Are you looking for the best Florida Keys State parks to enjoy on your vacation? Look no further, we have you covered! We really have something for everyone!
Florida, known as the sunshine state has a reputation of being…well… sunny!
Planning your trip to Key West last minute?
Make sure to book ahead! Hotels and tours often sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top picks for Key West!
Top Experiences And Tours In Key West:
- Dolphin Watching And Snorkeling Eco Tour (Top pick!)
- Schooner Sunset Sail (2 hours)
- Reef Snorkel From Key West (Includes breakfast and mimosas)
- Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour (Great way to see the city)
Top Places To Stay In Key West:
This connection is probably obvious, what isn’t obvious though is that Florida is absolutely stuffed to the gills with State Parks, so there is a vast preponderance of places to enjoy that famous sunshine!
Florida’s combination of low altitude and ocean access truly make for some magical weather and deliciously breathable humidity, so make sure you have your sunglasses and sunscreen because you won’t want to be indoors for any of these gorgeous parks – we guarantee it!
Whether you’re looking for gorgeous bike rides in the salty ocean air, tours of abandoned military forts, or fossilized coral reefs – Florida has it all.
Before you plan your trip, make sure to check out The Best Times To Visit The Keys where we break down each month and talk all things weather!
10 Best Florida Keys State Parks You Must Visit!
Bahia Honda State Park
If you’re looking for the ultimate clear water experience in Florida you must absolutely check out Bahia Honda State park, it’s one of the most gorgeous Florida Keys State Parks!
This park is one of the places that is very popular both among tourists and locals: the park closes when the parking lot is full, so if this is high on your list of priorities we recommend getting there early.
The park itself has gorgeous crystal clear waters, it truly is one of the most iconic beaches in the Florida Keys State Parks!
Not only is the water virtually the best of all the state parks in the Florida Keys, the sunsets and warm ocean breezes in this area are legendary!
This is a perfect place for someone who wants the options of great scuba and nature watching while still enjoying all the classic beach experiences that Bahia Honda has to offer!
Make sure to check out some of our other favorite things to do in the Lower Keys in addition to Bahia Honda!
Admission is $8 per vehicle, and there are also campgrounds as well as cabins available for rent if you’re wanting to spend a good amount of time at this stunningly beautiful spot.
There are a ton of rentals available for anything that you could want to do: beach equipment, bike tours, boat tours, snorkel equipment and boat rentals, you name it!
It’s worth noting that this is one of the less shady beaches in terms of trees available, so either plan to rent an umbrella or bring your own!
For the most gorgeous beaches you can find, head over to our post on the Best Beaches in Florida!
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park
If you’re into glimpses of the America’s past in the 1800’s with your state park experiences, then this is the perfect spot for you! Make sure to put this on your list when doing a Florida Keys Road Trip!
Fort Zachary Taylor is named after the president in office who passed away the year that the fort was finished, and is one of the best State Parks in the Florida Keys!
Constructed from 1845-1866, the fort was cutting edge in its day featuring toilets that flushed with the ocean’s tides and also an apparatus that desalinized ocean water to make it safe to drink!
The fort has seen its fair share of wars, however these days it is a national landmark which welcomes thousands of visitors a year.
The fort offers guided tours to fully immerse yourself in the history of the location, and there are also gorgeous beaches on the property for you to enjoy as well.
The rich history and gorgeous setting make this state park one of the best State Parks in the Florida Keys!
Take a look at our post on Tips For Visiting Fort Zachary Taylor State Park to make sure you have the best time possible!
This is truly one of the Best Beaches In The Florida Keys and you must check it out!
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
One of the most magical experiences we can have these days is exploring the depths of the ocean in a way that people of the past could only ever dream about!
So, if you’re looking to have a moment of underwater exploration and adventure, then this is the best spot for you!
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea State Park in the United states, and is also one of the best State Parks in the Florida Keys!
The park was founded in 1963, and is named after a newspaper editor who made it his life’s work to get the area that would become the park on the map so it could be properly cared for and preserved
This magical park is full of space to explore both above and underwater, and is a scuba diver’s paradise!
If you don’t have the required SCUBA certification, the park offers a scuba certification program that lasts four days, but if you don’t want to do all that, not to worry!
The park is also perfect for snorkeling, making it one of the best state parks in the Florida Keys!
Both snorkeling and scuba guided tours are available for pretty decent prices, take a look at their website for more info
If you’re wanting to spend some time in the area, check out our post on the Best Things To Do in Key Largo!
San Pedro Underwater Archeological Preserve State Park
Continuing on the topic of amazing underwater attractions, check out San Pedro Underwater Archeological Preserve State Park: one of the best State Parks in the Florida Keys!
Much like John Pennekamp State Park, this park is not much from the surface, but once you’re underwater it feels like a whole different world!
This park is based around the remains of a ship called San Pedro, and is one of the best Florida Keys State Parks for snorkeling and scuba.
San Pedro was part of a Spanish naval fleet, and was built by the Dutch, illustrating the power dynamic of the time between the two countries.
Pedro met his end in the summer of 1733, however it wasn’t until the 1960’s that he was rediscovered!
While there is very little left of the ship, the park has added an underwater information plaque as well as some cannons that resemble closely what was on the ship to give you an idea of what it might have looked like if you were there a hundred or two years earlier!
The park has also added an anchor that looks similar to what would have been on San Pedro to really spark the imagination while you’re underwater.
If the shipwreck isn’t exciting enough, there is a smorgasbord of beautiful wildlife to observe underwater as well!
If you’re looking for more scuba excitement, head on over to our post about the Best Places for Scuba Diving in Florida!
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
If you’re looking for long stretches of gorgeous protected forests with equally gorgeous unique species, then this is the location for you!
The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is one of the best Florida Keys State parks, and is also home to one of the biggest families of West Indian Hammock Tree in the continental United States!
This gorgeous botanical park was once set to be turned into a cluster of condominiums, but thanks to local efforts the park is now a protected habitat for many native Florida plants that are endangered.
The park boasts around 6 miles of walk-able trails that are paved, which makes this one of the best Florida Keys State Parks for wheelchair accessibility!
All throughout the park there are informational guides and pictures that help you learn about the the specific needs of the ecosystem in the area, which is perfect if you have a small person interested in animals and plants!
The park offers both self-guided tours as well as tours that are guided by a park ranger in case you feel like you need an expert.
If you’re not much into roughing it, and would prefer to engage with some of the best culinary offerings in the area, click over to our post on the Best Restaurants in Key Largo for your best options vis-a-vis an apres-hike meal!
Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park
If you’re looking for a state park, and love fossils, then this is the perfect Florida Keys State Park for you!
Windley key was once a quarry for a decorative stone that’s no longer mined because it is neither fashionable nor sustainable, however, it’s so much more than that!
The park is home to a fossilized coral reef that has some of the most gorgeously intricate and naturally occurring patterns you can find anywhere on the planet!
While touring the quarry, the walls reach up to eight feet high, giving you a glimpse of the prehistoric live that once thrived there before becoming fossilized.
The fossilized coral reef is a once-in-a-lifetime sight, especially if you have a little person who loves rocks or geology!
Windley Key has several trails that are available for self guided tours, and the park also has guided tours.
Another thing that makes this the perfect Florida Keys State Park for kids is the fact that all of the trails are relatively short and there are picnic tables available in case emergency snack time needs strike!
The area near this State Park is full of other fun activities so check out our post on the Best Things To Do in Islamorada!
Indian Key Historic State Park
While this next location is only accessible by boat, kayak, or other water vehicles, we PROMISE it is worth the extra effort, it is really one of the best Florida Keys State Parks!
Indian Key Historic State Park is situated on what was once a very successful shipwreck salvage business, however now it is just pure natural beauty that’s ready for people to enjoy in all different ways!
The beaches are absolutely gorgeous, often having plenty of natural shade from the trees that grow along the !shoreline – however there is also an abundance of sunny spots that are perfect to work on your tan in (don’t forget the sunscreen though!).
In addition to the stunning beaches, the park offers some equally stunning hikes, none of them too strenuous! For the more adventurous hiker we recommend checking out some of the other parks!
The combination of gorgeous hiking, unforgettable beaches, and verdant natural setting make this one of the best Florida Keys State Parks by far!
For more of the most Gorgeous White Sand Beaches in Florida, check out our post!
Long Key State Park
If you’re looking for a gorgeous Florida Keys State Park to camp in, but want something that’s easy to get to, then this is the spot for you!
Long Key was once the cool spot to be if you were a rich person in the early 1900’s, all the wealthiest people seemed to have a house here including multiple US presidents!
Long Key’s reputation as ‘the cool place for rich people to be’ ended rather abruptly when a hurricane tore through the area and wiped out virtually all of the buildings, which were sadly never rebuilt to their former glory.
It’s not a totally terrible thing that this hurricane happened though, because now it is one of the best Florida Keys State Parks that you can visit on your way to Key West!
The key has no shortage of things to do, including, kayaking hiking, bird watching, snorkeling, and more!
The ground are absolutely to die for, with really gorgeous clear water and tons of wildlife observation opportunities!
If you’re so enamored with the park that you absolutely can’t just spend less than two days, then you’re in luck: the park has full-facility campgrounds that are actually quite affordable to rent, and all the info is on the park’s website.
For more drop-dead gorgeous state parks not limited to the Keys area, check out our post on the Best State Parks in Florida!
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
If you loved the previous boat-in only parks, but you’re looking for something a little more substantial and remote feeling, then this is the perfect slice of island paradise for you!
Like the others, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is one of the best Florida Keys State Parks, and is also only accessible by kayak or boat!
If you’re worried about having a boat or kayak, not to worry as there are tons of local businesses that offer rentals and most of them are pretty affordable!
The State Park once belonged to a wealthy scientist who bought it as an escape from his everyday life – he built primitive means of electricity generation and water collection, which are now preserved as the visitor center on the island.
The beautiful Island has almost 300 acres which are accessible by both self and ranger-guided tours.
In addition to tours there are all sorts of beautiful sights to see whether by snorkeling or exploring in your kayak, just make sure you don’t forget the sunscreen!
Florida is hard to beat when it comes to botanical gardens, check out our post on the Best Botanical Gardens in Florida!
Curry Hammock State Park
If you’re really into gorgeous bike rides in the refreshing ocean air, then we saved the best Florida Keys State Park for last!
Curry Hammock State Park is a large parcel of undeveloped land that is essentially surrounded by development, so it is the perfect hideaway if you’re not much into the bigger tourist scenes and want to enjoy nature.
The title of largest undeveloped parcel in the area really means that, it is HUGE! The paved bike path is over 90 miles long, which is a total biker’s paradise! There really is nothing like a bike ride with the wind whipping through your hair!
It’s not hard to see why this is one of the best Florida Keys State Parks, especially if you’re a biker!
Curry Hammock is also a gorgeous place to camp, so check out their website for more info.
If you’d like to stick around in the area for a bit, take a look at our post about the Best Things To Do in Marathon, Florida Keys!