Florida has an impressive 175 state parks, full of historic sites, trails, wildlife, and adventure. The state park system is one of the best ways to explore the nature this beautiful state has to offer.
Florida has always been known as one of the top states for travel, and that’s not just because of theme parks or exciting cities. This state has unique terrain that will thrill any nature lover, especially those who love the beach.
Florida has miles of coastline, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean hugging the other.
Would you like to visit the beach? Explore a cave? Take a tour or wander around on your own?
Below we’ve highlighted the seven best Florida state parks and what makes them special.
Cayo Costa State Park
What makes Cayo Costa one of the best Florida state parks? Probably the fact that this remote location still looks the way it might have hundreds of years ago. This unspoiled island is more difficult to get to, which means it hasn’t been overrun by tourists.
Here, you’ll experience nine miles of pristine coastline. Birdwatching is a popular attraction here. It’s also possible to spot manatees and sea turtles offshore.
There are many trail options for hiking or biking. Swimming, snorkeling, and fishing are popular activities in the water. There are shaded picnic hours for spending a relaxing afternoon.
Where is it? Cayo Costa State Park is on an island in the Gulf Coast. It is 4 Nautical Miles West of Pine Island (26.685789, -82.245381); Cayo Costa FL 33922.
To get to Cayo Costa, you’ll need to take a private boat, charter a boat with a tour company, or take the ferry.
Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park features the kinds of views you imagine when you think of a tropical beach vacation. You can expect to find iconic beaches lined with palm trees, gentle breezes, and clear waters.
You won’t want to miss a chance to watch the sunset over the ocean at this park.
Many visitors enjoy kayaking and snorkeling in the beautiful waters.
You can expect to see many birds here. A visit to the Sand and Sea Nature Center will give you more information on the animals and plants found in this stunning park.
Where is it?Bahia Honda State Park is located at mile marker 37 in the Florida Keys. The park has over 500 acres featuring an offshore island. You can find this park at: 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043.
This state park is a popular destination for families and one of our favorite Florida springs. Are you ready for a river boat cruise? Or would you like to get a glimpse of live mermaids?
Weeki Wachee state park is famous for many things, but their live mermaid show may be the most unique. They also have a water park, complete with slides and other attractions the whole family can enjoy.
While the mermaids may steal the show, don’t underestimate the natural wonders of Weeki Wachee springs. This Florida state park has the deepest known freshwater cave system in the United States.
Where is it? Weeki Wachee state park is located north of Tampa and west of Orlando. You can find this park at: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
Florida Caverns State Park
Are you ready to head underground and explore caves? The Florida Caverns State Park is a unique experience. In the 1930s, people expanded these caves so you’ll be able to stand up inside as you explore.
This is an opportunity to see stalactites and stalagmites in person.
Where is it? This state park is in the Florida panhandle. You can find it located on the map at: 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446.
Caladesi State Park
What makes Caladesi Island one of the best Florida state parks? This island is rarely visited and a unique opportunity to get in touch with nature.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can take a kayak through a mangrove forest, but here that’s possible. You can also walk around the trails on the island and visit the historic Scharrer Homestead.
Where is it? Caladesi Island State Park is in the Gulf of Mexico. You will need to take a boat to reach it. You can find it on the map at: 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698
This is the place to come if you would like to go on a water adventure. That adventure can be a relaxing one on an inner tube or an afternoon spent kayaking or canoeing on the Ichetucknee River.
This 2,700 acre state park is teeming with wildlife. During your visit, you mean see otters, softshell turtles, wild turkey, or beavers.
Where is it? This large state park is located in northern Florida. You can find it at: 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27 Fort White FL 32038
John Pennekamp State Park
This Florida state park has many attractions, but the main draw here is the coral reef. This is a place to view from the world from underwater.
One of the more interesting things to do while you visit is explore the coral reef with a glass bottom boat.
You can expand your underwater adventures with snorkeling or scuba diving. Canoeing and kayaking are also great activities during your visit.
Make sure to stop in at the visitor center where they have saltwater aquariums.
Where is it? This state park is located in Key Largo. The park includes approximately 25 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean. You can find it on the map at: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
Plan a Visit to The Best Florida State Parks
When you plan a trip to Florida, you can’t skip seeing some of the best nature this tropical state has to offer. Florida’s state parks are protecting a diverse landscape so it will be preserved for generations to come.
Whether you want to see live mermaids, underwater caves, air filled caves, mangrove swamps, or spend a day lounging on a beautiful untouched beach, you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of the Florida State Parks on this list.