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National Parks in Florida: A Paradise for Nature Lovers

Florida, the Sunshine State, is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historic landmarks. It’s a place where the sun shines brightly on sandy beaches, where ocean waves crash against the shore, and where the laughter of amusement parks fills the air. But beyond these familiar sights and sounds, Florida hides a secret – it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, home to some of the most diverse and unique national parks in the United States.

National Parks in Florida: A Paradise for Nature Lovers
National Parks in Florida: A Paradise for Nature Lovers

From the swampy wilderness of the Everglades to the underwater wonders of Biscayne, and from the historic forts of St Augustine to the pristine beaches of Canaveral, Florida’s national parks are a testament to the state’s rich natural and cultural heritage. This article takes you on a journey through these parks, offering a glimpse of their beauty and the adventures they offer.

The Top National Parks in Florida

Here are the top national parks you need to explore when you are in Florida

1. Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a vast, slow-moving river covering over 6000 square kilometers. It’s not just a swamp, but a complex ecosystem teeming with a variety of wildlife, including flamingos, pelicans, black bears, pumas, alligators and crocodiles. A visit to the Everglades offers a unique opportunity to explore this diverse habitat.

The park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The park holds recognition as an International Biosphere Reserve and Wetland of International Importance. Many species live in the park, including some endangered species such as the Florida panther. Its landscape is a complex mix of ecosystems, including:

  • Freshwater marshes
  • Marl prairies
  • Tropical hammocks
  • Pine forests
  • Cypress
  • Mangroves
  • Coastal lowlands
  • Marine and estuarine environments

It’s not only a haven for nature lovers, it’s also an important refuge for many species. It is also a vital part of Florida’s water supply.

2. Biscayne National Park

Florida, Biscayne National Park
Florida, Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is a haven for divers and snorkelers, boasting the third-largest coral reef in the world. Almost entirely covered by water, this park offers visitors the chance to kayak through its many bays and witness over 400 different species of fish. Biscayne is covered by shallow Biscayne Bay and surrounded by mangrove forests.

The park’s ecosystem was significantly altered by canal construction projects in the early to mid-20th century. This altered the salinity profile of the bay. It is a historical treasure trove, with 50 significant archaeological sites dating back to Indian civilisations. There are also 44 documented shipwrecks from Spanish treasure fleets that sailed past the Florida Keys. The first permanent European settlers in the early 19th century established successful lime and pineapple plantations, contributing to the area’s agricultural history.

3. Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve offers a unique blend of temperate and tropical plant communities. It’s a sanctuary for a myriad of wildlife species, making it a fantastic spot for wildlife viewing and bird watching. Big Cypress National Preserve, located in South Florida, stands as the first national preserve in the United States National Park System. Established in 1974, the Preserve spans 720,000 acres and lies adjacent to the freshwater marl prairies of Everglades National Park.

Archaeological evidence shows that people, particularly the Calusa and 19th-century Seminoles, have lived in the area for over two thousand years, steeped in a rich history. The Humble Oil Company discovered Florida’s first oil well here in 1943. Later, in the 1960s, the site was proposed for the Miami Jetport. But Native Americans, hunters and environmentalists stopped it.

4. Dry Tortugas National Park

White Sand Beach in Dry Tortugas National Park, United States
White Sand Beach in Dry Tortugas National Park, United States

Located about 113 kilometers (~ 70 miles) from Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is renowned for its breathtaking underwater world. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this park comprises seven small islands and is a must-visit for diving enthusiasts.

The centrepiece of the park is Fort Jefferson, a colossal but unfinished coastal fortress. It boasts the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, consisting of more than 16 million bricks. The Dry Tortugas are remarkable for their combination of a largely undisturbed tropical ecosystem and significant historical artefacts.

Transfer to the National Park
Transfer to the National Park

The park attracted an average of 63,000 visitors per year from 2008 to 2017, despite being accessible only by seaplane or boat. The park, which is over 99 per cent water, is part of the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve, established by UNESCO. The islands in the park are low and irregular. Their number varies over time due to changing water levels, creating and obscuring land bridges between some of the islands.

