Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys Photo Credit: NPS
Our National Parks turned 100 years old this year. The parks are a national treasure that so many of us never get a chance to appreciate. In fact, I didn’t visit my first national park site until I was 28 years old. I visited Fort Matanzas with my son on a spring break trip to St. Augustine, Florida at the recommendation of a friend.
We have all heard of the big ones like, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite. But how many of the national parks can you name in the state you live in? How many of those have you visited in your own state of residence? Probably not many, and it’s not really that you don’t want to. Perhaps you just didn’t know where they were located or all of the activities that were offered.
In celebration of the National Parks Centennial Celebration this year, I’ve put together a Florida National Parks guide detailing all of the national parks, preserves, memorials, and monuments in Florida. In honor of the 100th birthday of our National Parks, I challenge you to visit at least 2 national parks in your home state or a neighboring state within the next year!
National Park Week 2017 Free Weekends: April 15–16 and 22–23
Things to do: hiking, RV and tent camping, back country camping, art exhibits, wildlife viewing, scenic drives, guided canoe trips, night sky & astronomy programs. There are also commercial operators that provide swamp buggies, kayaking, and hunting.
Miami, Key Biscayne & Homestead, FL
Things to do: boating, camping, guided canoe and kayak trip, scuba, snorkeling, marine life museum, wildlife viewing
Titusville and New Smyrna Beach, FL
Things to do: beach, camping, wildlife viewing, manatee observationf area, boating
Castillo De San Marcos
St. Augustine, FL
Things to do: explore the fort, attend ranger programs, live weapons demonstrations on certain days
Things to do: free kayak tour, ranger guided hike, educational film, historical reenactment program
Key West, FL
Things to do: explore the fort, snorkel, beach, diving, camping, paddlesports
Miami, Naples, and Homestead, FL
Things to do: airboat tours, hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, boat tours, slough slogging, fishing, kayaking, boating, biking
Timucuan Preserve, Jacksonville, FL
Things to do: Kingsley Plantation,educational programs
St. Augustine, FL
Things to do: Explore the fort, ferry boat
Gulf Breeze, FL
Things to do: Guided tour, beaches, snorkeling, hiking, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing
Cultural Heritage Corridor
Things to do: Historical sites, cultural tours, festivals
Ecological & Historic Preserve
Things to do: backwater kayaking, hiking, camping
So far I’ve only checked off 6 parks from this list. I think my favorite so far has been Fort Matanzas. What parks have you visited here in Florida or in your home state? Tell me about it in the comments below!