Best State Parks in Florida [Map & Guides]

The best state parks in Florida offer some of the best nature experiences in the world. Some people like to visit Florida state parks once or twice a year, while others prefer an annual Florida state parks pass, which allows unlimited visits throughout the year. Even without a pass, state parks in Florida are affordable spots to visit and perfect for nature lovers. Below are Florida’s best state parks, maps, costs, opening times, and guides.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

jonathan dickinson state park

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is over 10,000 acres, making it the largest state park in southeast Florida. It’s the only park in South Florida with an ancient sand dune 86 feet above sea level. The main feature of Jonathan Dickinson State Park is the Loxahatchee River.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is great for history buffs. The park has several historical interests, including a secret World War II training camp. It’s also the home site of Trapper Nelson, a shipwrecked Quaker merchant. His pioneer homestead is located on the park’s premises. Curious visitors can take Ranger-guided tours of his 1930s property.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is one of the best state parks in Florida for glamping. The park has deluxe 400-square-foot safari tents. The roomy tents are tastefully decorated, with comfortable beds, electrical outlets to charge devices, AC and heating units, mini-fridges, and a coffee maker. The tents are perfect for large families or large groups of friends. The fee to visit the park is $6 per vehicle. Jonathan Dickinson State Park is at 16450 SE Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, Florida.

Avalon State Park

avalon state park fort pierce florida

Avalon State Park is a special spot on the Treasure Coast. The park is perched on 650 acres and stretches across dunes, mangrove forests, and a coastal hammock along the Indian River lagoon. Wildflowers and sea oats surround the beach, and the park has impressive dunes to take in the stunning water view. Snorkelers can find interesting artifacts left behind from amphibious warfare exercises during World War II.

Avalon State Park is also known for its turtles. Endangered sea turtles nest on the beach in the spring and summer months. Lucky visitors might find loggerhead, leatherback, and a nest of Atlantic green turtles. Leatherback turtles are easier to spot as they can weigh up to 1500 pounds and grow to seven feet long. In addition to turtles, beachgoers might see hundreds of shorebirds, including egrets, plovers, herons, and loons. Avalon State Park is in Fort Pierce along State Road A1A, North Hutchinson Island, Florida.

John D. MacArthur State Park

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

John D. MacArthur State Park has two self-guiding nature trails: the Dune Trail, which goes south through the park, and the Satinleaf Trail, which goes through a maritime hammock that is slightly elevated over the surrounding land.  The park also offers paddling tours and paddle board rentals. Being on the water at MacArthur Beach State Park offers an incredible way to see wildlife like manatees, snooks, dolphins, and various birds and fish. Visitors enjoy kayaking and paddling along the calm waters of the park’s estuary. The park’s boardwalks offer a close-up view, a fish and other sea life.

The park also has a nature center, which has insightful exhibits about the park’s unique ecosystem. The cost to visit is $5 per vehicle. The park is at 10900 Jack Nicholas Dr., North Palm Beach, Florida.

Seabranch Preserve State Park

seabranch preserve hobe sound

Seabranch Preserve State Park is perfect for exploring rare pine scrub, mangroves, scrubby flatwoods, and other natural habitats. The park system has four miles of trails, providing an ideal place for hikers to explore the wonders of nature. Seabranch Preserve State Park is a habitat for bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, gopher turtles, scrub jays, and bobcats.

Hiking trails at the park are divided into three sections: North, South, and East. The North and South Trails are for exploring pine scrub, an endangered habitat. The trail is filled with white sugar sand and beautiful pine trees overhead. The East Trail is composed of pine flatwoods and baygall swamp. The East Trail is ideal for those who want to see bay trees and saw palmetto. The areas are dense, and trails are not marked, so visitors should bring a compass or iPhone app for assistance. It’s also essential to grab a Florida state park map before hiking.

Seabranch Preserve State Park also has a refurbished butterfly garden. Visitors are encouraged to picnic in the beautiful garden. The park is free to enter and is located at 6093 S. East Dixie Highway, Stuart, Florida.

Savanna Preserve State Park

savannah preserve state park port st lucie

Savanna Preserve is a scenic, beautiful, untouched, and unspoiled area of southeast Florida. The park protects some of the basin marsh extending throughout South Florida. Photographers love the park because of its diverse habitat. The scenic park is also a unique spot for those looking for Port St. Lucie wedding venues in a state park setting.

