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Florida's Best State Parks Offer Sunshine Hangouts & Underwater Exploration


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Are you looking for the perfect state park to visit in the sunshine state? Florida State Parks boast an incredible array of state parks for all seasons and reasons. Looking to camp? Hike? Boat? Beach? Visit a secluded island? We are here to tell you that there is a Florida State Park for you from the panhandle in the Gulf of Mexico to the tip of Key West!

Nature lovers, campers, scuba divers alike delight in the diverse range of Florida State Parks. They span over 1,250 square miles and present unique ecosystems, underground spring-fed caves, crystal clear waters and waterfalls, white sand beaches, and endless amounts of outdoor activities. It is challenging to choose with almost 200 parks in the state, but we did our best to narrow our selection of the best state parks in Florida.

10 Best State Parks in Florida

1. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Located just outside Miami, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park features unworldly views from this historic 1825 Cape Florida Lighthouse. French explorer Ponce De Leon named the Cape of Florida on the first Spanish expedition to the region in 1513.

Serving as a beacon of freedom for Seminole Natives to Black Seminoles who gathered here as a refuge, Bill Baggs has some of the best beaches in the state. Take a tour of the famous lighthouse, enjoy biking around the park, or take in the scenery from the water on a kayak.

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2. Blue Spring State Park

Discover the refreshing waters of the Blue Spring that sits alongside the St. Johns River an hour north of Orlando. The clear waters are a constant 72-degrees and are home to a protected group of manatees.

The park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including birds, ospreys, eagles, and kingfishers. A highlight of Blue Spring State Park is the 4.5-mile Pine Island hiking trail.

3. Florida Caverns State Park

A genuinely mind-blowing site to see is the underground cave network at Florida Caverns State Park, located west of Tallahassee in the town of Marianna. In addition to the 45-minute guided tour, the park also offers wildlife viewing and nature trails.

4. Honeymoon Island State Park

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Situated outside of Tampa near the city of Dunedin lies Honeymoon Island, one of Florida's most visited state parks. Known for its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches, a visit to this barrier island and will quickly show you why this state park is one of the state's best.

Take a day trip and enjoy a meal at one of the picnic areas, bring your fur baby to the pet-friendly south beath, or take the 2.5-mile Osprey Trail that crosses through some of the state's only untouched slash pine patches.

5. Bahia Honda State Park

Boasting some of the best beaches in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda is a refuge for nature lovers looking to do some epic snorkeling, sunbathing on sandy beaches, or try their luck at saltwater fishing.

Bahia is also the prime place for boating, canoeing, and kayaking.

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6. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

A grand underwater canyon, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first underwater park in the United States. Located in Key Largo, this rare park encompasses 70 nautical miles. It serves as a mystical haven for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Those who do not want to explore Spanish shipwrecks under the water can take a two and a half hour glass-bottom boat tour that is just as cool!

7. Lovers Key State Park

With two miles of white sand beaches perfect for swimming and picnicking, Lovers Key State Park is located south of Cape Coral between Hickory Island and Estero Island. When visiting this gorgeous Florida State Park, you may see manatees, bald eagles, and dolphins!

8. Amelia Island State Park

Nestled 40 minutes from Jacksonville, Amelia Island State Park is one of the only state parks in Florida that offers the exciting activity of horseback riding on the beach.

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Maritime forests, salt marshes, and some of the best beaches lie in this 200-acre region of unspoiled aquatic wilderness. If you make it to Amelia Island, you can visit the nearby Big Talbot Island State Park, where century-old live oaks grow on top of the dunes.

9. Highlands Hammock State Park

Highlands Hammock State Park is the Florida State Park with the rarest and endemic species that thrive in the diverse ecosystem of the old-growth hammock forests that are found here.

An excellent choice for hikers, visitors can take the nature trails through ancient oaks, spot alligators in their natural habitat, and traverse the elevated boardwalk trail through a cypress swamp.

10. Rainbow Springs State Park

Situated west of Ocala in central Florida, Rainbow Springs State Park presents 1,400 acres of park property. The main attraction of the park is the freshwater springs that have been celebrated for over 10,000 years.

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You can camp next to the Rainbow River, see the blooming azaleas in springtime, and spend hours snorkeling this magnificent wonder.

Other Notable Parks in the State

-Everglades National Park in southern Florida

-Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach in Key West

-Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine

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-Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Palm Beach County

-Caladesi Island State Park

-Ichetucknee Springs State Park

-Myakka River State Park

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