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Wanna know one of the best things to do while RVing in Florida? Check out the amazing Florida state parks, of course! This state park system is one of the best in the country, and our family has had an amazing time exploring these awesome parks for the past few months. 

Not sure which Florida state parks to visit first? Below is a list of our favorites. 

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Originally a privately owned attraction where folks could see mermaids swim in the spring, Weeki Wachee is a Florida classic that everyone should visit at least once. Unlike other state parks, the main focus here is not nature, but the super fun mermaid shows performed in the spring to audiences who watch through glass. 

That said, there is still plenty of nature to be enjoyed. The ranger talk about the animals in the park, as well as the in-park narrated boat ride, are both great ways to learn all about the plants and animals that call this park home. 

During the hot months, you might also like visiting the onsite water park. We didn’t get a chance to do this, but it does look really fun!

Homosassa Springs State Park

This is another of the Florida state parks that was originally a privately owned and operated attraction. Also centered around one of Florida’s many springs, this one was once a small zoo that attracted visitors and locals alike. 

These days, the park is still a zoo of sorts. That said, all of the animals are now Florida natives who need some sort of support and cannot live in the wild. The one exception? Lu the hippopotamus. He is still around from the old days (thanks to a kind mayor who extended honorary citizenship to the pachyderm), and he was a lot of fun to watch. 

When visiting this park, you have the option to park at the West entrance where all the animals are, or park at the main entrance and either walk, take a tram, or ride a boat to the rest of the park. We actually recommend parking at the main entrance so you can take the informative and fun boat ride.

Either way, once you’ve reached the west side, be sure to attend the manatee talk and feeding, and don’t miss the bird enclosure, which might have been my favorite exhibit. 

Sunset at Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park

A huge number of our favorite Florida state parks were down in the Florida Keys. This probably has something to do with the fact that the Florida Keys are absolutely stunning, meaning the parks there are extra beautiful. 

One of the best Florida Keys state parks? Bahia Honda State Park. This park boasts an adorable campground that is just perfect if you plan to take your RV down to the Keys. It also plays host to some of the best beach areas in the Keys, and we ended up playing in the sand and water here on multiple occasions. 

Be sure to catch the sunset from the old bridge while in this park, and listen for the conch shells that are blown as the sun goes down. It is an experience to remember!

John Pennekamp State Park

Further north in the Keys, John Pennekamp State Park is also well worth visiting. This one can actually be reached from the Everglades or from the Miami area if you’re willing to take a day trip, so even if you can’t manage to snag a campsite in the Keys, you can still check out this awesome park. 

The park features a beautiful sandy beach, which our preschooler loved playing in. The main attraction though is the shipwreck located right off the beach. Our snorkel-loving kid and his friends were in heaven here. They swam out to the shipwreck several times during our visit and had a blast checking out the fish that had made themselves at home in the old ship. 

Bonus: If you visit this park, you aren’t too far from the quirky and interesting History of Diving Museum. This is well worth a visit, especially if you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving. Psst… it’s also an ASTC museum!

Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Planning a trip down to Key West? One of our absolute favorite things to do down there is visit Zachary Taylor Historic Park. This park is home to a Civil-war era fort that is tons of fun to explore. There are exhibits set up that give more information on the history of the fort, making this an excellent roadschooling stop.

Of course, the kids just like playing in the fort as well, and the last time we visited, our son and his friends ended up playing a very elaborate historical fiction game. 

After you visit the fort, be sure to head over to the beach. This is another one of the best beaches in the Keys (I’m pretty sure all of the best ones are in state parks). Unfortunately, there are rocks under the water, so we do recommend water shoes. That said, there is some decent snorkeling there, and watching the cruise ships come and go from the beach is pretty incredible. 

Curry Hammock State Park

Yes, yes, I am mentioning another state park in the Keys. This is the last one, I promise. 

Curry Hammock State Park earns its place on this list thanks to its amazing kayaking opportunities. The kayak “trail” we paddled was the mangrove tunnel trail, and it was simply excellent. During our time on this trail, we got to paddle in the open ocean, watch birds in the lagoon, and my favorite part: paddle through a tunnel of mangrove trees. 

Now, let it be known that I am not an experienced kayaker in any way, shape, or form. This meant that we spent a lot of time in our tunnel bumping into trees and getting turned around the wrong way. Somehow I think this just made the whole experience even more fun!

This park does also have a decent beach, and there were tons of little critters in the shallow waters on the beach that were fun to watch. We recommend leaving a little time for the beach after your paddle. 

Blue Springs State Park

Unfortunately, we still haven’t made it to Blue Springs State Park, despite it being on our Florida to-do list for a few years now. That said, my mom did make it over there during her visit to the state and had a wonderful time. 

