The Ultimate List of Florida National Parks
If you’re planning a Florida vacation and looking for a list of Florida National Parks, check it out! Florida offers eleven National Parks and most of them are very different from the others. From Everglades National Park to Dry Tortugas, Florida offers something for everyone in their National Parks.
At Florida Travel with Kids, we’ve visited most of these National Parks and highly recommend them! Which Florida National Park is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. We say it’s hard to beat Dry Tortugas National Park!
America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series
Do you plan on visiting multiple national parks in Florida or throughout the United States?
If you do, I highly recommend purchasing the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series. This pass will allow you to gain entry into any of the land managed by the National Park Service, as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
You can purchase one of these passes when you visit one of the national parks or you can order one online here. If you have a fourth grader, like Garrick, you can get a pass for free!
The current cost for this pass is $80 for ages 16-62. Seniors will pay $20 for a year or $80 for a lifetime pass.
Members of the military will get an annual pass for free. Veterans and Gold Star family members will receive a lifetime pass for free.
The pass is non-transferable. Therefore, the pass owner must be in the vehicle when entering any national park for it to be valid.
Are you flying into Florida? Get a cheap rental car!
If you decide to rent a car during your trip to visit Florida National Parks, I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental.
Whenever I need to rent a car, I use Discount USA Car Rental; you can use it at all major Florida airports (and even most of the smaller ones!) and rent from large companies such as Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, etc., at discounted prices.
List of Florida National Parks
Here is a list of the Florida National Parks, listed in no particular order.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Just to the north of Everglades National Park is Big Cypress National Preserve. This is one of the national parks in Florida that is free to visit.
I recommend stopping at the Oasis Visitor Center when you arrive. This will allow you to ask the rangers questions before heading out on an adventure.
Plus, there is a boardwalk near the visitor center. That boardwalk is perfect for alligator sightings!
Birdwatching is best as you hike along a trail. Most of the trails will take you through the swamp. Be prepared to get wet and muddy along the way.
You can head out on a hike by yourself. However, going with a naturalist is an excellent way to ensure you don’t miss any wildlife hanging out near the trail.
Spending time inside Big Cypress National Preserve during the day is fun. But the park comes to life after sunset. This is when the pitch-black sky brightens up with stars.
Biscayne National Park
There are a couple of national parks in Florida that are practically completely underwater. Biscayne National Park is one of them. Dry Tortugas National Park is another one. I will share more about Dry Tortugas shortly.
You will find this national park in Biscayne Bay. The park protects coral reefs, shorelines, and the nearby islands.
One of the best ways to see this national park is via a boat tour. There are different boat tours offered. Choose the one that fits your family’s needs the best. Only you know whether that includes the area’s history, scuba diving, or paddling a kayak.
I prefer snorkeling amongst the six sunken shipwrecks. You will find these shipwrecks along the Maritime Heritage Trail.
Your time inside this park will allow you to see plenty of fish. As well as sea turtles, manatees, and numerous bird species.
There isn’t an entrance fee for this park. Feel free to visit as often as you want to enjoy the area’s beauty while sticking to your vacation budget!
Canaveral National Seashore
The Canaveral National Seashore can be found on the Atlantic Coast. The 24 miles of shoreline is located on a barrier island. This island is between Titusville and New Smyrna Beach.
This national seashore is full of sand dunes, lagoons, and hammocks. And they are all protected from future development.
One of the most fascinating spots here is Turtle Mound. It is an ancient mound that the Timucua people created. Climb to the top of the mound carefully to see views of the ocean and Mosquito Lagoon.
During a visit to the Canaveral National Seashore, you can check out the nests of sea turtles. Bald eagles can be seen soaring up in the sky.
One of the favorite activities to do in this park is watching the rockets launch. You will want to plan your visit carefully if you want to be there to see a rocket soar into space.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
The history at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument can be quite dark. But as the oldest masonry fort in the US still stands, it is worthy of your time.
Tour the fort to learn about how the building was used throughout the years. And pay close attention to the information about when Chief Osceola and Geronimo were imprisoned here.
The entry fee to this national monument is $15 for adults aged 16 and older. Once the fee is paid, the ticket is valid for 7 days in a row.
Make sure to check out things to do in St. Augustine with Kids for more things to do in the area.
De Soto National Memorial
The De Soto National Memorial is located in Tampa Bay. It was created to recognize the arrival of Hernando de Soto in this area.
