The U.S. National Park Service preserves our country's most scenic, majestic, and delicate natural treasures. Florida has 11 parks, monuments, and preserves in the National Park System. And that means most of them are close enough to make a day or a weekend out of your visit. And it's always a great time to visit any of the National Parks in Florida!
The National Park Service is also currently offering an annual pass to its 2000+ sites for adults 16 years and up (children 15 and under are always free). With the America the Beautiful pass, priced at $80 per year, you get free admission to National Park and wildlife refuges, as well as waived amenity and day use fees at national forests and grasslands. For sites with a per-vehicle fee, the pass covers admission, amenity fees, and day use fees for everyone in the car. While many sites in Florida's National Parks are free, it's still a fantastic deal if you're planning to visit National Parks in Florida or anywhere else across the country, or if you plan to visit a site with fees frequently.
Here are all 11 of Florida's national parks, monuments, and preserves. We'll start with the closest one to home and gradually move further away.
Not to be confused with Fort De Soto Park at the bottom tip of Pinellas County, which was named after the explorer who arrived at the south end of Tampa Bay some 350 years before the fort was built. The De Soto National Monument in Bradenton marks the approximate place where Hernando De Soto's exploration of the west coast of Florida began in 1539. De Soto National Monument offers ranger-led kayak tours, a visitor center, theater, summer camps and fishing camps for kids, and other events such as an annual reenactment of De Soto landing at the site. The park is open every day except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and admission is free.
Big Cypress National Preserve - Ochopee, FL
Dry Tortugas National Park - 70 miles west of Key West, FL
With 46,000 acres of wetlands in northeastern Duval County, the Timucan Ecological and Historical preserve offers great diversity. Inside Theodore Roosevelt Area offers visitors five different Florida ecosystems in one hike, from large grasslands to massive piles of discarded oyster shell. The Ribault Club is a recently restored golf club from the 1920's, and you can tour its home of Fort George Island via either hike or Segway. You can also take in the park by kayak by bringing your own or renting from the onsite vendor. It's a wonderful way to experience everything available with plenty of ingress and egress for smaller seacraft.
Some of the world's most beautiful beaches make up this linear national park. The eastern end of Gulf Islands National Seashore starts near Destin and runs continuously all the way to Perdido Key near the border with Alabama. The Florida section of this park includes Fort Pickens, southwest of Pensacola; Fort Barrancas on the site of NAS Pensacola; and Opal Beach, formed in 1995 when Hurricane Opal flattened sand dunes near Pensacola Beach. Among the many activities available to visitors are swimming, camping, bicycling, snorkeling, beachcombing, fishing, and hiking. The Gulf Islands National Seashore sites require a $10 per person entrance fee to visit the Florida attractions. The national seashore continues through to Mississippi.
Looking for more forms of recreation in Tampa Bay and beyond? Need more info not just about National Parks in Florida, but other things to do in our state? Stay here at 813area, 727area, 407area, 941area, 954area, 305area, and all our other sites here in Florida. And best of all, it's free!
Photo from PxHere of Everglades National Park.