Some more National Parks in Florida

Canaveral National Seashore, United States
Canaveral National Seashore, United States
  • Canaveral National Seashore: Located near Titusville, Canaveral National Seashore offers miles of pristine shoreline and barrier islands. It’s a great place for hiking, bird watching and even viewing rocket launches from the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument: Situated in the country’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a massive fortress that has witnessed centuries of history. Walking through the Castillo, you’ll discover rooms filled with stories of battles and ownership from different times.
  • De Soto National Memorial: This park in Bradenton commemorates the landing of Hernando de Soto in 1539. De Soto and his men played a significant role in history, and the park offers living history demonstrations to educate visitors about this period.
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial: Located in Jacksonville, Fort Caroline National Memorial is best known for its trails that serve hikers and trail runners. The park also offers living history demonstrations and a visitor center.
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument: Fort Matanzas National Monument, located near St. Augustine, played a crucial role in securing a Spanish victory over the French in 1565. A ferry ride is required to reach the Fort, adding a special feeling to your visit.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore: Gulf Islands National Seashore includes barrier islands in both Florida and Mississippi. The Florida unit includes Pensacola Bay, Fort Barrancas, Fort Pickens, Perdido Key, portions of Santa Rosa Island, and the Naval Live Oaks Area. The major attraction here is the pristine white sandy beaches.
  • The Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is in Jacksonville and is famous for safeguarding 6,000 years of human history and a variety of ecological resources. The Kingsley Plantation, a part of the preserve, offers a glimpse into the lives of the slaves who once lived here.

Kennedy Space Center

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States

Explore the cosmos at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, where space exploration comes alive. Watch rocket launches, meet veteran astronauts and explore interactive exhibits that showcase our journey to the stars. Experience the thrill of a simulated space flight and touch a real moon rock. Don’t miss this unique opportunity for an unforgettable journey to the final frontier!

Kennedy Space Center has been the launch site for every manned NASA space flight since 1968. It is also home to the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the legendary spacecraft that completed 33 missions and orbited the Earth more than 4,800 times. Explore these remarkable feats of engineering and ignite your curiosity about the universe.

Just a short distance from Kennedy Space Center, you’ll find Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a historic site with decades of space launch history. Home to the earliest manned space flights, it’s a must-visit for space and history enthusiasts.

Reservations and Planning Your Visit

Florida, USA
Florida, USA

While many of Florida’s national parks are open to visitors without reservations, some activities and tours may require advance booking. For instance, camping in the Everglades National Park during the busy winter season requires a reservation. Similarly, visits to Dry Tortugas National Park need to be planned in advance due to its remote location.

The Count of National Parks

Known for its diverse landscapes and rich history, Florida is home to 11 unique national parks. Each offers a different experience, from the historic Castillo de San Marcos to the diverse Everglades. These parks not only offer the chance to explore Florida’s natural beauty. But it also provide a glimpse into the state’s rich history. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff or just looking for a unique adventure, Florida’s national parks have something for everyone.

The Most Beautiful National Parks in Florida

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, FL
Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, FL

Many people often consider the Everglades for its wide wetlands, Biscayne for its lively underwater life, and Dry Tortugas for its clear waters and historic fort, as some of the most beautiful national parks in Florida, even though beauty is subjective. The Big Cypress National Preserve also offers a unique blend of subtropical flora and fauna, adding to the state’s natural beauty.


In conclusion, Florida’s national parks are a testament to the state’s rich natural heritage. A world away from the bustling cities and crowded beaches, they offer a sanctuary where nature thrives and history comes alive. Whether you’re a nature lover, wildlife enthusiast or adventure seeker, these parks offer something for everyone. They invite you to step off the beaten path, explore the wild side of Florida and discover the wonders that lie at its heart.

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Top 10 Best National Parks to Visit in Florida | USA – English

So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey. Explore Florida’s national parks where every trail leads to a new adventure. Every landscape tells a story and every moment is a memory in the making.

Article: “National Parks in Florida”! Looking for more articles about the United States? Visit our section about the United States of America!

Or Looking for a comparison: The Everglades vs Yosemite National Park or some Parks in News Mexico?

Marcel Kuhn