Florida’s Top 5 National Parks each hosted more than a million visitors in 2014! Check out these natural wonders >>
5. Everglades National Park, Miami, Naples and Homestead; 1,110,901 Visitors: Besides being the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., this outstanding national park is an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty. It’s big. It’s important. You should see it.
4. Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Jacksonville; 1,121,318 Visitors: One of the most productive ecosystems on the planet attracted Native Americans and Europeans alike, leaving a rich history behind. Here you’ll enjoy a broad swatch of rare undeveloped east coast straddling the St. Johns River that includes 3 Florida State Parks. From hiking and kayaking to Segway tours, there’s something for everyone here in Florida’s largest city.
Photo: By Ebyabe (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
3. Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee; 1,192,856 Visitors: Big Cypress National Preserve is the northern cornerstone in a mosaic of national and state lands, including Everglades National Park, that make up Big Cypress Swamp. There is a rich diversity of flora and fauna due to the combination of temperate and tropical ecosystems within the swamp, as well as the waters that make a swamp a swamp. The water flow is critical to these ecosystems and the neighboring Everglades, as well as the estuaries of southwest Florida and Florida Bay.
2. Canaveral National Seashore, Titusville and New Smyrna Beach; 1,451,225 Visitors: Canaveral National Seashore has really taken off with nearly a million and a half visitors! Residing in the Orlando area, this has long been a personal favorite. This coastal stretch of gorgeous features the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River Lagoon to the west…for miles and miles. In Titusville, Canaveral is snuggled right up against Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for a double feature. And NASA, of course.
1. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Gulf Breeze, FL and Ocean Springs, MS; 4,455,240 Visitors: Some of the whitest sugar-sand beaches on the planet, coupled with the Gulf’s stunning aquamarine waters drew nearly 4 1/2 MILLION visitors in 2014! Granted, this national park is split between Florida and Mississippi, but those numbers are incredible. Check the park map and see if this doesn’t make you wonder: Alabama sits between Florida and Mississippi, but has no part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Hmmm. Who cares? 4 1/2 million people can’t be wrong…right?
Photo: National Park Service Digital Image Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons