The Central Region of Florida stretches along the Atlantic coast from just north of St. Augustine southward to Sebastian, just south of Cape Canaveral.
Anastasia State Park
1340-A A1A South
St. Augustine, FL
Welcome to Anastasia State Park
Located south of historic St. Augustine, this Florida state park’s hardwood forest of ancient oaks was in its youth when Juan Ponce de Leon landed near the area in 1513 and gave Florida its name. On Anastasia Island, park visitors may enjoy a broad beach, a lagoon bordered by tidal salt marsh, and maritime and upland hammock.
Camping, beachcombing, swimming, picnicking, windsurfing, hiking, wildlife-viewing, and boating are popular activities. Nature trails meander through the maritime and upland hammock that covers ancient sand dunes. For anglers, Anastasia is a great place to haul in the big catch. The park’s full-facility campground is in a wooded area within easy bicycling or walking distance of the Florida beach.
Island Joe’s camp store, rental shop, and tropical grill sells beach sundries, camping and fishing supplies, and rents bicycles, beach chairs, ocean toys, umbrellas, canoes, sailboards, and kayaks. Lessons on various water sports are available. Call 904-461-9322 for more information.
Blue Spring State Park
2100 West French Avenue
Orange City, FL
Welcome to Blue Spring State Park
The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home (mid-November through March) to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. For centuries, the spring area was home for Native Americans. In 1766 it was visited by British botanist John Bartram, but it was not until 1856 that it was settled by Louis Thursby and his family. The Thursby house, built in 1872, remains standing.
The springs crystal clear, 73 degree water can be enjoyed by swimmers, snorkelers, and certified scuba divers with a partner. Swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted and is strictly enforced. The river is popular for fishing, canoeing, and boating. River boat tours are available; for reservations, call St. Johns River Cruises at (386) 917-0724. The park has plenty of picnic areas and a hiking trail. For overnight stays, air-conditioned cabins, a full-facility campground, and primitive campsites are available. Located west of Orange City. Take U.S. 17/92 to Orange City, go west two miles on French Avenue to the entrance.
De Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce DeLeon Blvd.
DeLeon Springs, FL
Welcome to De Leon Springs State Park
Native Americans visited and used these springs as long as 6,000 years ago. In the early 1800s, settlers built sugar and cotton plantations that were sacked by Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. By the 1880s the springs had become a winter resort, and tourists were promised “a fountain of youth impregnated with a deliciously healthy combination of soda and sulfur.”
The swimming area is adjacent to a beautiful, shady picnic ground. Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available for a paddling tour of the spring and spring run. De Leon Springs flows into the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge where canoeists and kayakers can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks, and marshes. At The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, guests can make their own pancakes at the table. Located at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Burt Parks Road, west of U.S. 17.
Faver-Dykes State Park
1000 Faver Dykes Road
St. Augustine, FL
Welcome to Faver-Dykes State Park
Noted for its pristine condition, this tranquil Florida state park borders Pellicer Creek as it winds along Florida’s east coast highways down to the Matanzas River. Pellicer Creek is a popular site for birding with more than one hundred bird species seen during spring and fall migrations. Songbirds, including the colorful wood warblers, along with eagles and falcons, return to nest at the park each year. Wading birds, such as egrets, wood storks, white ibis, and herons, feed in the tidal marshes and creeks.
This peaceful park is also home to deer, turkeys, hawks, bobcats, and river otters. Fishing, picnicking, and nature walks are popular activities. Pellicer Creek is a designated state canoe trail and visitors can rent canoes at the park. A full-facility campground is available for overnight stays. Located 15 miles south of St. Augustine near the intersection of I-95 and U.S. 1.
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach
3100 South A1A
Flagler Beach, FL
Welcome to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this windswept park is named for Florida folk singer Gamble Rogers and railroad entrepreneur Henry Flagler. The Florida beach is the most popular feature at this park, where visitors enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or beachcombing. The daily low tide is an ideal time to observe shore birds feeding in tidal ponds; summer months bring sea turtles who lay their eggs in the golden-brown sand.
On the Intracoastal Waterway side of the park, picnic pavilions provide a shady place to enjoy a meal. A nature trail winds through a shady coastal forest of scrub oaks and saw palmetto. Boaters and canoeists can launch from a boat ramp on the Intracoastal Waterway. The park’s full-facility campground overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is just a short walk along a boardwalk from the beach. Located in Flagler Beach off Highway A1A.
Hontoon Island State Park
2309 River Ridge Road
Welcome to Hontoon Island State Park
This island, located in the St. Johns River in Volusia County, welcomes visitors to enjoy nature and history in quiet solitude. The island is accessible only by private boat or park ferry. Evidence of Native American habitation over thousands of years can be witnessed as visitors hike through the park. Stop in and walk through the impressive visitor center to learn more about the many inhabitants and uses of Hontoon Island over the years.
Boating, canoeing, and fishing are popular activities and canoe rentals are available. Picnic areas include tables, grills, and a playground. For overnight stays, the park has rustic cabins an enclosed sleeping space with electricity no heat, air conditioning, bathrooms, or kitchens. Overnight boat slip rentals and a tents only campground are also available. The parks ferry operates daily from 8:00 a.m. to one hour before sunset. Located six miles west of Deland off State Road 44.
