Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
This preserve protects one of the largest remaining stretches of Florida dry prairie, home to an array of endangered plants and animals. While driving the five-mile-long road into the park, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of grasslands reminiscent of the Great Plains of the Midwest. The park offers excellent seasonal birding opportunities and is home to the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow, as well as the crested caracara and sandhill crane. Over 100 miles of dirt roads allow hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians to explore prairies, wetlands, and shady hammocks. Ranger-led prairie buggy tours take visitors to remote areas of the park. For overnight stays, the park has full-facility and primitive equestrian campgrounds. Kissimmee Prairie’s remote location makes it one of Florida’s premier locations for stargazing. Located 25 miles northwest of Okeechobee via U.S. 441 and County Road 724. For Information about Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, please call 863-462-5360.
Lake Griffin State Park
Located within an hour of central Florida attractions and theme parks, this park is home to one of the state’s largest live oak trees. A short trail near the park entrance takes visitors to the mammoth oak tree. A canal connects the park to Lake Griffin, the eighth largest lake in Florida, where visitors can enjoy boating and canoeing, as well as fishing. Anglers will find plenty of largemouth bass, bluegill, speckled perch, and catfish. Visitors can observe the park’s wildlife while picnicking or strolling along the half-mile nature trail. A shady, full-facility campground beckons travelers to spend the night or an entire vacation here. Located three miles north of Leesburg and 30 miles south of Ocala. For Information about Lake Griffin State Park, please call 352-360-6760.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Florida’s cowboy heritage comes alive with living history demonstrations of the early Florida “cow hunters” in an 1876-era cow camp, open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends and holidays. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and bobcats have been seen in the park, located on the shores of lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie. Visitors enjoy boating, canoeing, and fishing in the picturesque lakes. Nature students can hike over 13 miles of trails to observe and study the abundant plant and animal life. Six miles of trails are open to equestrians. A large, shaded picnic area with pavilions is available. The park has full-facility campsites, as well as a primitive camping facility. The youth camping area can accommodate up to 50 people. The dark skies make stargazing a popular nighttime activity for campers. Located off State Road 60 15 miles east of Lake Wales. For Information about Lake Kissimmee State Park, please call 863-696-1112.
Lake Louisa State Park
A short drive from Orlando, this park is noted for its six beautiful lakes, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes. Lake Louisa is the largest in a chain of 13 lakes connected by the Palatlakaha River, which is designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway. Lake Louisa, Dixie Lake, and Hammond Lake, the park’s most accessible lakes, provide access for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Anglers can fish in four of the park’s six lakes, but gasoline-powered boats are not allowed; only boats powered by trolling motors or without motors are permitted. Camping facilities and more than 15 miles of horse trails are available for equestrians. For hikers and backpackers, the park has over 20 miles of hiking trails with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Dixie Lake has a fishing pier, canoe/kayak launch, and a picnic pavilion.The park also has a full-facility campground, fully furnished cabins for rent, and primitive campsites. Lake Louisa State Park is located just seven miles south of State Road 50 in Clermont on U.S. 27. For Information about Lake Louisa State Park, please call 352-394-3969.
Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Central Florida nature exists in its purest form along four miles of the Wekiva River and Blackwater Creek. For thousands of years, Native Americans valued the abundance of wildlife in this area. This system of blackwater streams and wetlands provides habitat for black bears, river otters, alligators, wood storks, and sandhill cranes. Visitors can stroll along the Sand Hill Nature Trail for a self guided tour of the native Florida plants and wildlife found at the park. Canoeists can paddle through the park on the Wekiva River. Equestrian camping is available in designated areas and can be reserved by calling Wekiwa Springs State Park. Horse stalls and corrals are available for equestrian campers. Located nine miles west of Sanford on State Road 46. For Information about Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park, please call (407) 884 2008.
More than two miles of beautiful, unspoiled Atlantic beaches beckon visitors to this park. Across State Road A1A, this Florida haven shelters rare creatures such as Florida scrub-jays, indigo snakes, and gopher tortoises. Visitors can spend the afternoon swimming, sunning at the beach, or surf fishing. Bird-watchers will enjoy spotting the native and migratory species seen in this park. Located on State Road A1A four miles south of Flagler Beach.
NOTE: There is no mail delivery to this park. All mail delivery is through Gamble Rogers Memorial SRA @ Flagler Beach. For Information about North Peninsula, please call (386) 517-2086.
Ravine Gardens State Park
A ravine was created over thousands of years by water flowing from the sandy ridges on the shore of the St. Johns River. In 1933, this ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden by the federal Works Progress Administration. Much of the original landscaping still exists as formal gardens and an extensive trail system. A 1.8-mile paved road winds around the ravine, offering motorists and bicyclists a view of the gardens. The Ravine Loop is closed to vehicle traffic one hour before sunset, but remains open for pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs. The garden’s peak flowering period is azalea season, late January to April. Numerous picnic sites, equipped with tables and grills, are available to visitors. The Roy E. Campbell Civic Center complex features a large covered pavilion, auditorium, and meeting rooms that are available for rent. Located in Palatka at 1600 Twigg Street. For Information about Ravine Gardens State Park, please call 386-329-3721.
Rock Springs Run State Reserve
Sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, swamps, and miles of pristine shoreline along Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River make this reserve a refuge of natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy bicycling, hiking, or horseback riding along 17 miles of trails. Guided trail rides and horse rentals are available. The trail may be closed temporarily on days when reserve staff is conducting prescribed burns. Each fall, areas of the reserve are closed to equestrians during weekends of special hunts. Primitive campsites on Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River are accessible by canoe only. Equestrian camping facilities are available. Campsites can be reserved by calling Wekiwa Springs State Park. Located in Sorrento off State Road 46. The reserve is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily.
ATTENTION VISITORS: THERE IS NO SWIMMING AT ROCK SPRINGS RUN STATE RESERVE.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
The premier saltwater fishing spot on Florida’s east coast, this park is a favorite for anglers nationwide for catching snook, redfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel from its jetties. Surfing is also a popular recreation and several major competitions are held here every year. Two museums provide a history of the area. The McLarty Treasure Museum features the history of the 1715 Spanish treasure fleet; the Sebastian Fishing Museum tells the history of the area’s fishing industry. Three miles of beautiful beaches provide opportunities for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, shelling, and sunbathing. Canoeing and kayaking in the Indian River Lagoon are also favorite pastimes. Visitors can relax with a stroll down the mile-long Hammock Trail. Waterfront pavilions and picnic areas are great for family outings. Full-facility campsites and a boat ramp are available. Located on State Road A1A 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach. For Information about Sebastian Inlet State Park, please call 321-984-4852.
Silver River State Park
This park has more than 14 distinct natural communities, dozens of springs, and miles of beautiful trails. The park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. The center is operated by the Marion County School District in cooperation with the park and is open to the public on weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00. p.m. Admission to the Museum is $2.00 per person. Children 6 and under are free. For more information please visit Silver River Museum. Visitors can canoe down the crystal clear river, hike or bike along one of the nature trails, or just sit and watch for the wide variety of birds and wildlife. The picnic area features three pavilions with grills that may be rented for group outings and a playground for the youngsters. For overnight stays, the park has a full facility campground and 10 luxury cabins. Located east of Ocala, one mile south of State Road 40 on State Road 35. For Information about Silver River State Park, please call 352-236-7148.