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Florida - The Sunshine State: Travel & Natural Resources

A page of all things Florida

Come to Florida vintage tourist map

(public domain - University of Central Florida)

County Parks - Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties

Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation


Broward County Parks 


Miami Dade Parks and Recreation

Florida's National Parks

Biscayne (Miami, Key Biscayne, Homestead)

Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.

Dry Tortugas (Key West)

Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. This 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequents the area.

Everglades (Miami, Naples, Homestead)

Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther. An international treasure as well - a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.

(descriptions by NPS)

Canaveral (Titusville, New Smyrna Beach)

Since ancient times, this barrier island has provided sanctuary to both people and wildlife. Many threatened and endangered species find refuge here, including sea turtles who nest on its shores. Like first natives and early settlers, you too can find tranquility. Stroll down a wooded trail. Reflect on a pristine undeveloped shoreline - the way things used to be.

Gulf Islands (Gulf Breeze)

What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote, “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, a boat ride, a camping spot, a tour of an old fort, or a place to fish.

(descriptions by NPS)

Castillo de San Marcos (St. Augustine)

A monument not only of stone and mortar but of human determination and endurance, the Castillo de San Marcos symbolizes the clash between cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation. Still resonant with the struggles of an earlier time, these original walls provide tangible evidence of America’s grim but remarkable history.

Fort Matanzas (St. Augustine)

Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves the fortified coquina watchtower, completed in 1742, which defended the southern approach to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine. It also protects approximately 300 acres of Florida coastal environment containing dunes, marsh, maritime forest, and associated flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species.

(descriptions by NPS)

De Soto (Bradenton)

In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto’s army of soldiers, hired mercenaries, craftsmen, and clergy made landfall in Tampa Bay. They were met with fierce resistance of indigenous people protecting their homelands. De Soto’s quest for glory and gold would be a four year, four thousand mile odyssey of intrigue, warfare, disease, and discovery that would form the history of the United States.

Fort Caroline (Timucuan Preserve, Jacksonville)

At the settlement of la Caroline, French settlers struggled for survival in a new world.  Many sought religious freedom in a new land, while others were soldiers or tradesmen starting a new life.  The climactic battles fought here between the French and Spanish marked the first time that European nations fought for control of lands in what is now the United States.  It would not be the last time. 

(descriptions by NPS)

Big Cypress (Ochopee)

The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida's southwest coast. Protecting over 729,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther.

Timucuan (Jacksonville)

Visit one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast. Discover 6,000 years of human history and experience the beauty of salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks. The Timucuan Preserve includes Fort Caroline and Kingsley Plantation.

(descriptions by NPS)

Gullah / Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (FL, GA, SC, NC)

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a National Heritage Area and it was established by the U.S. Congress to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people who have traditionally resided in the coastal areas and the sea islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida  — from Pender County, North Carolina, to St. John’s County, Florida.   Throughout the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor today there are vibrant and historic Gullah Geechee communities. 

Loxahatchee Wild and Scenic River (Jupiter, Tequesta)

This scenic southern river flows through an interesting vegetative landscape which supports a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial fish and wildlife species. The river also provides for an abundance of bird species.

The Loxahatchee River is a special river, important to many in Florida. A resident, John Henkelman, has created three wonderful videos—available via YouTube—highlighting the many special values of the river. Our thanks to John for sharing these videos.

Hiking the Loxahatchee Wild & Scenic River, Kayaking the Loxahatchee Wild & Scenic River, Sounds of the Loxahatchee Wild & Scenic River

Wekiva Wild and Scenic River (Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Sanford)

The Wekiva River Basin is a complex ecological system of rivers, springs, seepage areas, lakes, streams, sinkholes, wetland prairies, hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub communities. Water quality is exhibited in two ways. Several streams are clear due to being spring-fed. Others are blackwater; blackwater streams receive most of their flow from precipitation resulting in annual rainy season over-bank flows. The Wekiva and its tributaries are in superb ecological condition. The basin is almost entirely within Florida State lands and supports many species of plant and animal life, some of which are endangered, threatened, or of special concern.

(descriptions by NPS)

Florida State Parks ...the Real Florida

Florida State Parks

plan your state park adventure!


Florida State Parks Foundation

The Foundation’s mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service through programs that:

  • Preserve and protect state parks
  • Increase universal access to state parks
  • Educate and bring children to state parks
  • Educate decision makers about the value of state parks
  • Encourage community engagement and active use of state parks
  • Provide financial support for park projects that supplement state and Friends Group funding