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The Best Florida State Parks for Van Dwellers to Venture to this Season


There’s nothing better than packing up your van for a road trip and finding the perfect destinations to immerse yourselves in the quality of mother nature. You might be wondering where you can find such a wonderful place. Look no further my friend, because Florida is the way to go for your next adventurous van-cation. Keep reading to discover all the places you need to scribble down on your activity itinerary for a Floridian vacation.

Florida State Parks

State parks are always great places to start and end your road trips. Not only do they have a ton of activities to plan out for the day, but they have campgrounds for you to park your sprinter during your stay. A state park is usually a preserved area for wildlife and various vegetation to live freely without any disturbance from humans or other forces. So, while you stay wherever you choose, it is imperative to always be respectful of the special land around you.

Guest Post by Brianna Walsh-Erp

Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Located between Panama City Beach and Destin is Grayton Beach State Park, a popular beach attraction in Florida filled with massive dunes and miles of scenic trails. The state park is an ideal camping destination for your active van life family to keep busy throughout the season. Take a family bike ride through the winding trails or go kayaking on the 100-acre glistening Western Lake while spotting the native wildlife that surrounds you. If you are looking to get out of your van for a night or two, the grounds graciously offer several spacious wooden cabins available for rent.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is quite a mouthful to say to anyone but is an absolute must-go if you’re ever van-cationing in Key Largo. Brimming with all kinds of activities, it is most sought after for its access to the Atlantic Ocean’s coral reefs. You can discover the wide variety of marine life that inhabit the waters and the beauty that surrounds them by renting a power boat or signing up for scuba diving and snorkeling tours. While under the water, see if you can spot a 9-foot-tall bronze statue of an underwater Christ, known as the Christ of the Abyss Statue, a popular attraction amongst Key Largo visitors.

Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, FL

Florida is always a popular tourist attraction year-round for many reasons. Whether it’s the food, the beaches, or even the Disney Parks, people are constantly traveling and even moving to Florida. It is also filled with hidden gems like the clearwater springs that are scattered throughout the Sunshine State. Manatee Springs State Park is a source of life for Manatees, fish, birds, and reptiles that you can view from a safe distance while you kayak through the streams. The park also has many trails to hike through and even a beach for free swimming when that Florida heat gets too much.

Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, FL

A beach the whole family will love, even the four-legged members, is Fort De Soto Park. This highly loved county park consists of five islands and 1,136 acres of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Showing off its beautiful blue-green waters and sandy shoreline, the area has much for your family to explore on land and in the water. Artillery holds and firing galleys have been there since the Spanish- American War era and are found at the base of the fort. Children can also explore the many rooms and even climb up to the roof where cannons point towards Tampa Bay.

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, FL

 Clearwater springs are often a lusted-after activity for tourists and locals. Whether you plan to kayak, swim, or even lounge on a tube, you are in for quite a wonderful treat. Blue Water Springs is a designated Sea Cow Refuge and habitat for them during the winter months. Though it may be off-limits to go in the water during that time, you can still view the Manatees from a viewing deck. The park has canoes and kayaks to rent during the swimming season and even has plenty of picnic areas to grill out and relax with the crew.

Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, FL

  Known as one of the oldest parks in Florida, Highlands Hammock State Park, gained its popularity during The Great Depression. Guests visit the park year-round for its wide variety of nature trails, including a 3-mile bike loop and an 11-mile equestrian trail. Enjoy your stay at the full-facility campground, located within the park, and wake up to white-tailed deer feeding right next to your campsite! Planning a wedding anytime soon? A recreation hall is available for rent and provides catering from Highlands Hammock’s full-service restaurant.

Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne, FL

If your family has been searching for a great fishing spot throughout your travels, then look no further. Sebastian Inlet is a prime fishing area for locals and tourists alike, boasting its clear-blue waters and silky sandy shores. Also, known for those gnarly Atlantic Ocean waves, the park hosts several major competitions throughout the year. Like most state parks, the area offers a full-service campground and a spacious picnic area for grilling some grub.

Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville beaches are always a good choice for a beach day when traveling in the area. Consider setting up your umbrella on Little Talbot Island, where the views look like they were plucked out of a novel. Venture throughout the 4-mile hike through coastal woodlands, while keeping an eye out for white-tailed deer, armadillos, bobcats, and plenty more surrounding wildlife. A tour is offered for the more inquisitively curious guests, that would like to learn more about the area and its fraternal sister, Big Talbot Island.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy, FL

Paynes Prairie Preserve is your place to get back in touch with that animal-loving kid you used to be. You’ll have a front-row seat to Florida’s finest geological features and the busy wildlife that grazes on it. At large the preserve is over 22,000 acres and has about 30 trail systems for bikers, hikers, and equestrians to explore. Make sure to bring your favorite camera to capture pictures of the wild horses and bison that munch on the grass below the 40-foot observation tower within the park.

Lake Griffin State Park, Fruitland Park, FL

Treat your family to a day of strolling through Florida’s pleasant nature in Lake Griffin State Park. The park may be smaller than most, but it does not disappoint its guests. Widely known for the famous 400-year-old live Oak tree, that lures tourists from all over to witness its massive beauty. Canoes and kayaks are offered to rent for visitors wishing to tour the waters concealing alligators and diverse bird species. Enjoy a nice stroll on the dock that is most favored by fishermen and birdwatchers.

Planning a trip to Florida this season with your family and your beloved traveling home? It can be quite a busy trip but can turn out wrong if your camper van is not prepared for all the traveling. Consider upgrading your van this Labor Day through Recvan and allow them to find the right new family van for you.