Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Can I arrange to have my wedding, business meeting or family reunion at a state park in Florida?
Special events are permitted at Florida State Parks.
- Please reach out to the specific park for details.
1.2. Can I reserve a picnic shelter?
In general, parks offer picnic shelters on a first-come, first-served basis. However, some picnic shelters may be reserved.
- Check the park's webpage for specific information.
1.3. Can I fish at state parks? Do I need a fishing license?
Fishing locations are abundant in Florida's state parks. Check the individual park's webpage for specific information.
- Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's website to determine if you need a fishing license.
1.4. Where can I swim with the manatees?
Resource protection is foremost at all state parks, and swimming with manatees is not allowed.
However, the endangered Florida manatee can be seen every day at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Visitors can go below the water’s surface to view these gentle giants from the underwater observatory in Homosassa's main spring.
1.5. Can I fly a drone in a Florida State Park?
Launching and/or landing a drone is prohibited within Florida State Parks except in very rare circumstances. The portion of the Florida Administrative Code that governs the operation of Florida State Parks (Chapter 62D-2.014, F.A.C.) states:
- (15) Aircraft. No person operating or responsible for any aircraft, glider, balloon, parachute or other aerial apparatus shall cause any such apparatus to take off from or land in any park except in an emergency when human life is endangered or where a designated landing facility may exist on park property.
The Florida Park Service includes drones in the category of "other aerial apparatus.” Currently, we do not have guest-accessible landing facilities in any Florida state park.
The primary reason for our very limited occasions of drone use (i.e., mainly as a tool for rescue or reviewing areas impacted by natural disaster) is because our mission as part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires us to take into consideration the preservation of natural resources.
It has been observed that nesting birds view drones as potential predators and are likely to abandon nests or avoid otherwise ideal habitat areas if drones have been regularly spotted in those locations. We do not want this to occur within our park conservation areas, which are intended to be sanctuaries for our native wildlife.
1.6. Where can I do metal detecting within Florida's state parks?
Our statewide park rules, based on regulations set out by the Florida Administrative Code, state that metal detecting is prohibited on all state park lands, except for coastal parks. In these parks, metal detecting may occur within certain beach areas located between the toe of the dune and the high-water line, as designated by the park manager. Metal detecting in submerged locations is not permitted.
Objects with historic association (anything over 50 years old) are not permitted to be kept by park visitors, even if the objects are found in the areas approved for metal detecting. These objects are archaeological artifacts, and title to such is vested in the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources.
If you plan to visit a state park with a beach, we recommend calling ahead to the park to inquire if there is any section of the beach where you can do metal detecting and if there are any restrictions you should be aware of (i.e., can you dig down to retrieve any objects you find, etc.). View our list of all state parks with beaches. Be aware that a limited number of these parks are inland, and their "beach" is on a lake, river, spring, etc. Because these are not coastal parks, metal detecting is not allowed at these locations.
1.7. If I have lost a personal item in a state park, can I use a metal detector to help me find it?
Metal detectors may be used to recover personal items that are specifically identified by their owner as being lost in a specific area of a park. The owner of lost property or their representative should contact the park manager who will arrange a time for the search to be conducted in the presence of a park staff member. During these searches, only the item sought may be kept by the owner or their representative.
1.8. Are Florida State Park visitors permitted to forage, collect or take any items found within the park?
Per Chapter 62.D, F.A.C., no person shall destroy, injure, deface, mar, move, dig, harmfully disturb or remove from any park area, or the waters thereof, any buildings, structures, facilities, historic ruins, equipment, park property, soil, sand, gravel, rocks, stones, minerals, marine plants or animals, artifacts or other materials. No person shall cut, carve, injure, mutilate, move, displace or break off any water bottom formation or growth. Nor shall any person possess, break off or in any way damage any stalactites, stalagmites or other cave formations.
This rule means that one cannot gather firewood/kindling materials; forage for edibles; or remove plant/animal items such as driftwood, leaves/pine needles, feathers/bones or other animal products within a state park.
Exceptions to this rule are made only for research/academic study purposes, in cases where a collection permit has been issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The other exception to the prohibition regarding collection and removal of items is if the items are empty seashells, sea glass or shark teeth found between the water line and toe of the sand dunes in coastal parks with beaches. Seashells with living creatures in them and live sand dollars should be left where they are and not removed.
1.9. Can I ride my electric-assist bicycle (otherwise known as an e-bike) on Florida state trails and trails within Florida's state parks?
Electric-assist bicycles/e-bikes are defined in Florida Statute as bicycles. They are therefore permitted for use on Florida state trails and on trails designated as multi-use or specifically intended for bicycles within Florida's state parks.
If a trail is designated for pedestrians or equestrians only, you may not ride a bicycle or e-bike on that trail. There may be posted speed limits on any given trail.
