Florida residents are lucky. No matter where they live in the state, a national park is only a few hours away. National Parks are a bargain, but even more so on “fee free days.” Here’s the list for 2018.
Parks & Forests
When the weather breaks, Floridians come out of the air conditioning and flock to campgrounds before the snowbird invasion. And yes, there really is a change in leaf color along I-10 in Florida’s Panhandle.
Encompassing more than 600 square miles in North Central Florida, Ocala National Forest is bursting with adventure. Hike the Florida Trail, camp in the deep woods, spend a lazy day at a cool, bubbling spring, ride the equestrian trails, paddle a spring run, a lake or a river.
O’Leno State Park is a Florida treasure with a scenic campground at the heart of two state parks that will take your breath away. It is here that the Santa Fe River vanishes, only to re-appear 3.5 miles later to meander many paddle-loving miles to its merger with the Suwannee River.
MacArthur Beach is one of South Florida’s treasures: Nearly two miles of natural, dune-lined beach with rock outcroppings and a reef that makes it a great snorkeling site.
You don’t have to drive hours off the interstate to find Florida’s natural beauty and funky history. You can find treasures within 10 minutes of these I-75 exits.
Remote, rural and picturesque, northwest Florida rewards your long drive with sparkling springs, the beautiful Suwanee River and scenic rural roads. Two state parks with cabins and campgrounds make great bases to explore the region.
What took me so long? Like a lot of visitors, I had overlooked Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park on my visits to Key West because it is tucked away out of site. But the historic fort and great beach are worth discovering.
The new Silver Springs State Park near Ocala gives kayakers their first chance to launch at the famous springhead and paddle an exquisite waterway that has never been open to kayakers before.
This cypress-lined Alafia river has an unusual feature for Florida: Rocky shoals that create fun rapids to kayak. It’s near hiking trails, springs and a very nice paddling trail at Little Manatee River State Park.