We are continuing our series, A Walk In the Park, State Park Spotlight today with Florida. For those of you not familiar with our 50 week series, Blogging Babies and the Bayou will take readers into a new state every week and feature local State Parks. My mission is to open the eyes of many readers and give a small glimpse of what your own state may offer.
You may live in a state all of your life and not be aware of the amazing parks it has to offer or you might have vacationed in different states and never visited a state park. I love to take my readers on a journey through each of the 50 states to explore some of the state parks that you may not know about. Let’s take a look at some of Florida’s state parks. Enjoy our Walk in the Park.
Did you know that Florida has won 3 gold medals for having the nation’s best state park system? With over 100 state parks, 800,000 acres of trails and 100 miles of white sand beaches. Florida is a piece of paradise and it’s state parks are just as beautiful as you could possibly imagine. Florida has something for everyone, every age, all year round. There are tons of activities for everyone from the sightseeing tourist to the adventurous local. You won’t get bored with everything Florida has to offer and it’s state parks will keep you coming back for more. Florida Park Service has a goal and that is to show park visitors the diverse natural and cultural sites of Florida. They want everyone who visits to connect with “The Real Florida”.
All photographs belong to https://www.floridastateparks.org. You can visit their website for more information on planning your visit to a Florida State Park.
Fort George Island Cultural State Park
11241 Fort George Road
Jacksonville, FL 32226
Fort George Island was named for a fort built in 1736 to defend the southern flank of Georgia. Native Americans feasted at Fort George Island and it was occupied by people for over 5000 years. Nowadays, people come to Fort George Island for the rich history as well as for other things. Boating, hiking, biking and fishing are some of those things. People in the area visit to take a break from working and just enjoy a day of relaxation.
The Ribault Club is the visitor’s center and is also available to be rented for special functions. Directly behind the club, you can take a canoe, kayak or small boat out on the water. If hiking is your thing, there is a beautiful 4 mile nature trail that will satisfy your need to get moving as well as enjoy gorgeous views and scenery.
Make sure to bring a CD player for the car or a smart phone with internet so that you can take the Virtual Ranger Tour of the Saturiwa Trail. You follow along the tour with a CD audio guide or MP3 which means you can take your time and proceed at your own pace.
There are lots of other activities to enjoy in the park such as birding, fishing, geo seeking, biking and boating. One of the best things about this family friendly park is that it is also pet friendly so feel free to bring your fur baby along for the day!
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
3540 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32309
In 1923 Alfred B. and Louise Macclay planted these breathtakingly beautiful ornamental gardens on the property of their winter home. There is a secret garden, a reflection pool, brick walkways and a walled garden among hundreds of gorgeous flowers. Go swimming in Lake Hall or go fishing, kayaking or canoeing for a serene experience. You can bring out motorless boats or boats with electric motors. There are grills along the lake shore which are in an ideal spot for a family picnic and a couple of short nature trails to take an after lunch walk in the sunshine. You can hike, ride a bike or even go horseback riding.
Every year, special events like the Tour of Gardens in May , Kids Fishing Day in June and Scarecrows and Jazz in the Gardens in October are held, which are really perfect occasions for a weekend getaway or day trip for the family.
Take a walk through the historical, 28 acre ornamental gardens while enjoying a light breeze. The gardens are amazing and you could spend hours there just enjoying the peaceful quiet and the surrounding beauty of nature. The colors of the flowers around you are vivid and the scent in the air is intoxicating. You can go horseback riding, hiking or biking on the trails in the Lake Overstreet area of the park all year round. Everyone will find something to love at this lovely state park. It’s a gorgeous piece of paradise in the middle of a busy city.
Myakka River State Park
13208 State Road 72
Sarasota, FL 34241
The Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida. The Myakka River was designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River and it runs through 58 miles of prairiess, pinelands, hammocks and wetlands. When you visit you will want to take advantage of the views from the boardwalk of wildlife and nature. When you are done watching for wildlife you can take a walk along the tree shaded canopy walkway. You can boat and fish on the river or the two lakes in the park. There is even a boat ramp that provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. You can go hiking on the trails through the park or take one of the scenic tours which run daily on two of the world’s largest airboats. From the middle of December through May, you can take a Safari tram tour of the park’s back country.
If you want to stay for longer than a day, there are full facility campgrounds and campsites available to make camping in the park convenient. There are even five palm log cabins, built in the 1930’s and modernized to provide you with a comfortable and cozy place to stay. You can participate in lots of other activities in the park like bicycling, bird watching, hiking, an interpretive exhibit and concession and picnic areas. The Myakka River State Park is the perfect place to take a family weekend or vacation and may easily become a family tradition year after year.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
3485 Main Highway
Miami, FL 33133
The Barnacle Historic State Park will take you back to revisit history. It is a beautiful house that was built in 1891. Back then, the only way to travel to and from Miami was by boat. This time is called The Era of the Bay. The Barnacle lets you look back in time and get an idea of what the frontier life was like. It was home to Ralph Middleton Munroe who was on of Coconut Grove’s most influential pioneers. He only cut out a narrow trail on the land for his buggy to travel. The rest of the forest was preserved and you can now see many huge, old trees from that time when visiting the park. The are replicas of Munroe’s sailboats; Egret and the Flying Proa.
While visiting the park take a tour , sit down for a picnic on the lawn or take a family walk that even your fur babies can join you for. If you need some quiet time, you can have a seat in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the sailboats go by. The Barnacle is the oldest house in Miami -Dade County that is still standing in its original location. It serves as a reminder of a much simpler time and is one of the best places to enjoy history and nature in Florida.
Torreya State Park
2576 NW Torreya Park Rd.
Bristol, FL 32321
There is a very rare species of Torreya tree that only grows on the high bluffs along the Apalachicola River. The Torreya State Park is named for that species of Torreya tree. The park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. Torreya is a popular family friendly park with activities like camping, hiking, and picnicking. If you are a bird lover, you can participate in bird watching which is one of the most popular activities in the park with over 100 species of birds to look for!
Torreya State Park is very important in preserving different plant and animal species and protecting the water of the Apalachicola River. The park contains many high plateaus, steep bluffs and deep ravines which are covered with lush trees and plants. For the adventurer, there are challenging 16 miles of hiking trails throughout the park. You can enjoy some good old family camping in on of the park’s 29 campsites, or have lunch in the Picnic Area. Some other activities at this historic state park are bird watching, boating, fishing, geoseeking and hiking on the nature trails.There is something for every member of the family. Whether you need to disconnect from the daily grind or you want to get out there and enjoy nature and work up a sweat, Torreya State Park is the place to be!
Have you been to any Florida State Parks? Are you thinking of visiting one? If so, which do you think you would visit first? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Additional Walk in the Park State by State Spotlight
Alabama State Parks
Alaska State Parks
Arizona State Parks
Arkansas State Parks
California State Parks
Colorado State Parks
Connecticut State Parks
Delaware State Parks
Florida State Parks
Georgia State Parks
Hawaiian State Parks
Iowa State Parks
Illinois State Parks
Indiana State Parks
Iowa State Parks
Kansas State Parks
Kentucky State Parks
Louisiana State Parks