. The national park offers both breeding and nesting sites for these bird species. It’s common to see sea turtles from the ferry or seaplane. Besides, a snorkeling excursion will let you get up close to tropical and marine life.  

 

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

 

Best Time to Visit: November through May

Entrance Fee: Free

Address: South Florida

 

 

The sunny seas of Biscayne National Park in Florida let you immerse in nature. Located southeast of Miami to the Florida Keys, the park stretches over 270 square miles. The marine sanctuary of Biscayne National Park hosts many threatened and endangered species. It includes sea turtles, manatees, and crocodiles. Moreover, bordered by mangrove forests, the park is home to over 600 fish species. You can take a short boardwalk to look over the side of South Florida. Or join a ranger-led tour to hike on Elliott Key. Besides, you can also take a guided boat tour of Boca Chita Kay to witness the incredible Miami skyline.

 

Activities to Do

 

Scuba Dive to See Spooky Shipwrecks

 

Since 90% of Biscayne National Park is underwater, there are plenty of places to dive or snorkel. You can find reefs, mangroves, and shipwrecks throughout the park. Mooring buoys in popular snorkeling and diving spots let you secure your boat. The Maritime Heritage Trail offers some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities.

 

Enjoy Paddleboarding with Baby Sharks

 

A paddleboarding trip through Biscayne National Park in Florida is an exciting excursion. You will love gliding through the calm channels of the mangrove islands. As you paddle the black water, you might catch glimpses of baby sharks roaming alongside you.

Visit Historic Lighthouses and Islands

 

A 65-foot majestic lighthouse in Boca Chita entices visitors with breathtaking panoramic views. You can even take a short boat ride to Stiltsville to see the remains of a community that once lived here. Other historical sites that you will love to explore include Cape Florida Lighthouse and Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.

 

Take a Hiking Tour

 

Aside from water activities, the park also features a few dry places for hiking. Within the park are two trails that take you through the tropical landscape on Elliott Key. While one stretches about 7 miles, the other offers a short 1-mile hike. Moreover, Biscayne Birding Trail is a must-visit, taking you through 10 different spots. It includes Black Point Shoreline, Convoy Point, Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, etc.

 

Video Credit: @wikipeaks3193

Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

 

Best Time to Visit: November through April

Entrance Fee: Free

Address: Jacksonville, Florida

 

 

Home to beautiful coastal dunes, Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is worth visiting. It offers plenty of hiking, kayaking, and wildlife-watching opportunities in Jacksonville, Northeastern Florida. At the heart of the park is Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center. It is an excellent place to learn how to interact with the natural world.

 

The visitor center hosts exhibits, allowing you to discover historic Timucuan Indians’ history. Moreover, The Theodore Roosevelt Area is another exceptional place. It offers miles of scenic hiking trails that meander through hardwood hammocks, flat pine woods, and marshes. What’s more, you can also visit the Kingsley Plantation, which is the oldest plantation house in the state. It tells the story of the plantation era on Fort George Island from folks who owned enslaved people.

 

Activities to Do

 

Hike the Hammock Trail

 

Looking for an excellent family hike in Timucuan National Preserve? Head to Hammock Trail! This 1.4 miles loop takes you through majestic pine trees, oaks, palmetto, and Spanish moss. Besides, you will love catching the breathtaking view of the river. It is a popular hiking trail with some elevation. You can find parking places and enjoy bird-watching.

 

Walk with Fireflies

 

Timucuan Preserve lets you enjoy a stunning walk with fireflies. Each spring, fireflies of lighting bugs make it their temporary home. For a few weeks (mostly in April), Timucuan forests put on a delightful show. Join a ranger tour or drive the loop road on Fort George Island for a night hike through Theodore Roosevelt Area. Besides you can also take a sunset kayak tour to witness this stunning activity.

 

Birding in Timucuan Park

 

Like any other Florida national park, Timucuan Preserve also offers excellent bird watching. Theodore Roosevelt Area is popular for watching native and shorebirds in the marshes. If you’re lucky, you might see rare bird species. From painted bunting migration to nesting bald eagles, many bird species thrive in the park’s rich ecosystem.

 

Kayak with Dolphins 

 

Timucuan waters in Jacksonville, Florida, provide a habitat for bottlenose dolphins. If you want to swim with dolphins, plan your excursion for the summer. During warmer months, St. John’s water sees many dolphins. You can launch your kayak from Cedar Point to see these majestic creatures.

