Florida State Parks

Almost A Quarter Of The Florida State Parks Are Located On Islands

There are 134 State Parks in Florida and twenty six other areas such as historic sites, nature reserves and recreation areas.

All these public lands come under the control of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

To see a list of Florida State Parks

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Almost a quarter of all the Florida State Parks are located on islands.

These islands are sometimes called "keys" or "cays" which is a word that comes from the Spanish, cayo meaning a low offshore island.

The Old Railroad Bridge At Bahia Honda State Park

Notable Florida State Parks located on islands include Bahia Honda State Park, where the famous old Rail Bridge still stands, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne, Caladesi Island State Park and Little Talbot Island State Park.

Most of Florida is a peninsula which juts out from the south eastern corner of the United States. It has the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern shore and the Gulf of Mexico to its south and west.

Its coastline stretches for 1,350 miles and is the longest of any state apart from Alaska.

Man has lived in Florida for over 14,000 years, with the Paleo-Indians being the first inhabitants. Native American tribes such as the Apalachee, Ais, Calusa, Tequesta, Timucua and Tocobaga were living there when the first European explorers arrived early in the 16th century.

Florida was the first part of America to be seen by Europeans and it was the famous Spaniard, Juan Ponce de Leon who gave the land its name in 1513.

He saw the land around Easter of that year and all the plants and trees were in bloom, so he named it "La Florida" - the flowery land.

The importance of this Spanish explorer is remembered in two of the Florida State Parks, they are De Leon Springs State Park in Volusia County and Ponce de Leon Springs State Park in Holmes County.

Florida, A Place To Relax And Enjoy Your Surroundings

The next hundred years after the arrival of Ponce de Leon saw both the Spanish and the French creating settlements.

However, the influence of Spain weakened as British colonies to the north gained more power. Eventually in 1763 Britain gained control over Florida by diplomatic means but their control was to last only twenty years.

American victory in the Revolutionary War meant that Florida was handed back to Spain following the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.

Some of the Florida State Parks still have Spanish or French influences in their names, for example, Cayo Costa State Park, Don Pedro Island State Park, San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park and Lafayette Blue Spring State Park.

Spain ceded Florida to the United States in 1819.

On the 3rd of March 1845 it became the 27th state to join the Union. However, a large part of the 19th century saw a series of struggles within Florida as the authorities sought to defeat the Seminole Native Americans and settle their lands.

The Florida Everglades, The Final Home Of The Seminole Indians

The First Seminole War of 1817 to 1818 saw a campaign in which American troops were led by General Andrew Jackson who was later to become the 7th President of the United States.

The Second Seminole War turned into a series of seperate fights lasting from 1835 to 1842 as the Indians successfully used guerilla tactics to prevent the forced removal from their land.

The Third War took place between 1855 and 1858 and although many Native Americans were removed from Florida to land west of the Mississippi River some remained in the Everglades where their descendants still live to this day.

Florida State Parks which preserve battlefields as memorials to these wars are Dade Battlefield Historic State Park and Paynes Creek Historic State Park.

Civil War Re-Enactors At Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

The Civil War period saw Florida become one of the founding members of the Confederate States.

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park is on the site of the largest Civil War battle to have taken place in the state.

At the beginning of the 20th century the population of Florida stood at just over 500,000 people. Since then a thriving economy and an attractive climate - despite the threat of hurricanes - has seen Florida become the 4th most heavily populated state in America with over 19 million people living within its borders.

The Statue Of "Christ Of The Abyss" Which Was Placed Underwater Off Key Largo At The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The Florida State Parks provide important recreational areas for this large population to enjoy.

Indeed some of the Florida State Parks in are National Gold Medal Winners while others are totally unique.

For example the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first underwater park in the United States. A popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers, it receives over a million visitors a year.

