There are three fantastic national parks in Florida, each with enormous stretches of wilderness and fantastic chances for adventure on land and water. However, the National Park Service protects many more of Florida’s most notable landmarks. National monuments, memorials, and even seashores have been recognised as important stops on a tour of the state’s preserved landscapes and historical landmarks.
Remember that many of these areas are still mainly wild, so you’ll want to take extra measures like bringing lots of water, sunscreen, and insect spray. It’s important to keep an eye out for alligators and rattlesnakes in Florida, and to keep kids and dogs nearby at all times. The magnificent natural and historic wonders of Florida await you; before you go out, check the NPS website to be sure the park of your choosing is open.
Everglades National Park
The 1.5 million acres that make up Everglades National Park in southern Florida encompass three counties. Birdwatchers go here to see the great blue herons, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, wood storks, and black skimmers, as well as the Florida panther and the manatee, two of the state’s many endangered species.
The Everglades may be explored by motorboat, airboat, kayak, or canoe. Stay on dry ground with a guided tram trip or cruiser bike excursion. You might also take a stroll along the short Anhinga Trail to see the namesake anhinga birds make spectacular aerial fish catches. And if you’re in the mood, there are gators here. Lots of gators.
Biscayne National Park is 95% water, therefore snorkelers should take notice of the beautiful reefs there. Visitors that are interested in scuba diving, fishing, boating, and the ocean in general congregate here. Once you’ve had your fill of Miami’s Art Deco buildings and deep house clubs, go to this national park to take in the sights of marine life, lighthouses, and everything else associated with the water. Both the Florida Turnpike and US-1 lead directly to the park’s main entrance, the Dante Fascell Visitor Centre. You should definitely go out into the water once you arrive. A variety of eco-adventures, such as snorkelling at shipwreck sites and boat trips to the Boca Chita Key Historic District, are available via the Biscayne National Park Institute.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The Hemingway National Park is the farthest and least travelled to all Florida’s national parks. Arrange a catamaran trip with The Yankee Freedom Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry to view Fort Jefferson, a magnificent 19th-century fortress that is part of the Dry Tortugas National Park — a collection of seven tiny islands — while you’re in the Keys visiting the author’s former home. In addition to passing through the jail where John Wilkes Booth’s doctor, Samuel Mudd, did time, you’ll get to see some breathtaking scenery along the way.
In addition to hiking, biking, and horseback riding, visitors may also do bird watching, fishing, or kiteboarding with a guide, or go snorkelling in the park’s pristine waters at a shipwreck.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
All of Florida’s National Park Service (NPS) sites provide something for history buffs and nature lovers. Consider Jacksonville’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The Timucua, a Native American group, originally lived in the region, and their cultural remnants may be seen in the form of artefacts and architecture. Fort Caroline National Memorial, the site of conflicts between French and Spanish colonists, now serves as the preserve’s visitor centre.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Located in the centre of St. Augustine’s historic neighbourhood, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a goldmine of information on the Spanish colonial era in Florida. The earliest masonry fort in America, located on the shores of Matanzas Bay, is a star-shaped, one-of-a-kind example of the “bastion system” of fortification. The entrance charge for a self-guided tour of the park is $15. Volunteers and park rangers dressed in historical costumes provide tours of the fort and answer visitors’ questions about life in the colonial era.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Despite being the first national preserve in the United States, Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida often disregarded in favour of the larger Everglades National Park. The 720,000-acre preserve free to explore, and it situated on the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41), a major thoroughfare connecting the east and west coasts of Florida. You’ll be able to go camping, canoeing, kayaking, riding, and observing birds once you’re inside. There are eight different campsites to stay at, ranging from the ultra-modern to the very primitive. Rangers and commercial outfitters provide swamp excursions, nature walks, bike rides, and canoe expeditions for the inquisitive.
De Soto National Memorial
The story of Spanish conqueror Hernando de Soto, who became the first European to cross the Mississippi River, commemorated at the De Soto National Memorial in the Tampa Bay region. There ranger-led kayak excursions, reenactments of historical events with visitors dressed in period costumes, miles of hiking trails, and a wealth of educational resources, such as information about the indigenous peoples who inhabited the area before the Spanish came.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
You may want to go relax on the beach after seeing national parks and historic sites to process all the new knowledge. Many people go to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida, not far from Pensacola, to enjoy the clear ocean and white beaches. If you’re looking for peace and quiet away from the crowds at the beaches along Highway 399, go to this 150-mile length of coastline. You’ll need to carry your own food and drink because to the lack of services at Fort Pickens; however, there are a few paved parking spaces, flush toilets, picnic spots with pavillions and grills, and even a campground.
Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore, also on the Atlantic coast, is a great alternative for those who want to see pristine beaches. There are several opportunities for beachgoing, hiking, and fishing. The best site to see rocket launches from Kennedy Space Centre is also in this area, and that would be Playalinda Beach.