 

Explore the Museum

 

Visiting the park’s museum is nothing short of spectacular for history buffs. Timucuan Preserve Museum features thousands of artifacts of 6,000-year-old human history. These pieces are on display, from shreds to cannons and everything in between.  

 

Canaveral National Seashore

 

Best Time to Visit: December through March

Entrance Fee: $20 for Vehicles

Address: Eastern Florida

 

 

The only destination where alligators, rocket ships, and nude beach coexists! Canaveral National Seashore offers an epic outdoor experience on Florida’s east coast. This undeveloped >beach is the longest in the state. It features a 24-mile coastal sanctuary for wildlife and visitors. It adjoins the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and Kennedy Space Center.

 

You will love its remote location and secluded ambiance. You can access the park either from the south or the north. Aside from excellent swimming and beachcombing, it has hiking trails and historical landmarks. The miraculous ecosystem is home to wildlife that thrives in its dunes and marshes. Besides, the seashore is also home to ancient Native American burials.

Activities to Do

 

Witness Rocket Launches

 

Cape Canaveral is an excellent place to see rocket blasts off into space. That’s one of the reasons why Canaveral Seashore is famous among outdoor enthusiasts. You can head to Playalinda Beach for the closest rocket launch views.

 

Hike Castle Windy Trail

 

Situated on Apollo Beach, Castle Windy Trail offers a walk during winter. A coastal hammock forest surrounds this one-mile loop trail. As you stroll, you will see a rich diversity of plant species. Be ready to witness the beauty of the ancient Timucuan Castle Windy Midden at the trail’s end.

 

Enjoy Kayaking in Mosquito Lagoon

 

Want to paddle in a serene place? Head to Mosquito Lagoon, which offers miles of recreational activities. Kayaking here is the most popular activity. Boat ramps on either side and outside the seashore let you pick your launching spot. Glide a few miles from the shore and experience complete solitude.

 

Fort Matanzas National Monument

 

Best Time to Visit: March through May

Entry Fee: Free

Address: St. Augustine, Northeastern Florida

 

 

This historic fort is a must-visit place if you are in St. Augustine! Thanks to its convenient location, Fort Matanzas National Monument is an excellent place for families. You will love to explore this historic watchtower.

 

This picturesque site protects the fort’s remains, which was vital in protecting the area from English troops. Its distinctive structure and architecture are surrounded by natural beauty. The defense lets you glimpse the past and uncover the area’s history. Next to the fort are marshlands and scenic trails that allow you to enjoy nature.

 

You can access the fort by ferry and join ranger tours to explore this majestic landmark.

 

Things to Do

 

Discover the Marsh Trail

 

Hike the Marsh Trail for an unforgettable experience. This unpaved sandy way north of the Visitor Center takes you on a walk through the natural filtration system – the marsh. The park’s wetlands protect inland areas from flooding while providing wildlife habitat. Besides, this trail is also a popular place for bird-watching and kayak tours.

 

Enjoy Recreational Fishing

 

Like many other Florida National Parks, Fort Matanzas also offer excellent fishing. The area is surrounded by water, so there’s no shortage of fishing spots. You can catch various fish from the Atlantic Ocean and Matanzas Inlet to the Summer Haven River and Intracoastal Waterway. It includes bluefish, spotted sea trout, redfish, black drum, etc.

 

Discover Florida’s National Parks: A Treasure Trove of Natural Wonders

 

In Florida, there’s an abundance of natural beauty waiting to be explored, and the state’s national parks are a great place to start. With crystal-clear waters, towering trees, and unique wildlife, Florida’s national parks offer a glimpse into the state’s diverse ecosystem and rich history.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a relaxing day in nature, these parks have something for everyone. From the breathtaking landscapes of Dry Tortugas to the vibrant coral reefs of Biscayne, each park offers a unique experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

If you’re ready to embark on a journey of discovery, check our Florida Splendors site for an in-depth look at the state’s national parks and other locations. With detailed guides, insider tips, and stunning photography, this website is your ultimate resource for planning your next outdoor adventure in Florida.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots, pack your sunscreen, and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Florida’s national parks. Visit floridasplendors.com today and start planning your trip!

FAQs

Which is the most famous national park in Florida?

Everglades National Park is the biggest and most famous national park in Florida. It is home to various wildlife and offers plenty of recreational activities.

Which Florida National Park has the best coastline?

Biscayne National Preserve features a coastline that leads you to the underwater treasures. The area is famous for scuba diving and features the world’s third-largest coral reef.

Which is the biggest park in Florida?

The biggest state park in Florida is Fakahatchee Strand Preserve. It is home to many plant and animal species.

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