Florida’s favourite… state parks
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The first designated underwater park in the US, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience a unique aquatic paradise. Located in and around Key Largo, this state park is perfect for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts wanting to explore Florida’s exquisite coral reefs.
With glass-bottomed boat trips, kayak and canoe hire available, you don’t have to venture underwater to enjoy one of Florida’s favourite state parks. There are hammocks to lounge in on the park’s beaches and camping facilities for those feeling a little more adventurous.
Grayton Beach State Park
If you’re looking for a totally unspoilt beach to explore, or simply a tranquil stretch of sand upon which to lie back and soak up the rays, then it’s well worth checking out Grayton Beach State Park in north-west Florida.
Located a little further from the tourist trail, this park doesn’t attract the same volume of visitors as the Sunshine State’s other popular nature attractions. With plenty of trails for cyclists and hikers, fresh and salt-water fishing opportunities and many quiet spots for bird watching, this pristine state park has something for everyone.
Everglades National Park
Globally renowned for its abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery, it’s no surprise that the Everglades National Park has been crowned a World Heritage Site. An enormous expanse of wetland that plays host to the American crocodile, the rare manatee, and hundreds of species of birds, this really is a wonderland for wildlife lovers. With the Gator Park and Everglades Safari Park less than 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Miami, it couldn’t be easier to visit this stunning national park.
De Leon Springs State Park
With an abundance of outdoor activities, De Leon Springs State Park is a favourite among Florida’s visitors. An area of truly outstanding natural beauty, the park is home to shady walking trails, a butterfly garden and tranquil freshwater swimming and fishing opportunities. Catering to families and couples alike, De Leon Springs also has a restaurant and designated picnic area. The park is located within an hour’s drive of Orlando.
A 7,000 acre oasis located less than 30 minutes’ drive from Orlando, Wekiwa Springs is the ideal location for a cooling dip in freshwater pools, or a picnic in the lush parkland surrounding the myriad waterways. There are plenty of nature trails to explore, and horseback riding and bicycle hire are available, as well as canoes and kayaks for those who want to discover the springs’ more secluded spots.