Florida Family State Parks
Florida Family State Parks
It’s a great time of year to enjoy camping, hiking trails and more before the summer heat arrives in Florida! We have some beautiful State Parks in Florida and below are a list of some of the parks that our friends at Orlando Weekly have put together for your family to enjoy! We hope you’re able to get out and enjoy some of these beautiful spots with your family! Florida Family State Parks
Anastasia State Park
300 Anastasia Park Road, St. Augustine, Fla. 32080 | 904-461-2033
Anastasia State Park includes 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Explore up to four miles of pristine beach, the estuarine tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life, or the self-guided nature trail which takes you through the maritime hammock and onto ancient sand dunes. You can also visit the Coquina Quarry, an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to help construct the nearby Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
At Anastasia, there are many recreational activities to enjoy including hiking, swimming, beachcombing, bird watching, and much more. The campground contains 139 campsites all located within the beautiful maritime hammock and just a short walk or bike ride from the beach.
Anastasia has concessions to provide guests with rental opportunities of bicycles, paddleboards, kayaks, sail boats and canoes. There is also a grill area and a small gift shop for visitors to take home an Anastasia memory. The grill location also provides Wi-Fi for visitors’ use.
Faver-Dykes State Park
400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, Fla. 32712 | 407-254-1902
Noted for its pristine condition, this tranquil park borders Pellicer Creek as it winds along Florida’s east coast highways down to the Matanzas River. Pellicer Creek is a popular site for birding with more than one hundred bird species seen during spring and fall migrations. Songbirds, including the colorful wood warblers, along with eagles and falcons, return to nest at the park each year. Wading birds, such as egrets, wood storks, white ibis, and herons, feed in the tidal marshes and creeks. This peaceful park is also home to deer, turkeys, hawks, bobcats, and river otters. Fishing, picnicking, and nature walks are popular activities. Pellicer Creek is a Designated State Canoe Trail and visitors can rent canoes at the park. A full-facility campground is available for overnight stays. Located 15 miles south of St. Augustine near the intersection of I-95 and U.S. Highway 1.
Florida Caverns State Park
3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, Fla. 32446 | 850-482-1228
This is one of the few state parks with dry (air-filled) caves and is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours to the public. The Florida Cavern has dazzling formations of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies. The Chipola River and Blue Hole spring provide areas for fishing, canoeing and boating. Florida Caverns State Park is popular for camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. The park does not rent horses, however stables are available for equestrian enthusiast. The park also features a nine-hole, New Deal-era golf course set in beautiful rolling terrain. The entrance is adjacent to the main park entrance; contact the Florida Caverns Golf Course at (850) 526-1148. Guided cave tours are offered Thursday through Monday except Thanksgiving and Christmas (no guided cave tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Guided tours of the Florida Cavern lasts 45 minutes and is considered to be moderately strenuous. An audiovisual program about touring the cave and other natural areas of the park is available in the visitor center. Camping reservations may be made by visiting ReserveAmerica.com or by calling Reserve America at (800) 326-3521, TDD (888) 433-0287.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
9700 South Highway A.1.A., Melbourne Beach, Fla. 32951 | 321-984-4852
The premier saltwater fishing spot on Florida’s east coast, this park is a favorite for anglers nationwide for catching snook, redfish, bluefish and Spanish mackerel from its jetties. Surfing is also a popular recreation and several major competitions are held here every year. Two museums provide a history of the area. The McLarty Treasure Museum features the history of the 1715 Spanish treasure fleet; the Sebastian Fishing Museum tells the history of the area’s fishing industry. Three miles of beautiful beaches provide opportunities for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, shelling, and sunbathing. Canoeing and kayaking in the Indian River Lagoon are also favorite pastimes. Visitors can relax with a stroll down the mile-long Hammock Trail. Waterfront pavilions and picnic areas are great for family outings. A campground for RVs and tent campers is available along with a boat ramp. Located on State Road A1A, 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach.
400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, Fla. 32712 | 407-254-1902
Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring (68 degrees year round), full-service concession, picnic pavilions and playground. Tent and RV camping are available at this park; for more information, click here. Camp Joy group camping is just next door.
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area
3100 S. Oceanshore Blvd., Flagler Beach, Fla. 32136 | 386-517-2086
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this windswept park is named for Florida folk singer Gamble Rogers. The beach is the most popular feature at this park, where visitors enjoy swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing or fishing. The daily low tide is an ideal time to observe shore birds feeding in tidal pools; summer months bring sea turtles that lay their eggs in the golden-brown coquina sand. On the Intracoastal Waterway side of the park, picnic pavilions provide a shady place to enjoy a meal. A nature trail winds through a shady coastal forest of scrub oaks and saw palmetto. Boaters and canoeists can launch from a boat ramp on the Intracoastal Waterway. The park has 2 full-facility campgrounds, one situated on the dune above the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and another on the Intracoastal Waterway. Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation offers kayaks, canoes and bicycles rentals. Located in Flagler Beach off Highway A1A.
