If you think Florida is all about beaches, theme parks, and oranges, think again. The Sunshine State is also home to some of the most diverse and stunning national parks in the country. Whether you are looking for wildlife, history, adventure, or relaxation, you will find it in the national parks in Florida.
From the swampy wonders of the Everglades to the remote islands of the Dry Tortugas, from the coral reefs of Biscayne to the historic forts of Castillo de San Marcos, there is something for everyone in Florida’s national parks. Let’s delve into ten extraordinary national parks in Florida that are sure to capture your heart when you visit in 2024.
Here are the best 10 Epic National Parks in Florida You’ll Love (2024)
While Florida has three official national parks, there are several other national preserves, seashores, and historic sites managed by the National Park Service that are equally epic and worth exploring. Here are ten such places in Florida that offer a wide range of natural beauty, wildlife, and historical significance:
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers 1.5 million acres of South Florida’s ecosystem, providing critical habitat for numerous rare and endangered species. It’s a mosaic of wetlands, sawgrass prairies, and mangrove forests. Visitors can explore the Anhinga Trail for wildlife viewing, take guided boat tours, or venture into the backcountry for a more secluded experience.
Biscayne National Park
Covering 172,000 acres, 95% of which is underwater, Biscayne is a paradise for water enthusiasts. Its aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and coral reefs make it perfect for snorkeling and diving. The park’s Maritime Heritage Trail offers an underwater journey to explore shipwrecks.
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Dry Tortugas National Park
Known for its isolation, sparkling waters, and the impressive 19th-century Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas is accessible only by boat or seaplane from Key West. The park’s seven small islands are ideal for snorkeling, bird watching, and exploring its rich history.
Additionally, Florida has other notable national preserves and historic sites:
Big Cypress National Preserve
Encompassing over 729,000 acres of the Big Cypress Swamp, this preserve is vital for the health of the neighboring Everglades. The area supports the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast and is a haven for a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the elusive Florida panther.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
This 46,000-acre preserve offers a blend of ecological beauty and historical significance. The preserve protects salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood forests. Historical attractions include the Ribault Club and the remains of Kingsley Plantation.
Canaveral National Seashore
This seashore offers 24 miles of pristine barrier island coastline. It’s a sanctuary for wildlife and provides a habitat for sea turtles’ nesting. The seashore also offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and exploring the historic Seminole Rest.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Florida’s portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore includes beautiful barrier islands with sparkling beaches, historic forts like Fort Pickens, and opportunities for snorkelling, hiking, and observing wildlife.
De Soto National Memorial
The De Soto National Memorial commemorates the 1539 expedition of Hernando de Soto in the Southeast United States. It offers historical reenactments, nature trails, and a visitor center with exhibits about the area’s indigenous cultures and the impact of European exploration.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
This monument protects a Spanish fort built in the 18th century to guard St. Augustine from southern invasion. Visitors can take a ferry to the fort, explore the nature trails, and enjoy bird watching along the Matanzas River.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
As the oldest fort in the continental United States, this monument showcases over 450 years of history. The fort is made of coquina, a unique limestone. Visitors can explore the fort’s chambers, enjoy living history demonstrations, and learn about the various cultures that have occupied this site.
What is Florida’s famous national park?
Everglades National Park is the most famous national park in Florida.
How many national parks are in Florida?
Florida has three official national parks
What is special about Biscayne National Park?
Biscayne National Park is known for its vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and the opportunity for underwater exploration.
Which is the least-visited National Park?
The Dry Tortugas, located 70 miles from Key West, is Florida’s least-visited national park due to its remote location, posing a challenge for many tourists to reach