Florida State Parks are some of the greatest in the nation because of the diverse beauty found throughout the state. The 159 state parks in Florida offer a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, boating, and cultural and historic exhibitions. At some of Florida's state parks visitors can even enjoy snorkeling and diving in the crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Central Florida State Parks are tourist favorites because of their variety of landscapes and outdoor activities. Beach lovers can enjoy sunny Flagler Beach at the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area. This Florida State Park offers ocean side camping in a fully equipped campground, as well as many recreational opportunities, including the popular beach and a refreshing nature trail. Bring along your Coleman inflatable sit-on-top kayak and enjoy boating through the Intracoastal Waterway on one side of this Central Florida State Park.
Another great Central Florida State Park for boating, as well as exploration of Florida's rich history, is the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Guests are not allowed to camp overnight at this national historic landmark, but the park makes a terrific day trip. Visitors can walk through the trails surrounding the plantation ruins and see various interpretive demonstrations about the site's history. Picnicking, fishing, and boating along Bulow Creek are also popular activities.
Also in central Florida, Faver-Dykes State Park is a favorite for bird watching and canoe camping. This Florida State Park, just south of St. Augustine, borders peaceful Pellicer Creek, a state canoe trail. Guests to the park can enjoy picnicking, camping, and fishing. There are several nature trails throughout the park for a closer look at the abundant wild life, including otter, deer, hawks, and herons. Canoe rentals are also available.
To experience a life long forgotten in Central Florida, visit Lake Kissimmee State Park, only a shot drive from America's most popular vacation destination, Orlando, Florida. Lake Kissimmee State Park is home to 3 beautiful lakes that are perfect for fishing, boating, or simply enjoying the area wildlife that includes bald eagles, cranes, and even wild bobcat. Living history demonstrations are also available at the restored cow ranch like the ones in the area more than a century ago. Full facility camping is available at this popular Central Florida State Park, as well as primitive and group camping facilities, and there are over 13 miles of hiking and riding trails through the scenic park.
The amazing beauty of unique Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, Florida draws visitors from all over for all sorts of occasions. The large, air conditioned Civic Center is a popular location for meetings and weddings, while the 1800 sq. ft. wired picnic pavilion is perfect for receptions, family reunions, and other large gatherings. Smaller picnic tables are also available, as well as many miles of hiking trails through the breathtaking azalea gardens planted throughout the once barren ravine.
Florida State Parks are so popular with tourists from across the nation that the state division of parks and recreation has developed an informative guide to the 159 wondrous parks. Called Passport to Florida State Parks, the book is available through the state parks division.