One of the best things to do at this national memorial is to watch the living history demonstrations. These demonstrations show what life was like when de Soto arrived in Tampa Bay.
This is one of the national park sites in Florida that does not require an entrance fee.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park consists mostly of water. So, this will be one of the unique national parks you visit in Florida!
There are seven small islands within Dry Tortugas National Park. Those islands comprise 1% of dry land within this national park.
When you are on dry land, you can visit Fort Jefferson. Out in the water, it is all about snorkeling and diving.
The entrance fee for this national park is currently $15 per person. However, that fee will allow a person to visit the park for 7 days in a row.
You can only reach Dry Tortugas National Park by seaplane or boat. If you arrive by seaplane, you will need to pay the entry fee to the park when you arrive. If you take the ferry over, your entrance fee is included in the cost of your ferry ticket.
You can learn more about how to visit Dry Tortugas National Park. I wrote an entire blog post about it for you!
Everglades National Park
The most well-known park on the list of Florida national parks is Everglades National Park. You will find this national park in the southern area of Florida.
If you choose to fly into Miami, you can reach Everglades National Park in approximately an hour.
You will see lots of wildlife within the Everglades, including endangered species like the West Indian manatee, American alligator, and Florida panther.
The best way to explore this Florida national park is via airboat. There are quite a few tour operators that will take you through the grassy marshes on their airboats. I recommend Wild Florida Airboat.
However, you can also kayak or canoe through the marshy waters. I recommend you follow the Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail if you choose this option.
Hiking in Everglades National Park
Another option is to hike the trails through Everglades National Park. There are dozens of hiking trails to choose from in this national park in Florida.
The most popular hiking trails include Bear Lake Trail, Anhinga Trail, and Bayshore Loop.
The best time to visit this national park is during the winter. There are fewer mosquitos between December and March. Plus, it isn’t as hot and humid during those months.
This park is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. However, the visitor center is only open during the day. The hours at the visitor center also vary according to the season.
There is an entrance fee to this park. You can easily purchase a digital pass online. Or pay when you arrive at the park.
It is important to note the entrance fee is separate from the fees you will pay for camping, rentals, and tours.
Fort Caroline National Memorial
Most of the forts in Florida were designed by the Spanish. However, Fort Caroline was constructed by the French.
The French did not fare too well here after their arrival. Therefore, the history available at this fort is short and sweet. It doesn’t mean you should skip visiting this amazing national park area.
After all, you won’t want to miss out on hiking the nature trails and or watching the dolphins frolic in the St. John’s River.
There is even an audio tour you can listen to while wandering around.
This national park area is free to visit. So, add it to your list of things to do while on a family vacation in Jacksonville, Florida!
Fort Matanzas National Monument
The Fort Matanzas National Monument is in St. Augustine. Within the 300 acres of parkland, you will find an 18th-century watchtower. There are also marshlands, a maritime forest, and wetlands.
This fort was constructed in 1742 by the Spanish. I recommend taking the time to explore the watchtower after the fort.
You can also wander along the nature trail to see local wildlife and flowers.
There is no entry fee to visit this national monument. There is also no fee to take the ferry over to the fort. You can obtain passes for the ferry from the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
This seashore is on the opposite side of the state from Canaveral National Seashore. You will find the Gulf Islands National Seashore up near Pensacola.
This area is excellent for swimming, boating, hiking, and checking out wildlife. One of the best activities is biking along the Florida National Scenic Trail.
There is an entrance fee for the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The fee can be paid per person or vehicle. The pass for a single person is currently $15. A pass for everyone inside a vehicle is $25.
You can purchase passes for a single day or for up to 7 days in a row. The good news about these passes is you can use them at all 4 different entry points of this national seashore.
Those entry points include the Perdido Key Area, Okaloosa Area, Fort Pickens Area, and Opal Beach in the Santa Rosa Area.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
The salt marshes within this preserve are an estuary for mammals, fish, and birds. If you can tear yourself away from the marshes, take the time to visit the 16th-century fort.
This is an excellent place to learn about the Timucua people, as well as the early French colonists.
Head out on a hike through the Theodore Roosevelt Area. Or check out the Kingsley Plantation.
You may capture a glimpse of oak trees and Palmetto trees here. Keep your camera ready to snap pictures of everything you experience. This way, you have proof when you return home with stories of your adventures to tell your friends.
A list of Florida National Parks
I hope this list of Florida National Parks helps you decide which National Park in Florida to visit. Or why not visit them all?
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About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
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