Florida State Outdoors

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State Parks
Camping and Hiking
Hunting and Fishing
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Florida State Parks

Big Talbot Island State Park
Located on one of the sea islands unique to northeast Florida, Big Talbot Island State Park offers rich and diverse habitats. Canoe routes through the salt marshes, fishing and sunbathing on Nassau Sound shoreline contrast with more active pursuits along the park's historic hiking trails. This is a premier spot for those who enjoy nature study, bird watching or photography. For information call: (904)251-2323


Blue Spring State Park
The spring is much more than a scenic area for canoeing and swimming; it plays a vital role in the survival of one of Florida's most beleaguered residents -- the manatee. Visitors can learn more about this endangered animal through ranger interpretive programs. A chair accessible observation platform provides a view of the endangered mammals that gather at the spring during the cooler months of the year. From November through March, the manatees leave the colder waters of the St. Johns River for the safety and comfort of the 72-degree spring. Activities: Camping, cabins, canoeing, fishing, boating, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, and nature trails are available. For information call: (904)775-3663


Cayo Costa State Park
Cayo Costa State Park occupies most of an island which lies in a chain of barrier islands that shelter Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound from the storms of the Gulf of Mexico. This park is accessible only by private boat or passenger ferry services. Activities: Recreational activities include picnicking, fishing, boating, primitive camping, rental cabins and beach activities. Shelling is especially good during the winter months. No lifeguard is on duty, swim at your own risk. For information call: (941)964-0375


Collier-Seminole State Park
The 6,430 acres that make up Collier-Seminole State Park feature a wealth of vegetation and wildlife that is typical of the Everglades region of Florida. Activities: Tent and RV camping is available at Collier-Seminole State Park. Fishing, boating and canoeing are popular activities at the park where the Blackwater River flows through the park allowing access to the Ten Thousand Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. A 6.5-mile hiking trail winds through pine flatwoods and cypress swamp, allowing visitors to observe the great variety of vegetation and wildlife found at the park. A self-guided nature trail featuring a boardwalk system and observation platform overlooking the salt marsh is also available. Additional exhibits of plants and wildlife may be seen in the park's Interpretive Center. For information call: (813)394-3397


Econfina River State Park
Econfina River is located on the Gulf of Mexico and consists of 3,377 acres of greatly varied landscapes. From pine flatlands, to oak/palm forests, to broad expanses of salt marsh dotted with pine islands, the park offers spectacular vistas and scenic beauty. Primary recreational activities include picnicking, canoeing, boating, and fishing. Unimproved hiking and equestrian trails are also available. For information call: (850)922-6007


Camping and Hiking in Florida

Blackwater River State Park
Blackwater River State Park is considered one of the purest sandbottom rivers in the world, the Blackwater River is in its natural state for almost its entire length. Beginning 45 miles upstream in Alabama, it continues downstream for 13 miles before emptying into Blackwater Bay. The river's sand bottom, dark tannin waters and contrasting large, white sandbars have drawn worldwide attention and provide the perfect setting for this 590- acre park. The river attracts paddlers from far and wide and has been designated a Florida canoe trail. The last two miles of the trail are located within the park. The terrain, plant communities and wildlife are highlighted along the park's three nature trails. Guided walks and campfire programs for park guests are offered seasonally. Thirty campsites, with electric and water hookups, are available For information call: (850)983-5363


Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site
The Bulow Woods Trail is a 6.8 mile hiking trail that runs from the Fairchild Oak in Bulow Creek State Park to Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site. The northern section near Bulow Ruins is recommended for half-day hikes. Starting from the parking area on Plantation Road, the trail crosses open woods before entering Bulow Hammock where the shaded path winds around massive trunks under the cathedral-like canopy of Live Oaks. White-tailed deer, barred owls, and raccoons are commonly seen, and, occasionally, a diamondback rattlesnake. The hiking trail is open for day use from 8:30 am to sunset. A primitive campsite is available to backpackers. An overnight permit is required for camping. The permit, trail maps and other information may be obtained at the park office of Tomoka State Park, 4.5 miles south of Bulow Creek State Park on Old Dixie Highway. For information call: (904)517-2084


