Florida state parks offer everything from peaceful riverfront views to kayaking through marshes and wetlands, and biking miles of nature trails.
The water activities are endless, from paddle boarding in freshwater lagoons to surfing the best waves in the region. All of the parks are bustling with activity, family-friendly, and ready to welcome you on your next green excursion!
We found the best options near Jacksonville, no matter what type of adventure you are searching for. A couple of the parks are day use only but still offer respite from your worries and responsibilities.
So pack up your tents and gear and take some time to reconnect with nature and wildlife or the ocean to renew your energy and health.
Map of State Parks Near Jacksonville, FL
Here is a map of the state parks in Florida covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Jacksonville
All of the five state parks near Jacksonville outlined below can be reached within a few hour drive from the city. So they can easily be visited as a day trip.
1. Little Talbot Island State Park
Location: 12157 Heckscher Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32226
Little Talbot Island State Park is one of the few remaining unspoiled barrier islands in Northeast Florida. As a result, visitors flock to the park to revel in more than five miles of magnificent white sandy beaches. Just 26 miles northeast of Jacksonville, this park makes a fantastic day trip or camp to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean completely.
Maritime forests, desert-like dunes, and untouched salt marshes provide hours of nature study and leisure on the western side of the island. If you are lucky or very still, you may see river otters, marsh bunnies, bobcats, and various birds. After visiting the animals, bike around miles of trails, go fishing, hike around the coastal barrier, paddle on a canoe or kayak, surf, or collect shells.
A picnic table and a fire ring are provided at each of the 36 campsites, with dump grounds nearby. The campground has two bathhouses with hot showers. Children will enjoy the interpretive programs, playgrounds, and of course, swimming! But, most importantly, enjoy the intriguing mix of coastal woodland and beach setting for endless beauty.
2. Fort Clinch State Park
Location: 2601 Atlantic Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Fort Clinch State Park sits on Amelia Island, about 37 miles north of Jacksonville, and offers a sanctuary for the weary. Relax with options to swim, fish, or sunbathe. Take the family out to see the abundance of wildlife along with other family-friendly activities available.
Shelling and shark-tooth hunting are popular hobbies near the pier and along the St. Mary’s Inlet. In addition, adults will enjoy bicycling on 3.3 miles of paved road under a canopy of oak trees. You can also enjoy fishing for local fish, including sea trout and flounder or even squid, while on a boat enjoying the peaceful scenery.
There are 68 campsites available for tent or RV camping. Many spots offer tree canopy for shade to add to the ambiance. Several amenities make the experience more enjoyable, such as bathrooms, hot showers, laundry machines, a dump station, picnic tables, and a fire ring. Try some time in the wilderness at primitive group camping facilities with room for up to 75 campers.
3. Anastasia State Park
Location: 300 Anastasia Park Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Find Anastasia State Park across Matanzas Bay on a peninsula of Anastasia Island, 44 miles away from Jacksonville. Spanning 1600 acres, including four miles of beautiful beaches, the park is teeming with animals and opportunities for family activities.
Find your own adventure by renting paddle boards, kayaks, sailboats, and canoes to explore the park’s paths or tidal marsh. Visitors can observe dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles off the coast, and bird watchers can witness laughing gulls, bald eagles, herons, and several different varieties of winged animals on the island. The park contains a small grill that serves fresh cuisine and a gift shop with park souvenirs.
Overnight visitors are welcome to bring their tents or campers to the 139-site campground, which provides electrical and water hookups and a barbecue and a fire ring at each campsite. In addition, a picnic table, an in-ground grill, fire rings, and a free dump station are available. Get a book from a ranger for campers ages 4 to 9.
4. Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
Location: 6239 State Rd 21, Keystone Heights, FL 32656
The Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is just over an hour outside of Jacksonville and makes for a terrific day trip. Spend your days hiking over five miles of trails while watching for wildlife. Bring your fishing rods and swimsuits for fun in the water.
The hardwood forest attracts songbirds and other fowl during spring and fall, making this a great destination for birdwatchers. Also, let your kids be a ranger for the day with Florida’s fun programs. Even horses will enjoy the park allowing you to experience solitude in your comfort zone.
Campers can stay at one of three huge campgrounds or at the lakefront cabins available to rent. Each campsite has access to bathrooms, hot showers, laundry machines, and pets are welcome if they are well behaved. Hike to a primitive campsite or stay with a group to increase the fun.
5. Bulow Creek State Park
Location: 3351 Old Dixie Hwy, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Bulow Creek State Park is a particularly lovely stretch of Florida’s coast, and it’s not far, only about an hour from the city. On Florida’s Atlantic Coast, this park protects one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak woodland. The Fairchild Oak is the most common tree you will encounter here, and it’s one of the largest of its kind in the south.
Experience all the essential park activities such as bird-watching, geo-seeking, hiking miles of trails, biking, picnicking, and watching wildlife. The Bulow Woods Trail is a 6.8-mile hiking trail that connects Bulow Creek State Park’s Fairchild Oak to the Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site. The Bulow Creek Canoe Trail is famed for its panoramic vistas of salt marshes dotted with palm trees.
While you cannot camp at the park, you can fish on a kayak or canoe for an enjoyable lazy day far away from your worries. Next, take the Wahlin Trail if you are a beginner for a more enjoyable experience that takes you to a groundwater spring that leaks from a bluff of “coquina” rock. Finally, spend some time in the Bulow Hammock, a truly gorgeous and moody woodland adorned with an ancient canopy of trees that can be seen in this section of the park.
De Leon Springs State Park
Location: 601 Ponce Deleon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
The ancient spring in De Leon Springs State Park, which covers 625 acres, offers healing waters that people believed to be the Fountain of Youth. It produces a fantastic swimming and snorkeling area in the summer as it produces 19 million gallons of water every day. It’s a bit of a drive at 98 miles away from Jacksonville City. Take the Fountain of Youth boat excursion takes visitors on a narrated tour.
Paddlers can rent canoes, paddle boats, and kayaks to take downstream to the 22,000-acre Woodruff National Wildlife Preserve, where they can observe alligators, wading birds, and bald eagles, as well as enjoy good fishing.
The 600-year-old cypress trees are visible on the hiking paths. You may catch sight of wild bobcats, black bears, wild hogs and turkeys, and white-tailed deer.
Get out on the water to enjoy fishing, or leave the boat behind and instructional scuba diving or snorkeling. Of course, you can swim too, but you cannot camp as this is a day-use park only. However, you can check out an old sugar mill from the plantation era and the on-site restaurant for a nice meal.