Rainbow Springs State Park
19158 South West 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, Fla. 34432 | 352-465-8555
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the headsprings. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills, and pavilions. For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved. Tubing is not allowed in the headsprings area of the park. Other restrictions apply to use of the headsprings such as swimming is only allowed in designated areas, no scuba gear, motors on watercraft, etc. Please call ahead to inquire about restrictions. Tubers can launch at the Tube Entrance on SW 180th Avenue Road. The Campground Entrance with a full-facility campground is about nine miles from the day use area. The Headsprings Entrance is located three miles north of Dunnellon on the east side of U.S. 41. The campground is located on S.W. 180th Avenue Road about two miles north of County Road 484 and two miles south of State Road 40. The Tube Entrance is located 1.4 miles south of the campground Entrance on SW 180th Avenue Road.
12901 Moss Park Road, Orlando, Fla. 32832 | 407-254-6840
Tent and RV camping are available at this park; reservations can only be made 45 days in advance. For more information on sites and how to make a reservation, click here. Pets and alcohol are NOT allowed in the park. Regular Park Admission Fee: $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people and $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people. Florida Family State Parks
De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Blvd., De Leon Springs, Fla. 32130 | 386-985-4212
Welcome to De Leon Springs State Park! The outstanding feature of the 625 acre park is the spring, overlooking beautiful Spring Garden Run, producing 19 million gallons of water a day at 72 degrees year-round. The swimming area is accessible by stairs, ramp, and a swimmer lift. Lifeguards are provided during the summer months only and pets are not allowed in or near the swimming area. SCUBA Diving is limited to classes by certified instructors only. Snorkeling is a popular activity but access into the cave is prohibited. Canoes, paddleboats and kayaks may be rented from the park’s concession. The park’s paddling trail provides access to the 22,000 acre Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, with lakes, creeks and marshes to explore. The free boat ramp, with dock, can accommodate boats up to about 20 feet, with the St. Johns River a distance of about 10 miles. Fishing is excellent in the spring run from the shore or the fishing dock. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required for visitors between 16 and 65 years of age. Bow fishing is permitted in the park’s section of the spring run between sunset and 8:00 a.m. Birding is great, and the park is on the Great Florida Birding Trail.
Picnic tables, grills and a playground are available under the grand live oak trees, with four pavilions available for rent. Two additional pavilions are free, first-come, first served. All are near the spring and restrooms. Visitors can hike the 4.2 mile Wild Persimmon Hiking Trail or take a leisurely stroll on the one-half mile paved Nature Trail to see the 600 year-old cypress tree. The Butterfly Garden has about 500 plants for the benefit of resident and migrating butterflies and hummingbirds. The park offers interpretation of its cultural and natural history through kiosks and signs throughout the park and exhibits in the Visitor Center. Park Ranger programs, covering a variety of topics, are offered during the Fall and Winter months.
The popular Sugar Mill Restaurant, located in a 100 year-old replica of the original 1830s sugar mill, features cook-your-own pancakes at the table and freshly made bread and cookies. Books and gift items are also available. The Fountain of Youth Eco/Heritage boat tour aboard the M/V Acuera, departing four times daily, is a 50 minute trip through Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where alligators and birds abound.
Lake Griffin State Park
3089 U.S. Highway 441-27, Fruitland Park, Fla. 34731 | 352-360-6760
The park is home to a mammoth, centuries-old oak tree as well as many other plant and animal species, including some that are threatened and endangered. In fact, this centuries-old tree, located in the southeastern corner of the park is the 2nd largest Live Oak tree in the State of Florida and is estimated to be 300 – 500 years old. This magnificent tree has been a local landmark for decades, is a must-see while visiting the park, and can be found nearby at the end of our nature trail.
The park encompasses 620 acres and provides visitor access to Lake Griffin through the Dead River Marsh. At 9,400 acres, Lake Griffin is the 8th largest lake in the State of Florida and is one of nine lakes in the Harris Chain of Lakes. Anglers will find plenty of largemouth bass, bluegill, speckled perch, and catfish. Visitors can observe the park’s wildlife while picnicking or strolling along the half-mile nature trail. Our serene campground beckons travelers to spend the night or an entire vacation here.