Savanna Preserve State Park has over 17 miles of trails that can be used to find the perfect picture. Trails are multi-use and great for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Guided hikes are also available. Guests can venture through flatwoods and hammocks and learn about native and non-native species. One of the most popular trails in the park is the Glass Lizard Trail, which is a quarter mile long. The trail is easy to navigate, with a numbered post along the trail from 1 to 20. Hikers can read a poem at each stop that enhances the nature experience.

The park also hosts guided kayaking programs, where park volunteers lead small groups of visitors on a kayaking tour through the savanna’s marsh. The tour is perfect for people who want to see close-up views of birds, turtles, and frogs. It’s even possible to spot an alligator on rare occasions. Tours usually take one to two hours to complete and occur seasonally every Friday and Saturday starting at 8 AM. Park fees are $3 per vehicle. The park has multiple entrance points (see map above); the most popular is located at 2541 Southeast Walton Rd. Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

Fort Pierce Inlet State Park Lake Kayak

Fort Pierce Inlet State Park and the nearby Jack Island Preserve comprise over 1,000 acres. The park has a beautiful half-mile beach, perfect for enjoying the sun, kayaking, watching the waves, or swimming. Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is a surfers’ paradise, regularly hosting surfing competitions. The park has a jetty, which creates the perfect ocean wave energy for surfers.

Part of the state park includes Dynamite Point, which used to be a Navy training site during World War II. Today, Dynamite Point is an excellent place to birdwatch. The state park was designated as a prime stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail because it’s home to more than 300 species of birds that migrate through the area.

People also love the flora and fauna that grow on the dunes. Nature lovers can easily find dune sunflowers, Spanish bayonets, Indian blanket flowers, and beach morning glory vines. There is a $6 fee per vehicle, but veterans can enter the park for free. Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is located at 905 Shorewinds Dr., Fort Pierce, Florida.

Sebastian Inlet State Park

sebastian inlet state park

Sebastian Inlet State Park is in a beautiful area where the Indian River Lagoon mixes with the Atlantic Ocean. The habitat creates nutrient-rich waters and is the perfect environment for sea life. It’s not unusual to see dolphins, manatees, and large schools of fish swimming in the area.

Visitors to Sebastian Inlet State Park can also learn about history. Two museums are on site: the McLarty Treasure Museum is a great place to learn about the 1715 Spanish treasure fleet. The Sebastian Fishing Museum provides a fascinating history of the region’s fishing industry.

Sebastian Inlet is one the best state parks in Florida with RV camping. A campground for RVs and campers is available near the boat ramp. The park has 51 campsites with water, electricity, picnic tables, and a place to build a fire. Visitors with an appetite can visit BG’s Surfside Grill and grab a bite.

The park is well worth the price of a Florida state park pass. The cost to visit Sebastian Inlet State Park is $8 per vehicle. The park is at 9700 South Highway, A1A, Melbourne Beach, Florida.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

ichetucknee springs florida state park

Ichetucknee Springs State Park was rated the top state park in Florida by Travel and Leisure Magazine. People visit the state park for spring-fed rivers and excellent swimming holes. It’s a prime spot for a relaxing day on the water and the best state park in Florida for tubing. The park’s main attraction is the crystal-clear springs that join to create the Ichetucknee River.

The park comprises nearly 2,700 acres of wildlife. Nature explorers can find beavers, turtles, wild turkeys, otters, wood ducks, and other interesting critters in the park. Multiple nature trails are available to guide explorers through the lush forest environment. Hikers can explore the Trestle Point Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, or Discovery Trail. The cost to visit is $6 per vehicle. Ichetucknee Springs State Park is at 12087 SW U.S. Highway 27, Fort White, Florida. Below is a Florida state park map for Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

wakulla springs florida state park

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a place of wonder. It’s home to the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs, containing diverse wildlife. Many people visit the park for guided boat tours, which is the best way to explore the area.

The park offers glass-bottom boat tours and riverboat tours. The riverboat tour on the Wakulla River is 45 minutes to an hour long and takes nature explorers on a two-mile loop downstream. It’s the perfect place to bring a camera and capture majestic bald cypress trees, manatees, and wading birds. Boat tours are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. Children under three can ride for free. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park also features an elegant and stunning lodge. The lodge has a restaurant and an ice cream shop. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park costs $6 per vehicle. The park is at 465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, Florida.

Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park

st sebastian river state park florida

Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park has 23 distinct habitats on over 20,000 acres, including swamps, scrub ridges, and cypress domes. It’s home to many species of wildlife. Visitors can spot Whitetail deer, quail, bobcats, wild turkeys, alligators, and unique birds, like scrub jays and red-cockaded woodpeckers. The park is popular among birdwatchers and photographers.

Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park has nine primitive camping sites. It’s ideal for people who want to connect with nature and enjoy the peacefulness of being outdoors. The park has an extensive trail system with over 60 miles of multi-use trails for biking, horseback riding, or walking. The most popular trail is the Turkey Loop Trail, which is 3.5 miles long.

Saint Sebastian River Preserve State Park is dog-friendly, but dogs must be on a six-inch leash. Visitors should bring water, a hat, and good hiking shoes to explore. The park does not have an entrance fee. It’s located at 1000 Buffalo Preserve Dr., Fellsmere, Florida.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

pennekamp florida state park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is renowned for being the nation’s first undersea park. It’s one of a kind and perfect for people who want to see coral reefs and explore marine life. The park is comprised of 70 nautical square miles. Boat tours are available and easily accessible to park visitors.

Sea divers and snorkelers will find pipefish, seahorses, orange sea stars, lettuce sea slugs, oysters, multicolor sponges, and many species of algae. The area is also filled with crabs, shrimp, and baby lobsters. It’s not unusual to occasionally spot larger sea animals like sea turtles, tarpons, dolphins, and manatees. Visitors who prefer to stay on land can visit the Visitor Center, which has large saltwater aquariums and a theater that shows nature videos. The park also has a few short trails which wander through tropical hammocks.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the perfect place to start beach camping in Florida and spend the entire day. After exploring the water, visitors can stop at the Blue Heron Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The cafe is inside the park and has a wide selection of food and drinks. The fee to enter the park is $8 per vehicle plus $.50 per person. The park is at mile marker 102.5 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Florida.

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

kissimmee prairie preserve state park

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park isn’t your typical Florida vacation spot. There, sprawling grasslands replace towering buildings, and the nighttime sky explodes with a million glittering stars.

This remote park is a haven for nature lovers as it is just minutes from Lake Okeechobee. Camp, hike, bike, or horseback ride through endless plains. Keep your eyes peeled for fascinating wildlife, including the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow. Nearby is another point of interest the Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park, so you add that to the itinerary.

The state park is open from 8 AM until sundown every day and costs $4 per vehicle to enter. This is the address for the entrance of the park: 33104 N.W. 192nd Ave. Okeechobee FL 34972.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

fort zachary taylor state park in florida

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is perfect for history lovers who want to learn more about the Civil War. It’s a national historic monument and home to the world’s largest collection of Civil War armaments. Visitors will see unique artifacts and meet knowledgeable tour guides who can offer information about the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Once a month, local reenactors conduct historic demonstrations.

People also visit Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park for the beach, a great place to paddle, swim, picnic, or enjoy the sun. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park offers a one-of-a-kind experience, from birdwatching to swimming to learning more about Key West history.

The park is open all day, making it the perfect place to spend the entire day. Parkers can stop at Cayo Hueso Café to get food or at a small gift shop to pick up memorabilia. The cost to attend the park is $6 per vehicle. The park is located on the southern edge of Key West, Florida, at 601 Howard England Way.

Blue Springs State Park

blue springs florida state park

Blue Springs State Park is known to be the winter home for Florida manatees. Winter is a perfect time to observe the manatees, making the park an ideal destination for a winter getaway in Florida. Manatee season starts from November through March. The peaceful sea creatures take shelter at Blue Springs State Park because of the warm water. The park’s water temperature is consistently between 68 and 72 degrees, providing warmth for the manatees.

However, the unique park is also home to incredible wildlife; visitors might see waders, ospreys, kingfishers, and other birds. The St. Johns River runs through the park and is perfect for canoeing or kayaking. Blue Springs State Park also offers narrated cruises on the river. The park entry fee is $6 per vehicle. Blue Springs State Park is located at 2100 W. French Ave. Orange City, Florida.

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