With close to 175 state parks residing within its borders, Florida is a haven for those who love to explore nature and take part in outdoor recreational activities.
A winner of the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence on no less than four separate occasions, Florida’s state park system boasts landscapes that encompass everything from immaculate beaches and verdant wetlands, to flowing rivers and deep caverns.
For those who live near Mexico Beach, there are plenty of public recreational spaces, within easy reach of the city, that offer lots of opportunities for swimming, fishing, hiking, camping and boating.
Should you need a break from the pressures of work and daily life, these destinations are all easy to get to, if you have a car and an adventurous spirit.
If this is you, then why not check out these 5 state parks near Mexico Beach? They are all perfect places to visit next time your biophilic juices start to flow.
Map of State Parks Near Mexico Beach FL
Below is a map of the state parks in Florida covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Mexico Beach
All five of the state parks showcased below can be reached within a 2.5-hour and 4-hour drive from Mexico Beach. So some of them are a bit too far away from the city to be considered a day trip destination.
However, all of them offer overnight camping options. Which means at each of them, you will be able to spend a few days to really immerse yourself in the beauty of their surroundings.
1. Blackwater River State Park
Location: 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd, Holt, FL 32564
While its name might suggest otherwise, Blackwater River State Park is renowned for its gorgeous golden brown color, which is almost transparent when viewed against the adjacent white sandbars.
Situated a 2 hour and 30 minute drive northwest of Mexico Beach, the park is also notable for containing the world’s biggest contiguous wiregrass and longleaf pine ecosystem. Which is something that many people come here to explore via kayak or canoe.
The park is also a popular spot for boating, fishing and swimming, whilst hikers enjoy several trails of pristine forest which include impressive longleaf pine, magnolia and Atlantic white cedar trees.
Overall, the campground here possesses 30 sites which have either a 20,30 or 50 amp electric service. A mix of shaded and sunny sites, they also feature restrooms with toilets and showers, as well as RV sewer hookups and potable water connections.
2. Lafayette Blue Springs State Park
Location: 799 Blue Springs Rd, Mayo, FL 32066
Providing you with the chance to enjoy a leisurely stand up paddle, kayak or canoe ride around the stunning first-magnitude spring, the Lafayette Blue Springs State Park is well worth visiting.
It will take you about 3 hours to drive east there from Mexico Beach. But once you are there you will also be able to enjoy a range of water based activities on the picturesque Suwannee River.
This includes swimming, fishing and scuba diving within a Green Sink Cave System that possesses over 12,000 feet of fascinating underwater passageways. If you are into hiking, mountain biking or wildlife watching, there are plenty of opportunities for that here too.
The main option for camping are tent-only sites. However, there is also a primitive youth camp and a river camp for paddlers.
3. Big Lagoon State Park
Location: 12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507
If you are into kayaking you should definitely make your way to Big Lagoon State Park.
Located a 3 hour and 15 minute drive west from Mexico Beach, this park is considered the starting point to the wonderful 1,515-mile Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, that will take you round the whole of the state.
As well as kayaking, this is a great destination for boating, SUP and canoeing, while several hiking trails will take you through landscapes that range from verdant saltwater tides to impressive pine flatwoods. Throughout these different terrains, you’ll be able to spot a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Offering 75 camping sites with 30 to 50 amp electricity, the park also has three full-service restrooms, and a sanitation disposal station for guests to use too.
4. Fanning Springs State Park
Location: 18020 Northwest, US-19, Fanning Springs, FL 32693
Another state park near Mexico Beach that is centered around the mighty Suwannee River is Fanning Springs State Park.
Accessed via a 3 hour and 30 minute drive east from the city, this park features second magnitude springs that produce more than 65 million gallons of water every day.
Enjoying a constant temperature of around 72-degrees, the invigorating water is a popular swimming spot. Anglers also enjoy the opportunity to catch mullet, bass and freshwater flounder as well.
Throughout the park there are several scenic spots for picnics, which provide bbq grills. You can also enjoy a splendid stroll along a boardwalk that will take you through a picturesque cypress swamp, while kids will enjoy playing on the playground equipment.
Camping here is restricted to primitive sites for up to eight people who arrive on foot, bicycle, or by paddling in via the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. These sites do not have electricity, although they do have cold-water showers.
5. Manatee Springs State Park
Location: 11650 NW 115th St, Chiefland, FL 32626
At 3 hours 50 minutes, Manatee Springs State Park is the furthest state park on this list to drive to from Mexico Beach.
However, when you spot the magnificent creatures to which this park gets its name, you’ll definitely think the drive was worth it.
As well as some 8.5 miles of trails to explore, the park also has a lovely 800-foot boardwalk. Meandering a path through a gorgeous cypress forest, it will take you to first magnitude springs that make for a great spot to enjoy a relaxing dip.
Camping accommodation in the park takes the form of 80 campsites that are scattered across three loops. All of them come with water and electricity, and you will also find a hot shower restroom and dump station too.