Lake Griffin State Park
3089 U.S. 441-27
Fruitland Park, FL
Welcome to Lake Griffin State Park
Located within an hour of central Florida attractions and Florida theme parks, this park is home to one of the state’s largest live oak trees. A short trail near the park entrance takes visitors to the mammoth oak tree. A canal connects the park to Lake Griffin, the eighth largest lake in Florida, where visitors can enjoy boating and canoeing, as well as fishing. Anglers will find plenty of largemouth bass, bluegill, speckled perch, and catfish. Visitors can observe the park’s wildlife while picnicking or strolling along the half-mile nature trail. A shady, full-facility campground beckons travelers to spend the night or an entire vacation here. Located three miles north of Leesburg and 30 miles south of Ocala.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
14248 Camp Mack Road
Lake Wales, FL
Welcome to Lake Kissimmee State Park
Florida’s cowboy heritage comes alive with living history demonstrations of the early Florida “cow hunters” in an 1876-era cow camp, open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends and holidays. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and bobcats have been seen in the park, located on the shores of lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie.
Visitors enjoy boating, canoeing, and fishing in the picturesque lakes. Nature students can hike over 13 miles of trails to observe and study the abundant plant and animal life. Six miles of trails are open to equestrians. A large, shaded picnic area with pavilions is available. The park has full-facility campsites, as well as a primitive camping facility. The youth camping area can accommodate up to 50 people. The dark skies make stargazing a popular nighttime activity for campers. Located off State Road 60 15 miles east of Lake Wales.
Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle
407 884 2008
Welcome to Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park
Central Florida nature exists in its purest form along four miles of the Wekiva River and Blackwater Creek. For thousands of years, Native Americans valued the abundance of wildlife in this area. This system of blackwater streams and wetlands provides habitat for black bears, river otters, alligators, wood storks, and sandhill cranes.
Visitors can stroll along the Sand Hill Nature Trail for a self guided tour of the native Florida plants and wildlife found at the park. Canoeists can paddle through the park on the Wekiva River. Equestrian camping is available in designated areas and can be reserved by calling Wekiwa Springs State Park. Horse stalls and corrals are available for equestrian campers. Located nine miles west of Sanford on State Road 46.
Rock Springs Run State Reserve
1800 Wekiwa Circle
407- 884 2008
Welcome to Rock Springs Run State Reserve
Sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, swamps, and miles of pristine shoreline along Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River make this reserve a refuge of natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy bicycling, hiking, or horseback riding along 17 miles of trails. Guided trail rides and horse rentals are available. The trail may be closed temporarily on days when reserve staff is conducting prescribed burns.
Each fall, areas of the reserve are closed to equestrians during weekends of special hunts. Primitive campsites on Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River are accessible by canoe only. Equestrian camping facilities are available. Campsites can be reserved by calling Wekiwa Springs State Park. Located in Sorrento off State Road 46. The reserve is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily.
Silver River State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Welcome to Silver River State Park
This park has more than 14 distinct natural communities, dozens of springs, and miles of beautiful trails. The adjoining Silver Springs attraction houses the headwaters of the Silver River, which flows through the park into the Ocklawaha River.
The park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. The center is operated by the Marion County School District in cooperation with the park and is open to the public on weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00. p.m. For the first time this year, the Museum will also be open Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This schedule will begin May 24th and will continue until July 31st. Admission to the Museum is $2.00 per person. Children 6 and under are free.
Visitors can canoe down the crystal clear river, hike or bike along one of the nature trails, or just sit and watch for the wide variety of birds and wildlife. The picnic area features three pavilions with grills that may be rented for group outings and a playground for the youngsters. For overnight stays, the park has a full facility campground and 10 luxury cabins. Located east of Ocala, one mile south of State Road 40 on State Road 35.
St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
1000 Buffer Preserve Drive
Welcome to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
This site preserves open grassy forests of longleaf pine that were once commonplace throughout Florida. The pine flatwoods form a backdrop for other biological communities, including cypress domes, scrubby flatwoods, sandhills, and a beautiful strand swamp. These habitats are home to many native plants and animals, including over 50 protected species. Photographers, bird-watchers, and nature enthusiasts can explore miles of trails on foot, bicycle, or horseback. Canoeing, boating, and fishing on the St. Sebastian River are popular activities.
Launching facilities are available outside the preserve at Dale Wimbrow Park and several private ramps along the St. Sebastian River, and a canoe launch north of County Road 512. The visitor center is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The north entrance for the visitor center and Manatee Vista is off Babcock Street (County Road 507) just north of the C-54 Canal. Exit I-95 at County Road 514 to reach County Road 507. The south entrance is off Fellsmere Road (County Road 512) 1.8 miles east of I-95.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle
(407) 884 2008
Welcome to Wekiwa Springs State Park
Located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, the beautiful vistas within this Florida state park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fished and hunted these lands. Just one hour from most central Florida attractions, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Options for camping include a full facility campgrounds and primitive camping areas. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. For information about rentals, call (407) 884 4311.
Wekiwa Springs State Park is approximately 20 minutes North of Orlando and approximately 45 minutes North of the Orlando attractions. It is easily located off Interstate 4 at exit 94. Take State Road 434 West to Wekiwa Springs Road. Turn right on Wekiwa Springs Rd. and travel approximately 4 miles to the park entrance which will be on the right. Please call the park if additional directions are needed.
William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve
3365 Taylor Creek Road
Welcome to William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve
Alternating cycles of fire and flood have created an extensive mosaic of freshwater marshes, swamps, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks in this reserve, which borders 19 miles of the St. Johns River. The reserve’s diverse habitat supports a wide variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, bobcats, fox squirrels, bald eagles, gray foxes, turkeys, hawks, owls, and many species of songbirds. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing and nature study while bicycling, hiking, or horseback riding on miles of trails.
Fishing is another popular activity. Regulated hunting is allowed during the scheduled hunting season with a special permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Primitive camping is available for organized youth groups, equestrians, and hikers. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance by calling the reserve. Located east of Orlando south of State Road 50 on the west bank of the St. Johns River.