Nature July 13, 2017
11 Amazing Ways To Enjoy Florida’s State Parks Right Now
If you’re feeling bored in the Sunshine State, we’re here to tell you there’s no excuse! There are so many ways to appreciate our beautiful state parks, all you have to do is find one near you below. Have fun!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Take a walk on the wild side.
Florida's first state park and a National Natural Landmark, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Micanopy should not be missed. Visit this park for a glimpse of alligators, bison and wild horses.
2. Stay in a historic lodge.
Wakulla Springs State Park near Crawfordville was once the home to prehistoric humans, and still attracts tons of people with its beauty. This on-site historic 1930s lodge is a special piece of Old Florida, combining with the natural beauty of the springs to create the perfect getaway.
3. Discover a unique beach.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park near Palm Coast has incredible formal gardens and a beautiful beach dotted with limestone outcropping, which creates a fun natural playground.
4. Explore a sinkhole.
Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park in Gainesville gives guests the opportunity to hike into a 120-foot sinkhole with a mini-rainforest, small waterfalls, and lush foliage.
5. See real live mermaids.
Mermaid performers have been captivating audiences in what is now Weeki Wachee Springs State Park since the 1940s. Visitors can also enjoy the park's affordable water park, Buccaneer Bay, and a lovley scenic boat ride.
6. Enjoy a unique breakfast experience.
De Leon Springs State Park is perfect for swimming and canoeing, but it's also home to a pancake house with a cool DIY twist: a griddle in every table allows patrons to flip their own flapjacks. Get here early and expect a wait, but it's worth it.
7. Explore some incredibly gorgeous beaches.
Fort De Soto Park (the only county park on our list) consists of five offshore keys near St. Petersburg, Florida. The park is steeped in history, attracting Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and soldiers in the Civil War. History aside, visitors should not miss relaxing on the park's celebrated beaches.
8. Take a thrilling walk over a ravine.
Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka is part manicured order and part wild unfettered nature. Florida is known for being primarily flat, but this park has some stunning natural ravines that reach depths of 120 feet. The park also features two pedestrian suspension bridges.
9. Hike past stunning waterfalls.
Visit Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon and take a walk through paradise. The park offers swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing in some parts of its beautiful blue springs. You can also spot some incredible wildlife and man-made (but still spectacular) waterfalls.
10. Go tubing in scenic crystal-clear water.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Fort White is a National Natural Landmark that offers snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving in crystal clear waters, but the most popular pastime is tubing down the river.
11. Take a tour of Florida's only public caverns.
Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna provides access to the only air-filled caves open to the public in Florida. The park also offers bicycling, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and camping.
How many of these activities have you done? What’s your favorite state park in Florida?