TALLAHASSEE ? The Florida Department of Environmental Protection?s (DEP)
Florida Park Service encourages residents and travelers to visit Florida?s state
parks and pristine beaches this Memorial Day weekend. The Deepwater Horizon oil
spill in the Gulf has not impacted any of Florida?s shoreline and all 160
Florida State Parks, including 24 state park beaches along the coast of the Gulf
of Mexico, are open for public enjoyment.
?With miles of beaches, springs, lakes and trails and some of the best
snorkeling, kayaking, camping, hiking and fishing opportunities in the world,
Florida State Parks are the perfect destination for a Memorial Day getaway with
family and friends,? said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. ?From Pensacola to Key
West, Florida?s state park?s are home to some of the most beautiful coastal
environments, which remain open for the public to enjoy this holiday weekend.?
Florida State Parks offer a wide variety of activities for any interest,
? Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, in Santa Rosa Beach, offers three
miles of secluded, white sand beaches and dunes more than 25 feet tall. Three
rare coastal dune lakes provide excellent freshwater fishing and the park offers
one of the most popular full service camping areas in the state.
? St. Andrews
State Park, in Panama City, is well known for its sugar white sands and emerald
green waters. This park has more than 1.5 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico
and Grand Lagoon. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba
diving, kayaking, and canoeing. Two fishing piers, a jetty and a boat ramp
provide ample fishing opportunities for anglers.
? Caladesi Island State Park,
near St. Petersburg, is one of few completely natural islands along Florida?s
Coast. The 661 acre park is only accessible by boat or ferry and was rated
America?s best beach in 2008.
? Lover?s Key Island State Park, in Fort Myers, is
a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking throughout inner waterways and
in Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Hiking is also a popular activity along
the Black Island Trail ? a 2.5 mile adventure through maritime hammock along the
canal banks of Black Island.
? Bahia Honda State Park, in Big Pine Key, is one
of Florida's southernmost state parks, known for beautiful beaches, magnificent
sunsets and excellent snorkeling. Visitors can picnic on the beach, swim or
relax and enjoy balmy sea breezes. Anglers can fish from shore or bring a boat
and launch at the boat ramp.
? Oleta River State Park, located on Biscayne Bay
in the busy Miami metropolitan area, is Florida's largest urban park. Offering a
variety of recreational opportunities, the park is best known for miles of
off-road bicycling trails. Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, and bicycles.
? Tomoka State Park, in Ormond Beach just north of Daytona, is a popular park for
wildlife viewing and offers a full service camping facilities. The park?s waters
are popular for canoeing, boating and fishing. The park also protects a variety
of wildlife habitats and is a birdwatcher's paradise, with more than 160 species
? Amelia Island State Park, an easy drive from Jacksonville, protects
more than 200 acres of unspoiled wilderness. The park is one of the few
locations on the east coast that offers horseback riding on the beach and riding
tours along the shoreline. Fishermen can surf fish along the shoreline or they
can wet their line from the mile-long George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier which
spans Nassau Sound.
The Florida Folk Festival, the state?s premier heritage event, will take
place May 28-30 at
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White
Springs. The festival celebrates Florida?s land, people and diverse culture with
more than 300 performances by native folk and roots artists.
For a complete listing of Florida?s
160 state parks,
Weekend events, visit
www.floridastateparks.org or follow
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, 2010 marks the 75th Anniversary
of Florida State Parks, which has grown from eight to 160 parks over the last 75
years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of
Florida?s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National
Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park
Association as the nation?s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the
nation?s best park service.
"With miles of beaches, springs, lakes and trails and some of the best snorkeling, kayaking, camping, hiking and fishing opportunities in the world, Florida State Parks are the perfect destination for a Memorial Day getaway with family and friends."
Michael W. Sole