Connect with Nature on National Public Lands Day

A man and woman look through binoculars to see a bird at Lake Louisa State Park.

Across our nation, millions of acres of land are protected as parks.

The reasons for their protection are as diverse as the places themselves – some provide amazing views, while others are essential for wildlife and many protect the historic and cultural foundations of America.  

Sept. 25, 2021, marks the 28th edition of National Public Lands Day, a celebration of all the historic, cultural and environmental treasures found on public lands, and Florida's state parks are proud to be a part of the festivities. 

This year’s theme is “More Ways to Connect to Nature,” and there are more ways to explore our Florida State Parks than ever before. From in-person exploration to virtual experiences, there are many ways you can spend National Public Lands Day discovering everything Florida’s state parks have to offer. Have family or friends that don’t often visit ...the Real Florida? Now is a great time to introduce someone new to our state parks, and here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Volunteer 

Volunteering is one of the best ways to give back to our public lands this September. Signing up as a volunteer at your local park is available year-round on our parks website. You also can find volunteer events happening near you on our National Public Lands Day events page.

Some parks even offer self-guided volunteer opportunities, such as providing buckets and trash pickers for collecting litter along the beach. No matter how you give back, National Public Lands Day is a great day to get started. 

Two volunteers prepare a campsite for new campers by raking and picking up litter.

Two volunteers prepare a campsite for new campers by raking and picking up litter

Explore

Of course, there may be no better way to appreciate our parks than to explore them. Whether you prefer hiking a shaded trail or paddling along a winding creek, there’s a park out there for every adventure. Our website offers a Find Your Park feature that allows you to customize your search, dialing in on the parks that best fit the experiences you’re looking for.

Our parks will also be offering a variety of guided and spontaneous programs on National Public Lands Day to ensure all our visitors have their needs met and questions answered. 

Along with natural wonders of all kinds, our state parks protect sites and artifacts that tell the story of Florida’s history. The cultural sites are as unique as the people who have shaped Florida for centuries. Shell middens that remain from areas occupied by Native Americans; the sanctuary of Fort Mose that housed free Africans who escaped enslavement; the thriving Latin community that made Ybor City the “Cigar Capital of the World” – across the state, Florida State Parks are rich with history.

National Public Lands Day is an opportunity to explore all our shared cultural heritage. 

Explore virtually

You also can celebrate National Public Lands Day by visiting the Parks From Anywhere page. It offers fun activities and virtual content for you to enjoy, from Virtual Junior Ranger activities for kids to Park Zen for those just looking for a little nature to break up the day. 

No matter how you celebrate, National Public Lands Day is a reminder of not just how many amazing places are protected by our state parks, but why we protect them in the first place. Whether you’re visiting an old favorite or discovering somewhere new, we hope you’ll join us on Sept. 25, 2021.


This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.