Dry Tortugas National Park:
The Dry Tortugas National Park, located about 70 miles west of Key West, is considered one of the most unique national parks in the country. The whole area of the park is mainly made up of ocean territory that includes vast expanses of coral reef gardens. There are also seven islands that are a part of the national park including Garden Key where you will find the massive and historic Fort Jefferson where Union prisoners were held during the Civil War. On Bush Key, you will be able to see hundreds of brown soddy terns who come to the key every spring for mating season. Under the sea's surface you will find all kinds of fascinating sea creatures including everything from reef fish to sting rays to sea turtles.
Big Cypress National Preserve (Located in Ochopee):
Located on the expansive fresh waters of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Big Cypress National Preserve is an integral part of the Everglades ecosystem in southwest Florida. It spreads out over 720,000 acres. Here you will find both tropical and temperate plants, which allow for the large diversity of wildlife that is found in Big Cypress. Keep an eye for the endangered and elusive Florida Panther.
Biscayne National Park (Located in Miami, Key Biscayne & Homestead):
Less than a mile from the metal towers of downtown Miami, Biscayne National Park is a nature getaway just outside an urban environment. Biscayne National Park offers excellent snorkeling opportunities, filled with those colorful coral reef gardens that the sea life love so much. This area is filled with history so make sure to brush up on some information about the park before coming here in order to get a more comprehensive understanding.
Canaveral National Seashore (Titusville & New Smyrna Beach):
A great camping and beach destination, the Canaveral National Seashore is located just off Florida's east coast. It offers its guests beautiful and pristine beaches with golden sand dunes and a lagoon that features a wide variety of plants and wildlife. The park also provides excellent recreational activities including fishing, boating, canoeing, and hiking on great nature trails.
Castillo De San Marcos National Monument (St. Augustine):
More of a historical monument than a typical national park, the Castillo de San Marcos is both filled with historical significance and natural beauty. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the monument stands as a symbol the Spanish exploration and rule of the state of Florida. You definitely get a feel for history as you walk through these hallways.
De Soto National Memorial (Bradenton):
This memorial on Florida's west coast commemorates the legacy of Hernando de Soto who lead the Spaniards to Florida in 1539. His journey exposed the lands and the people of Florida to Europe. De Soto spent four years and over four thousand miles exploring all the rugged, swampy terrain of Florida.
Everglades National Park (Miami, Naples & Homestead):
The beautiful Everglades National Park in southwest Florida is the largest wilderness of its kind in the country. It is a subtropical wilderness that houses some of the most unique and oftentimes endangered species in the US. Some of the most fascinating creatures you can sometimes catch while out in the Everglades include the American crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian manatee.
Fort Caroline National Memorial (Jacksonville):
Though Florida is known for its Spanish history, many people tend to forget that the French also had a role in the making of the state. At this settlement near current day Jacksonville, French settlers arrived in America, fleeing religious persecution, and began the struggle of making it in a new land. It was these French settlers who first fought with the Spaniards, marking the first battles for American territory.
Fort Matanzas National Monument (St. Augustine):
Located along the lovely Matanzas River Coast in northeastern Florida, the Fort Matanzas National Monument was the site of a huge conflict between Europeans nations trying to gain control of the land from the New World. Fort Matanzas was used as a protective barrier from troops approaching St. Augustine from the south. There is great wildlife that still thrives in this area.
Gulf Islands National Seashore (Gulf Breeze):
One of the more dynamic and ever changing of the Florida national parks, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is located at the very end of the panhandle of Florida, stretching out into Mississippi. Here you will find pristine island beaches, clear Gulf of Mexico waters, bayous, and various recreational activities for your enjoyment. One of the most distinctive features of the park is the year round Gulf breezes.
Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve (Jacksonville):
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is one of the last remaining and unspoiled wetlands found along the Atlantic Ocean shore in the US. Here you will find beautiful salt marshes, sand dunes and natural hardwood hammocks.