We offer 40 campsites, many of which are shaded by a beautiful canopy of majestic oak trees. All campsites have water and electricity, 10 sites have 50-amp electric service, 7 sites are pull-through sites, and 7 sites have sewer hook-ups. Showers, restrooms and laundry facilities are conveniently located in the campground. All campground facilities are accessible to all visitors.
Visitors to the park seeking to experience the great outdoors can take a walk on our nature trail, explore the lake on one of our rental canoes or kayaks, rent a campsite, go geo-caching, launch a boat, fish from our boat dock or just relax!
Suwannee River State Park
3631 201st Path, Live Oak, Fla. 32060 | 386-362-2746
About a quarter mile past the ranger station, a high bluff overlooks the spot where the Withlacoochee River joins the Suwannee River on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Vestiges of history in the park show how important the Suwannee River was to Florida history. Along the river are long mounds of earthworks built during the Civil War to guard against incursions by Union Navy gunboats. Other remnants from the past include one of the state´s oldest cemeteries, and a paddle-wheel shaft from a 19th century steamboat. Five trails, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles, loop through surrounding woodlands and provide panoramic views of the rivers. Other activities include fishing, picnicking, and canoeing; for overnight stays, the park has a full-facility campground and cabins.
Lake Louisa State Park
7305 U.S. Highway 27, Clermont, Fla. 34714 | 352-394-3969
A short drive from Orlando, this 4,500 acre park is noted for its beautiful lakes, rolling hills and scenic landscapes. Lake Louisa, the largest in a chain of 13 lakes, is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water Way. Lake Louisa, Hammond Lake and Dixie Lake, the park’s most accessible lakes, provide opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The park is home to 11 distinct natural plant communities and lies within the eastern most boundary of the Green Swamp (Area of Critical State Concern) and the northern most boundary of the Lake Wales Ridge. The presence of white-tail deer, bobcat, fox squirrel, raccoon, gopher tortoise, bald eagle, osprey and cypress fringed lakes makes nature study a great pastime. The park is located on US Highway 27, seven miles south of State Road 50 in Clermont.
Tomoka State Park
2099 North Beach Street, Ormond Beach, Fla. 32174 | 386-676-4050
Native Americans once dwelled here, living off fish-filled lagoons. Today, these waters are popular for canoeing, boating, and fishing. The park protects a variety of wildlife habitats and endangered species, such as the West Indian manatee. Tomoka is a bird-watcher’s paradise, with over 160 species sighted, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Visitors can stroll a one-half mile nature trail through a hardwood hammock that was once an indigo field for an 18th century British landowner. A boat ramp gives boaters and canoeists access to the river. The Park Store offers snacks, camping supplies, and canoe rentals. Contact 386-673-0022 for more information. For overnight stays, the park has full-facility campsites and youth camping.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
33104 NW 192nd Ave., Okeechobee, Fla. 34972 | 863-462-5360
This 54,000 acre preserve protects the largest remaining stretch of Florida dry prairie, home to an array of endangered plants and animals. While driving the five-mile-long road into the preserve, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of grasslands reminiscent of the Great Plains of the Midwest. The preserve offers excellent seasonal birding opportunities and is home to the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, as well as the Crested Caracara and Burrowing Owl. More than 100 miles of dirt roads allow hikers, bicyclists and equestrians to explore prairies, wetlands and shady hammocks. November through March, ranger-led prairie buggy tours allow visitors to see remote areas of the preserve. Kissimmee Prairie’s remoteness makes it one of Florida’s premier locations for stargazing. For overnight stays, the Preserve has two full-facility campground loops: family and an equestrian campground with paddocks. Proof of current negative Coggins test is required for all horses.
The park is located 33 miles northwest of Okeechobee via U.S. 441 and County Road 724. Florida Family State Parks
Wekiwa Springs State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, Fla. 32712 | 407-884-2009
Located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, the beautiful vistas within this park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fished and hunted these lands. Just one hour from most central Florida attractions, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring.
Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Canoe and kayak rentals are available from the park’s concessionaire. Options for camping include a full facility campground and primitive camping areas.
This is a very popular park, particularly on summer weekends. To ensure entrance, we recommend arriving early; otherwise, the parking area will be full and you may not be able to enter.
Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, Fla. 33715 | 727-582-2267
Whether you are sitting on the beach or kayaking near the still water’s edge at Fort De Soto, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty for as far as the eye can see. Th complexity of the ecology is not immediately apparent, but the park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. Emerging from the wealth of bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life is the majestic tapestry called Fort De Soto.
