- Published: Wednesday, 17 January 2018 13:25
- Written by Alpenglow Lights
Florida is a great vacation destination. In fact, Florida is one of the most popular places for people to visit in the U.S. and there are a lot of reasons why it is such a favorite place of interest.
The Sunshine State is home to some of the world's most popular beaches, and amusement parks, not to mention the temperature is almost always appealing. Another reason why Florida is such a sought-after place to visit is its incredible state parks.
Though all 50 states have their own state parks, only Florida has the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the management of state park systems three times.
Here’s a guide to the national parks of Florida.
Everglades National Park
With an area of about a million and a half acres, this national park is considered as the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, which attracts over 1.1 million visitors per year. The park was established in 1947 for its biological diversity. Everglades National Park is also an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, a Wetland of International Importance, and a protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.
See flocks of roseate spoonbills, alligators, and winding mangrove forests. Hike, bike, kayak, and spend the night in one of its three campsites.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola offers you an unfamiliar chance to see the migration of monarch butterflies from Mexico. It’s also one of the most picturesque places in Florida to spend time. The 12 units of the park protect a series of barrier islands off the Gulf Coast and offer snorkeling, fishing, bicycling, and more.
Hike the bayous and coastal forests on the Mississippi side and explore a number of magnificent brick forts on the Florida side, including historic Civil War forts and a Spanish colonial structure dating back to 1797.
This national seashore is one of the most visited beaches in the country, drawing over 4 million tourists per year.
Biscayne National Park
This is one of Florida's hidden jewels. Biscayne National Park in Southern Florida has fantastic mangrove forests, key islands, and some of the world's most northern coral reefs.
This snorkeler’s paradise is the largest marine park in the US national park system. In fact, it is a submerged park with 95% of the park covered by water. Though most visitors come to see the marine life, there are some tourists who come to find out about its fascinating history.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
This is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet that attracted Native Americans and Europeans alike, leaving a rich history behind. At 46,000 acres, it’s more than five times the size of New York’s Central Park. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve draws more than a million tourists per year.
Visit the reconstructed Fort Caroline or the restored Kingsley Plantation, the oldest active plantation home. At the north end of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is Little Talbot Island State Park where Nassau Sound scrubs the shoreline. On the other neighboring islands, you can kayak, fish off the pier, or go horseback riding.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Located in Ochopee, this national park attracts more than a million visitors per year. Big Cypress National Preserve is the northern cornerstone of a collection of national and state lands, including Everglades National Park, that makes up Big Cypress Swamp.
There is an abundant diversity of plants and animals due to the combination of temperate and tropical ecosystems within the swamp. The water flow is critical to these ecosystems and the neighboring Everglades, as well as the estuaries of southwest Florida and Florida Bay.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Considered as one of the world’s most unique eco parks, this national park consists of seven small islands 70 miles west of Key West. Dry Tortugas National Park is known for its marine and bird wildlife. This remote outpost is famous for its sunken treasure, pirates, and its rich military history.
The most favorite attraction here is the historic Fort Jefferson. It was once used as a detention center during the Civil War. You can also spend your day snorkeling and skin diving, or visit the best beach in the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
This nature reserve is one of 15 marine protected areas that make up the National Marine Sanctuary System. It safeguards 2,900 square nautical miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys. Here, you can experience the world’s third largest barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and over 6,000 species of marine life. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary also offers world-class diving, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.
Experience nature at its best. Be sure to add these locations at the top of your must-visit list in Florida.