Dry Tortugas National Park is unlike any national park you’ll find in the United States — not only is it remote (roughly 70 miles west of Key West), it’s mostly underwater. The 100-square-mile park is actually an archipelago of seven islands, one of which boasts Fort Jefferson, a fortress that broke ground in 1846. It’s a hike to this park (considering that it’s only accessible by boat or seaplane), but it’s worth the effort; popular for snorkeling or scuba diving, crystal clear sparkling waters reveal one of the largest coral barrier reefs in the world. Brimming with fish and other marine animals, Dry Tortugas is also a nesting spot for endangered sea turtles.
If you’re looking for a scenic outdoor adventure, the best national parks in Florida give the state’s buzzing beach scene a run for its money. Sure, the Sunshine State’s national parks command their share of the coast, but you’ll find a range of landscapes that offer plenty more than sand and sunshine.
Think you already know what you might expect from Florida’s parks? Think again. Near Miami, the Everglades park alone represents an entire ecosystem in and of itself, boasting some of Florida’s most iconic wildlife (alligators, panthers, snakes, oh my!), while Dry Tortugas National Park in Key West is anything but dry (the bulk of the remote park, in fact, is located underwater). From stunning turquoise waters to itty-bitty islands only accessible by boat, plenty of mangrove forests and acres upon acres of coral reefs, there’s plenty to explore whether you’re on foot, paddling via kayak, or snorkeling into the sunset.
Ready to let the scenery surprise you? Home to stunning seashores, soaring national monuments, and plenty of natural beauty, these are the six best national parks in Florida (including a few national monuments, too).
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