The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, Fort De Soto park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands (keys). These keys are home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, hardwoods and scores of native plants. Each of these species plays a vital role in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
Blue Springs State Park
2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, Fla. 32763 | 386-775-3663
Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2,600 acres, including the largest spring on the St. John’s River. Blue Spring is a designated manatee refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. During manatee season, which approximately runs from mid-November through March, several hundred manatee can be viewed atop the spring’s overlooks on cold days. The spring and spring run are closed to all water activity from mid-November to at least mid-March. Swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted; this rule is strictly enforced.
The spring’s crystal clear, 73-degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers, and certified scuba divers with a partner during our designated swimming season. Fishing, canoeing, and boating are also enjoyed along the St. John’s River. River boat tours are available; for reservations, call St. Johns River Cruises at (386) 917-0724.
A self-guided tour inside the historic Thursby house, built at the height of the steamboat era in 1872, can also be experienced. In addition the park has plenty of picnic areas as well as three covered pavilions. Air-conditioned cabins and a full-facility campground are available for visitors interested in staying overnight.
Silver Springs State State
1425 NE 58th Ave., Ocala, Fla. 34470 | 352-236-7148
Silver Springs State Park combines the charm of a historic Florida attraction with the crystal clear beauty of one of the last uninhabited spring runs in the state.
There are three entrances to Silver Springs State Park. The main entrance is located on State Road 40 at 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Silver Springs, FL 34488. The camping & Museum entrance is located on State Road 35 at 1425 NE 58th Avenue, Ocala FL 34470. The equestrian entrance is located approximately 1.3 miles east of the Main Entrance on State Road 40.
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
100 Savannah Blvd., Micanopy, Fla. 32667 | 352-466-3397
Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.
More than 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife and livestock, including alligators, bison, horses and more than 270 species of birds. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the area´s natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.
Eight trails provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling, including the 16 mile long, paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Fishing on Lake Wauburg is allowed and a boat ramp provides access for canoes and boats with electric motors. Gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Full-facility campsites are available for overnight visitors. Annual special events include Stargazing Party, Paynes Prairie 5K, and Fire Fest. Other events and ranger programs are available on weekends, November through April. Florida Family State Parks
Bulow Creek State Park
3351 Old Dixie Highway, Ormond Beach, Fla. 32174 | 386-676-4050
Bulow Creek protects nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. The highlight of Bulow Creek is one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida’s east coast. The reigning tree is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the South. For more than 400 years it has been a silent witness to human activities along Bulow Creek, including the destruction of the neighboring Bulow Plantation during the Second Seminole War in 1836.
Several trails allow hikers to explore the interior of the park, where visitors can see white-tailed deer, barred owls and raccoons. The Bulow Woods Trail, nearly seven miles long, takes hikers to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Visitors can picnic in a shady pavilion or at a table on the lawn within view of the Fairchild Oak.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White, Fla. 32038 | 386-497-4690
The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. In 1972, the head spring of the river was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U. S. Department of the Interior. From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area. In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing. October through March scuba diving is available in the Blue Hole only (you MUST be Cave Certified). White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park. A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238.
Caladesi Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, Fla. 34698 | 727-469-5918
As one of the few completely natural islands along Florida´s Gulf Coast, Caladesi´s white sand beaches were rated America’s Best Beach in 2008. Beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing and beachcombing. Saltwater anglers can cast a line from their boats or surf fish. Nature enthusiasts can spot wildlife while hiking the three mile nature trail through the island’s interior or paddling a three mile kayak trail through the mangroves and bay. Picnic tables and shelters are located near the beach, and picnic pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has a marina with electric and water hookups, as well as a snack bar and gift shop. The park is accessible by boat or ferry. Ferry service is provided by the Caladesi Island Ferry (727) 734-1501and departs from Honeymoon Island State Park.
Florida’s state parks are committed to providing equal access to all facilities and programs. Beach wheelchairs are available upon request. Should you need assistance to enable your participation, please contact the Ranger Station at (727) 469-5918.
Honeymoon Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, Fla. 34698 | 727-469-5942
Nature lovers will find osprey nests, a wide variety of shorebirds, and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida. The park boasts several nature trails and bird observation areas. Visitors can swim, fish, and snorkel in the warm waters of the Gulf or picnic while they enjoy the beautiful scenery. Shelling is particularly good here, as the Gulf currents deposit an incredible variety of seashells on the shore. Showers are available and the park’s concession has a gift shop and snack bar. Located at the extreme west end of State Road 586.
Disclaimer: These start parks often close out, so be sure to arrive early for a fun family day at the parks. Open/close times and details are subject to change, so be sure to call and check on park access prior to departing. Florida Family State Parks