We’ve missed Florida State Parks during the pandemic shutdown; it’s helped us realize how much we love them. As we again return to the state parks, we’re sharing with you our eight favorite state parks — special preserves located all across Florida. Did we include your favorite?
Parks, Forests & Preserves
Campgrounds in Florida’s Panhandle offer a taste of the seasons without summer’s crush of visitors from Southern states. Don’t expect beach weather, but it’s easier to book a campsite.
Donald MacDonald Park is one of those cozy little campgrounds you want to keep to yourself. Lush vegetation and access to a natural river with abundant wildlife.
Here are 2021 free days in national parks plus other groups that get free admission. Recently, the park service announced that U.S. veterans get free admission as well as families with 4th and 5th grade kids. And if you’re 62 or older, consider the senior pass. It’s a great deal.
Backcountry camping permits can now be reserved online. Meantime, Veterans and Gold Star Families no longer have to pay entrance fees to national parks.
Anastasia State Park is a stone’s throw from historic St. Augustine and offers 139 cozy campsites on a four-mile-long pristine beach that shimmers in the Florida sun.
Autumn doesn’t bring a lot of color to the Sunshine State, but that’s only part of the fall story. We revel in “cool” fronts that drive the humidity away.
Ocala National Forest features more than a dozen developed campgrounds and two state parks you can use as a base to explore more than 600 square miles of wilderness.
Ocala National Forest covers more than 600 square miles of Central Florida, and all of it is open to dispersed, primitive camping.
I’ve paddled a lot of trails in the Everglades, but so far, the Turner River is my favorite. It goes from pristine cypress swamp, through mangrove tunnels to sawgrass marsh, and it teems with birds, gators and fish. It’s everything the Everglades offers in one trip.
Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.