When she visited, there were dozens of manatees in the water, and she loved walking along the boardwalk and watching them swim around. It is possible to kayak with the manatees in this park, but she visited on a chilly day, so she opted to stay dry on the boardwalk. 

“I visited Blue Springs State Park in early February, 2024. The visitor capacity had been reached by the time I arrived around noon, so get there early if you’d rather not wait an hour in line for your turn to enter the park. As a solo traveler, the entrance fee was $4. The fee for 2 -8 visitors in the same car is $6. Pedestrians and bicyclists can enter for $2. 

The St John river was beautiful with green trees lining the edges of the clear water, where many large and small manatee could be easily seen swimming in a surprisingly graceful way. The boardwalk to the spring was a lovely, leisurely stroll, although I did notice several older people taking it more slowly, stopping to rest on benches along the walkway. I also enjoyed visiting the Thursby homestead, built on a Native American midden, and learning about the people who built it and how the area was used in the mid 19th century.”

Anastasia State Park 

We adore St. Augustine and have visited the area many times. For some reason though, we had never made it over to Anastasia State Park until this year. Boy, were we missing out. 

The sand on the beaches in this one of the Florida state parks is oddly orange, and the color contrast between the sand, the sea, and the sky was absolutely gorgeous. We spent a couple of hours just playing on the beach and enjoying the sunshine and those stunning colors, but eventually the kids wanted to move on, so we headed to the trails. 

The park actually has a few different trails, but we only had time for one. We opted for the Marsh Trail and it did not disappoint. During our walk, we discovered hundreds of tiny crabs that buried themselves in the sand as soon as they saw us coming. Watching them disappear into their burrows was so fun.

We also saw lots of super neat birds out in the marsh, as well as something I had never seen before: oyster beds. These were super cool and we spent a good amount of time reading about them after we left. 

Honeymoon Island State Park

If you’re looking to visit a beach on the west side of the state, Honeymoon Island State Park is a great pick. We visited this one several times while camped nearby, and the kids had a blast playing in the water and sand every time. We also really enjoyed watching the sunset from this beach, as the colors reflected on the water are just incredible. 

In addition to some awesome beaches, this state park also has some pretty decent trails. We walked a couple of them and had a great time bird watching. We even found owls on a few different occasions, and listening to them call out to one another was pretty awesome. 

Myakka River State Park

Last on our list is Myakka River State Park. This is another one that we haven’t personally gotten to see yet, but it is definitely on our short list!

What we do know is that this park is cool because it’s home to a canopy walk—a super tall boardwalk that allows you to walk through the treetops and see the critters that call the trees home. There are educational signs along the way to help you identify the plants and animals you see.

In my opinion, having a chance to view the beauty of nature from a different angle is pretty neat and I can’t wait to check it out for myself. 

My friend, Ashley Logsdon of Mama Says Namaste has this to say about the park: “The canopy bridge there is pretty incredible, and it was so cool to learn how it all came together. I loved all the educational signs as well- I think the Resurrection Fern (my favorite) in Latin is so fun to say. It was a beautiful day after some cold and rainy ones- so glad we could enjoy it together!”

Kayaking at Curry Hammock State Park

Tips for Visiting Florida State Parks

There are a few things we’ve learned during our time spent exploring the Florida state parks. Use these tips to make your visits even better. 

Invest in a State Park Pass

First and foremost, invest in a Florida State Parks Pass. We got ours on sale for only $60, but even at full price ($120), this is a worthwhile purchase.

The pass allows you to bring a carload of people into any of the Florida state parks. The only exceptions are Homosassa and Weeki Wachee, but both of them still offer free admission to two people in your group, so we only had to pay for the kids. 

Always Carry Swim Stuff

A huge number of the Florida state parks offer opportunities to swim. We learned quickly that it’s a good idea to always keep swimsuits and towels in our vehicle. This way we could be prepared if we decided to stop in at a state park on a whim and the park happened to have an awesome swimming beach. 

Pack Lunches

Some of the Florida state parks are out in the middle of nowhere with no restaurants around. Others are just so big that it can take the entire day to really see everything. For this reason, it is a good idea to pack a lunch before leaving home to visit a state park. This will ensure everyone stays fed and happy as you explore. 

Consider Buying a Kayak

This is the one tip on this list that we didn’t actually employ ourselves. That said, I kind of wish we would have. Tons of the Florida state parks offer chances to kayak, and some of the kayaking opportunities are super unique. We got away with just renting equipment or borrowing from friends, but having your own kayak (even just an inflatable one) could be beneficial if you plan to regularly visit the parks with kayaking spots.

There you have it, our top Florida state parks and our top tips for exploring them. Which one(s) will you check out first? Do you have a favorite we didn’t mention?

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