Description - Florida's National Forests - the Apalachicola, Osceola, Ocala, and Choctawhatchee (Eglin Air Force Base) - harbor ecologically stable plant and wildlife communities while offering recreational enjoyment to its visitors. The National Parks within the state, 11 in all, include everything from the fabulous and rebounding Everglades National Park to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, an area native to the Timucuan people who inhabited the area over four thousand years before the arrival of the first Europeans.
Copyright: National Park Service
- Visitors to Florida will find four National Forests, Apalachicola, Osceola, Ocala and Choctawhatchee (Eglin Air Force Base). Each offers sights of fragile environmental communities, endangered or threatened wildlife while offering the tourist an opportunity to enjoy coastal lowlands, swamps, cool pristine springs and hundreds of tranquil lakes and ponds.
Florida's National Parks include Big Cypress National Park, a subtropical area that protects the watershed for the threatened ecosystem of South Florida; Biscayne National Park, subtropical islands protecting interrelated marine systems; Canaveral National Seashore, 25 miles of natural beach, dune, marsh, and lagoon habitats; Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States; De Soto National Memorial, site of the 1539 Spanish exploration; Dry Tortugas National Park, the largest all-masonry fortification in the Western world now serving as bird and marine habitat; Fort Caroline and Fort Matanzas, sites of Spanish colonials; Gulf Islands National Seashore, offshore and mainland historical and natural features; Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, 3,000 year inhabitation site of American Indians; and, Everglades National Park, the largest remaining subtropical wilderness with abundant wildlife and birdlife species. As of 2000, the United States Congress approved a $7 billion, 20-year restoration program for Everglades National Park.
Recreation - Visitors to Florida's National Forests and National Parks will find an incredible list of inviting outdoor opportunities that are available year-round. Campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, canoe and kayak routes, biking paths, equestrians trails, unsurpassed wildlife viewing opportunities, nature study, scuba diving, snorkeling, backcountry exploration, caving, bird-watching, visiting historical sites and more may be enjoyed 24-7.
Climate - Florida's weather is dominated by the water that surrounds it. The Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Gulf of Mexico in the west provide a stabilizing force that maintains the mild climate. Northern Florida is considered sub tropical, although it does receive some snow. This area is drier than the rest of the state. Southern areas of the state, definitely the Keys, lie within a tropical climate. Humidity is high, a characteristic of the climate, although the temperatures usually don't extend past 90 degrees F.
On the average the state receives 50 to 65 inches of rain. Summer is the rainy season, which extends into October in the south. Hurricane season begins in late August. Some hurricanes can bring up to 25 inches of rain. An average of two hurricanes per season reach the Florida peninsula. Most often these storms reach the Atlantic Coast rather than the Gulf Coast.
Florida's National Forests and National Parks are found throughout every region of the state.