Visiting Florida State Parks
- Marcea Cazel
When people think of visiting Florida, a lot of times they immediately think of visiting Disney or going to Harry Potter world. While those are fun, there’s more to Florida than amusement parks. Like visiting the Florida State Parks.
With an average cost of entry to each park of $3 to $8 per car, it’s very inexpensive to learn more about Florida’s ecosystem and history. Another great perk? The parks are so vastly different you can be at the beach on the west coast of the state one trip, be visiting Florida’s highest waterfall and natural sinkholes the next and then head off to the battlefield where the Second Seminole War began.
To put all of this perspective and help Florida visitors and residents decide which parks are right for them, I’m going to be blogging about my visit to each of the 175 venues in the Florida Park Service system. I’m really excited about this and although there are blogs here written previously about parks such as Blue Spring and the Ybor Museum, updated posts will be written about them. I’ve previously written exclusively about Weeki Wachee, and won’t be creating a new blog for that park.
What We’ll Be Talking About
Every park is different but there are a few things that are consistent to most locations. So we’ll be talking about each park and mentioning Things To Do, Rentals, Accommodations, Pet Friendly and Food & Restrooms. We’ll try to be fairly standard so readers can compare each park as equally as possible.
Annual Passes and State Parks Passport
There are couple of tools to use when going to the state parks that will make the trips easier. The first is the Florida State Parks Annual Pass. This pass provides entrance to each park for a flat fee ($60 for individuals or $120 for a pass that allows entrance to up to 8 people to each park). It’s perfect for full-time residents, snowbirds or even those who want to visit Florida RV parks. Did you know that many of the Florida state parks offer camping facilities, including those for RVs?
Another is the State Parks Passport, which will help me keep track of which park has been visited and how many more there are to go. The passport can be purchased at select state parks and is divided into 8 categories to help you locate the one closest to your region. Every time you visit a park you get your passport stamped by a park ranger; once you’ve gotten all of your stamps, you’ll receive a free annual family pass!
How Long Will It Take??
According to a park ranger at Honeymoon Island, it takes the average person 3 to 4 years to visit all of the parks. It might take longer than that to produce all of the blogs. But my love of the natural beauty of the state of Florida will get me through. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!