Friday, July 3, 2015

5 Florida State Parks You Don't Want to Miss in South Florida

Florida is best known for it's white sand beaches and it's spectacular weather....for good reason!  Many people will be heading out to Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale.  What you may not know is that there are a number of Florida State Parks where you can enjoy not only the beaches, but a little taste of Florida history and some beautiful natural scenery as well!  You can also enjoy snorkeling, camping and canoeing at most of these parks.   

Here are 5 Florida State Parks you don't want to miss:

Photo from Florida State Parks
1) Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park - Located on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, this park offers many popular activities, including swimming (at one of the Top 10 Best beaches in America!), camping, kayaking, biking, fishing and more.  It's also home to the historic lighthouse.  Built originally in 1825, it's the oldest surviving structure in Miami-Dade County.

Photo from Florida State Parks
2) Oleta River State Park - Located just east of N. Miami Beach, it's a hidden treasure within the otherwise urban setting of North Miami.  Along with swimming, fishing, kayaking/canoeing and camping or cabins, it sports one of the best off-road cycling trails you will find anywhere.  Not to mention a chance to hike among the beautiful mangrove preserves.

Photo from Florida State Parks
3) Bahia Honda State Park - Located on Bahia Honda Key, just west of Marathon Key, it offers a vast range of outdoor activities.  Swimming, fishing and kayaking, as well as scuba diving and snorkeling.  This park is also known as an excellent location for watching both wading and shore birds.  And did I mention....spectacular sunsets!

Photo from Florida State Parks
4) John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - This park has the distinction of being the first undersea US park.  While it does boast mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks, the major draw to the park are the coral reefs! Scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking/canoeing and glass-bottom boat tours all offer visitors a unique view of some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world.

Photo from Florida State Parks
5) Long Key State Park - Located in the Middle Keys, this was the original location of the Flagler East Coast Railway fishing station...which was lost in the 1935 hurricane.  The park still promises sensational flats fishing, along with snorkeling, kayaking and swimming,  In addition, it's Golden Orb Trail, providing a view of 5 different natural communties, is well known for the bird watching oppotunities it provides.

All of these parks provide natural scenery unlike anything else.  Additional information is available for both the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and Florida State Parks.  So get outside....enjoy the natural beauty and activites of all these parks and the spectacular weather of Sout Florida!

Photo from Florida State Parks

What's your favorite beach or Florida State Park?

Care to share your special get-away secrets?!

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