Iconic as Sunshine
The beaches and coasts of Florida have come to represent the state. Marshes, beaches and mangroves create unparalleled beauty, the full scope of which can be seen in Florida State Parks.
Tall dunes, capped by sea oats with the sun setting behind them, is a classic image of Florida. This can be seen in Florida State Parks along with the powdery white sands on the Emerald Coast, the reddish coquina sands of the east coast and the driftwood lined sands of the west coast. Florida State Parks has 100 miles of the best beaches in the state and arguably the world. In 2018, two Florida State Parks - Grayton Beach State Park and Caladesi Island State Park - were recognized by Dr. Beach as among the nation’s top beaches.
There is much more to discover along Florida’s coast, including marshes and mangroves, reefs, seagrass beds and sandbars. Paddlers at Oleta River State Park can forget they are in the heart of North Miami as they explore the almost otherworldly branches and roots of a mangrove forest. Talbot Islands State Parks tidal marshes create a dynamic mosaic of life that is different on every visit:
The true value of beaches and coasts is in their ecosystem services. Intact beaches and coasts lessen the impacts of storm surge, act as nurseries for fish populations and filter pollutants from water before it flows to the sea.
Protecting Florida’s beaches and coasts is essential to many imperiled species. Florida is host to the largest population of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the world and offers refuge to nesting, resting shorebirds. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park has more than 3,000 nests a year. The Florida Keys has the third largest reef system in the world and is the site of many protection efforts. Near shore reefs are being reestablished at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service works with partners to preserve these places, ensuring they will continue to inspire and protect the residents and visitors of Florida for generations to come.