State and national parks; they’re all around you!
With 11 national parks, 175 state parks and 9 state trails, Florida’s wealth of recreational opportunities can provide adventure, fun and a deeper connection with nature for those who visit them.
Individuals, society as a whole, and the environment benefit from the creation and maintenance of state and national parks. Studies show that spending more time in nature improves mental health and focus and supports over 320,000 jobs across the United States. Many parks are also key conservation areas that provide habitats for endangered species and sequester vast amounts of carbon.
Park services also offer a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities from guided nature hikes to native berry jam-making workshops. Whether you’re looking for a solo, high-energy adventure to the most unique corners of the country or a relaxed weekend with the family, state and national parks are there for all of it.
What’s the big deal about parks?
State and national parks across the U.S. and in Florida offer a wide variety of benefits to visitors, the economy, and the environment.
Where are they?
There are 11 national parks in Florida, including Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, and others all across the state. There are 175 state parks and 9 state trails in Florida. Many are easily accessible and perfect for day or weekend trips, while others are more remote and cater to the more adventurous.
State and national parks are often conservation sites. These vast swathes of land are designated as important habitats for creatures of all kinds. Large sections of trees and plants also sequester carbon, and it’s estimated that national parks sequester an average of about 17.5 billion metric tons of CO2 — enough to have a direct impact on mitigating climate change.
Helpful and fun
Getting out into nature fosters a sense of connection with the natural world and has been shown to improve mental health, attention spans, and create a sense of purpose and belonging. Parks also provide an array of nature and historic-based activities such as camping, guided nature hikes, art and history programs, and even wild fruit jam making classes.
More and more people every year are realizing the benefits of time outdoors. According to data from 2022, over 55% of the U.S. population above the age of 6 participates in outdoor recreation. The National Park Service estimated that in 2021, visitor spending contributed $42.5 billion to the national economy and supported over 320,000 jobs.
Whether you want to foster a closer connection with nature or seek something fun to do on your days off, visiting state and national parks is a great option.
Information from the National Parks Service, Florida State Parks, Harvard University’s Belfer Center, the American Psychological Association, National Recreation and Parks Association, and OutdoorIndustry.org.