Enjoy Florida State Parks

We’ve written a good bit about state parks in Georgia, but this time we’re going to concentrate on Florida state parks. While there are a number of renovations and upgrades going on, there are still lots of opportunities for you and your family to enjoy the great outdoors and take in some sun, history, music and other events this month.

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As part of the Florida State Parks Month celebration for the whole month of May, this Saturday, May 16 is the annual Kids to Parks Day. Special family events are planned at most parks, but you need to check each park’s website for complete information. With 171 state parks and trails to explore in Florida, there are lots of options to choose from. And if you can’t go this weekend, check for other dates and events.

On Saturday, May 16, Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, six miles south of Sarasota, will be hosting a family-oriented Stand-Up Paddle Board Demonstration as well as Critter Crafts for Kids.

Fort Clinch State Park, located in Fernandina Beach, will host a Kids’ Fishing Clinic where the first 500 kids will get their own rod and reel to take home. Participants will learn knot tying, casting and more.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, near Jupiter, is hosting a Family Adventure Program including the Loxahatchee River Race, featuring canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards. Trapper Nelson’s Interpretive Site will be open from 9:30am – 4:30pm except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Loxahatchee Queen will be running river tours daily. Check the website for schedules and tickets.

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On May 16, Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring will hold the final Music in the Park Concert of the season, featuring local Sebring band, Quasimojo. If you go to the park after 6pm, admission to the park is free and concert tickets are only $5.

Also on Saturday, the John D. MacArthur State Park will hold an Intro to Snorkeling. It’s free with park admission, but reservations are required. And the Friends of Ravine Gardens 20th Anniversary Celebration is Saturday at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka. There’ll be a wagon tour, scavenger hunt, and refreshments.

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Also on Saturday, the 22nd Annual Tour of the Gardens takes place at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee. This is a special tour of the privately owned gardens and is a fundraising event featuring breakfast and a silent auction in addition to the tour.

The Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach will be holding their annual Navy Copper Collar 5K race on Saturday, May 16 also.

Mermaids continue their shows most days at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Check for show times and admission prices.

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Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24), the Florida Folk Festival will be held at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. One of America’s oldest and largest folk festivals, it began in 1953. Since 2002, the Florida Park Service has coordinated and produced the Annual Florida Folk Festival. You’ll enjoy music, dance, stories, crafts and food that make Florida unique. There’ll be more than 300 performances during the weekend.

So whether you’re able to go this weekend or need to plan a little farther ahead, there’s lots to see and do at Florida state parks. Take some time and enjoy this slice of “old Florida,” away from the crowds. You’ll enjoy it!