Jojhn Pennekamp State Park is located on Key Largo, one of the most famous of the Florida Keys. Here is a wonderful site where you can find out more about the experience of visiting the Florida Keys and its beautiful parks and beaches.

Here is the list of Florida State Parks
  • Alafia River State Park
  • Alfred B.Maclay Gardens State Park
  • Amelia Island State Park
  • Anastasia State Park
  • Anclote Key Preserve State Park
  • Avalon State Park
  • Bahia Honda State Park
  • Bald Point State Park
  • Barnacle Historic State Park
  • Big Lagoon State Park
  • Big Shoals State Park
  • Big Talbot Island State Park
  • Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
  • Blackwater River State Park
  • Blue Springs State Park
  • Bulow Creek State Park
  • Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
  • Caladesi Island State Park
  • Camp Helen State Park
  • Cayo Costa State Park
  • Cedar Key Museum State Park
  • Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
  • Collier-Seminole State Park
  • Colt Creek State Park
  • Constitution Convention Museum State Park
  • Crystal River Archaeological State Park
  • Crystal River Preserve State Park
  • Curry Hammock State Park
  • Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
  • Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
  • De Leon Springs State Park
  • DeSoto Site Historic State Park
  • Deer Lake State Park
  • Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
  • Devil`s Millhopper Geological State Park
  • Don Pedro Island State Park
  • Econfina River State Park
  • Eden Gardens State Park
  • Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
  • Egmont Key State Park
  • Estero Bay Preserve State Park
  • Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
  • Falling Waters State Park
  • Fanning Springs State Park
  • Faver-Dykes State Park
  • Florida Caverns State Park
  • Forest Capital Museum State Park
  • Fort Clinch State Park
  • Fort Cooper State Park
  • Fort George Island Cultural State Park
  • Fort Mose Historic State Park
  • Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
  • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
  • Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park
  • Gamble Plantation Historic State Park
  • Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park
  • Gasparilla Island State Park
  • George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park
  • Grayton Beach State Park
  • Henderson Beach State Park
  • Highlands Hammock State Park
  • Hillsborough River State Park
  • Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
  • Honeymoon Island State Park
  • Hontoon Island State Park
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
  • Ichetucknee Springs State Park
  • John D.MacArthur Beach State Park
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • John U.Lloyd Beach State Park
  • Jonathan Dickenson State Park
  • Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
  • Lafayette Blue Springs State Park
  • Lake Griffin State Park
  • Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
  • Lake June In Winter Scrub State Park
  • Lake Kissimmee State Park
  • Lake Louisa State Park
  • Lake Manatee State Park
  • Lake Talquin State Park
  • Little Manatee River State Park
  • Little Talbot Island State Park
  • Long Key State Park
  • Lovers Key/Carl E.Johnson State Park
  • Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
  • Madison Blue Springs State Park
  • Manatee Springs State Park
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park
  • Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
  • Mound Key Archaeological State Park
  • Myakka River State Park
  • North Peninsula State Park
  • Okeechobee Battlefield State Park
  • O`Leno State Park
  • Ochlockonee River State Park
  • Oleta River State Park
  • Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
  • Oscar Scherer State Park
  • Paynes Creek Historic State Park
  • Peacock Springs State Park
  • Perdido Key State Park
  • Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
  • Pumpkin Hill Creek Presrve State Park
  • Rainbow Springs State Park
  • Ravine Gradens State Park
  • River Rise Preserve State Park
  • San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
  • San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
  • San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park
  • Savannas Preserve State Park
  • Seabranch Preserve State Park
  • Sebastian Inlet State Park
  • Silver River State Park
  • Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
  • St. Andrews State Park
  • St. George Island State Park
  • St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
  • St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park
  • St. Marks River State Park
  • St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
  • Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
  • Stump Pass Beach State Park
  • Suwannee River State Park
  • Three Rivers State Park
  • Tomoka State Park
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
  • Torreya State Park
  • Troy Springs State Park
  • Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park
  • Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
  • Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
  • Ybor City Museum State Park
  • Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park