Rock Springs Run State Reserve
Rock Springs Run State Reserve is approximately 14,000 acres of a variety of plant communities typically found throughout central Florida's landscape. The reserve is open to a variety of recreation activities including hiking, primitive horseback camping, nature study, picnicking, horseback riding, biking and limited hunting. Vehicle access into the reserve is limited. For information call: (407)884-2008


Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail stretches 17 miles from the City of Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park through the Paines Prairie State Preserve and the Lockloosa Wildlife Management Area. In the 1850's the railroad was constructed from Fernandina to Cedar Key. It was of great importance in the founding and history of Gainesville. The recreational trail is designed for walking, cycling, and horseback riding. Parking is provided at the two trail heads, Boulware Springs Park in Gainesville and in Hawthorne. For information call: (352)955-2135


San Felasco Hammock State Preserve
This 6,500-acre preserve has one of the finest examples of the climax mesic hammocks remaining in Florida. The limestone outcrops and extreme changes in elevation provide conditions for many species of hardwood trees. Other plant communities include sandhill, hydric hammock and swamp. Sinkholes, creeks, rare plants and vast amounts of wildlife are also found at San Felasco. In addition to self-guided walks, park rangers offer group hikes and horseback rides into the preserve's interior upon request. For information call: (352) 955-2008


Hunting and Fishing in Florida

Amelia Island State Recreation Area
Just south of the developed tourist and residential areas of Amelia Island, Amelia Island State Recreation Area offers over 200 acres of undeveloped sea island recreational opportunities. Pristine beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests provide a glimpse of the original Florida. A concession, Seahorse Stables, offers guided horseback rides along the Atlantic beach. Other activities include fishing, hiking, sunning, and bird watching. For information call: (904)251-2320


Big Lagoon State Recreation Area
Big Lagoon State Recreation Area derives its name from a bordering body of water called Big Lagoon. This coastal park which consists of 698 upland acres, was opened in 1978 and beckons visitors with all the recreational opportunities expected at a Florida state park A boat ramp with dock provides easy access to the lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway. Fishing brings in redfish, bluefish, flounder and sea trout seasonally. Crabbing and castnetting for mullet in the lagoon are also popular. For information call: (850)492-1595


Dead Lakes State Recreation Area
Dead Lakes is reported to have been formed when sand bars created by the current of the Apalachicola River blocked the Chipola River. The ensuing high water killed thousands of trees in the floodplain, giving the area its name. Dead Lakes offers fishing, boating, camping and nature study. A boat ramp is available. For information call: (850)639-2702


Gasparilla Island State Recreation Area
Commercial fishing has always been an important part of Gasparilla Island. The fish and shellfish resources of the surrounding waters are among the richest in the state of Florida Swimming and fishing are very popular activities at Gasparilla Island along with shelling and picnicking. Two picnic areas, with covered tables, are located in the park which offer scenic views of the surrounding water. Shelling is particularly good during the winter months, however, visitors are reminded that the collection of live shells is prohibited. The Gulf of Mexico beaches provide year-round swimming and excellent saltwater fishing in the waters adjacent to the park and in the deep waters of Boca Grande Pass. For information call: (941)964-0375


John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area
John U. Lloyd Beach is 251 acres of barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, from Port Everglades on the north to Dania on the south. A paved, lighted jetty at the north end of the park provides excellent fishing and an opportunity to view ships arriving and departing from Port Everglades. For information call: (954)923-2833


Other Florida Outdoor activities

Florida also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Beaches
  • Bicycling
  • Boating
  • Boat Tours
  • Canoeing
  • Diving
  • Picnicking
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming