Florida is a sensational getaway destination, mostly because it has something to suit everyone’s unique interests. If you’re looking to acquire a sun-kissed glow, they have pristine beaches. If you’re an avid-golfer looking to play the round of your life, you can spend some time at one of Florida’s top-ranked golf courses.
However, if you’re looking to reconnect with the beautiful landscape this state has to offer, there’s no better place to do that than in Florida’s nature parks.
Renowned for its unique subtropical wilderness, the landscape of the Everglades never fails to surprise newcomers. Whether it’s the mystery of what lies beneath the murky waters, or the constant echoes of wildlife residing in the air, the Everglades leave visitors with a sense of awe. Water flows down from Lake Okeechobee, infusing sawgrass marshes, cypress swamps, wet prairies, and mangroves before it reaches the Everglades. As a wetland spanning over 2 million acres on the tip of Southern Florida, the Everglades contain flora and birdlife uncommon in the rest of the United States. Long-legged ibises and spoonbills rest in the water alongside crocodiles, alligators, and the park’s most endangered animal—the Florida Panther.
Most national parks are land-based, but Biscayne National Park favors the wide-open sea. Perched on an island an hour’s drive from Miami, the star of Biscayne’s show resides in the Atlantic Ocean. The unspoiled beauty of coral reefs and the sun’s rays pouring out onto the surface from the water from above is truly an unforgettable experience. The park’s main focus is the preservation of the ocean and coral reefs, which can be quite a challenge living alongside a metropolis like Miami. You can go snorkeling, kayaking, or on a guided boat tour of the open ocean. Boca Chita Key, a popular lighthouse and island, boasts an overnight campground where interested parties can spend the night under the stars right overlooking the ocean.
The Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a sanctuary for a rare geological phenomenon: prairies. Prairies are flat fertile lands dominated by tall grasses, and unfortunately, have become an endangered ecosystem. The tallgrass prairie of the Midwest has seen a reduction of about 1/10th in recent years, which makes Florida’s state park a life-preserver for a delicate but necessary ecological community. The main attractions are the roaming wild horses and bison but keep your eye out for the alligators and over 300 species of birds. Climb up the observation deck to get a bird’s eye view of this expansive territory.
In the 40s and 50s, this Florida island attracted young couples from all over the states. Soon many dubbed it “honeymoon island”, and although it now caters to everyone—from families to single folk—it’s retained the romantic views and white sand beaches that made it famous. As Florida’s most popular state park, you can collect thousands of seashells (the beach is full of them) while dipping your toes in the aquamarine water. If you’re looking for more activity than wistfully taking selfies with the sunset, rent a paddleboard or hike the trails. You’ll likely see dolphins, manatees, and birds flying overhead that you’ve never seen before.
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— Florida State Parks (@FLStateParks) March 31, 2019
— Florida State Parks (@FLStateParks) March 29, 2019
Have you visited Long Key State Park? This park historically served a favorite tourist spot for the rich and famous, and now it serves as a tranquil haven for bird watching, swimming, kayaking or relaxing on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. #FLStateParks pic.twitter.com/y1HnE56ViV
— Florida State Parks (@FLStateParks) March 27, 2019
Hiking? Boating? Paddling? Swimming? Star Gazing? The possibilities are endless! Grab your Florida State Park Passport and plan an adventure to Big Lagoon State Park! #FLStateParks
Plan your trip: https://t.co/sIbMulvXj9 pic.twitter.com/h6eigzOpXV
— Florida State Parks (@FLStateParks) March 25, 2019