Bicycles and e-bikes may also be used on paved public access roads within Florida's state parks.
10. Where would I be permitted to ride my motorized/power-assist recreational scooter?
Motorized recreational scooters are not permitted for use on state trails. Within Florida State Parks, you may ride your e-scooter on paved public access roads but not on sidewalks, boardwalks or trails.
11. Are golf carts permitted for use in Florida State Parks?
Golf carts and utility vehicles may be driven on public access roads within Florida State Parks that have a speed limit of less than 30 mph.
All golf cart/utility vehicle operators must:
- Have a valid driver’s license and follow all rules of the road (all applicable state laws and local ordinances).
- Have a vehicle equipped with working brakes, dependable steering, safe tires, a rearview mirror, and red reflective devices (tape) on the front and rear of the vehicle.
- Drive golf carts/utility vehicles only during daylight hours (between sunrise and sunset) unless the vehicle is also equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.
Golf carts/utility vehicles may not be driven on sidewalks, boardwalks, trails, off-road, or on service roads off-limits to park guests.
12. Can I use my ATV/side-by-side/four-wheeler/UTV on trails or off-road areas within Florida's state parks?
Florida's state parks do not offer any trails or off-road areas for use by ATVs and similarly purposed vehicles, although we do offer trails designed for hiking on foot, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Utility vehicles that meet standards also applicable for golf carts may be driven on public access roads within Florida State Parks that have a speed of less than 30 mph.
13. I use a power-driven mobility device (OPDMD) due to my mobility disability. Are there any restrictions on use of this within Florida State Parks?
Please see our Wheelchairs and Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) policy for information on size, speed, weight and type restrictions for OPDMDs in Florida State Parks.
Please visit our Accessibility page to learn more about Florida State Parks’ commitment to accessibility.
14. What is the policy regarding firearms in Florida State Parks and Trails?
Florida State Parks honors Chapter 790, Florida Statutes, which states that if you have a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm, you are permitted to carry the weapon concealed on your person while in a state park.
If you do not have a concealed weapons permit for your licensed firearm, you are permitted to “open carry” that firearm while engaged in “fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition” (Chapter 790.25, section 3, F.S.).
Chapter 62D-2.014(10), F.A.C., states under its “Hunting and Firearms” heading:
- Hunting, trapping or the pursuit of wildlife is prohibited on all state park property, except in reserves, as authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. No person shall use in any state park weapons such as air rifles, spring guns, cross bows, bows and arrows, gigs (except in areas where gigs may be legally used for saltwater fishing), sling shots, electronic weapons, devices which fire a dart or projectile, or any other forms of weapons or trapping devices potentially dangerous to wildlife except when such weapons or traps are used for resource management purposes as authorized. Shooting weapons into park areas from beyond park boundaries is prohibited.
If you are not engaged in fishing/camping/lawful hunting and do not have a concealed weapons license for your firearm, please secure your firearm within your vehicle while in a state park. Savannas Preserve State Park is the only park exception to the rules described above. Chapter 258.157, F.S., states that “it is unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement or conservation officer, to have in his or her possession any firearm while within the Savannas.”
You may carry your weapon within a Florida state park (except for Savannas Preserve State Park) as described above, but you may not fire that weapon within a state park. The only exception to this is when an organized event such as a living history battle reenactment is taking place. Volunteers and staff that have been certified as competent to fire “blanks” from historical weaponry such as muskets, cannons, rifles, pistols, etc., may do so for scheduled demonstration purposes.
15. Is hunting allowed in Florida State Parks?
Florida's state parks are managed as natural systems. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Limited hunting with a special permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is allowed at Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and the Marshall Swamp area of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
To fully enjoy the experience of visiting a wilderness area it is recommended that you contact the reserves in advance of your visit.
16. Are alcoholic beverages allowed in the parks?
The only locations within our parks where alcohol can be consumed by persons age 21 and older are:
- In specially designated areas such as:
- A reserved overnight accommodation such as a campsite, cabin, bungalow, yurt or lodge room.
- Reserved covered picnic pavilions, dining halls or recreation halls where the serving of alcohol has been noted in the rental contract (such as for weddings, receptions, reunions, etc.).
- In concessionaire-operated restaurants and lodges within Florida State Parks licensed to provide the sale of alcohol.
- During state park-sanctioned special events where entrance and participant age are carefully monitored.
Consumption of alcohol is not permitted in public locations within state parks, including beaches, tubing/paddling areas, or first-come first-served picnicking areas.
17. Are you allowed to smoke (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vapes) in state parks?
In all Florida's state parks, we uphold the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, which specifies that you may not smoke inside enclosed structures (such as restrooms, cabins, welcome centers, etc.) or in the doorways immediately adjacent to these structures.
When visitors are outdoors in Florida State Parks, they are permitted to smoke if they are of legal age to do so. We ask that cigarette butts and any other trash/waste material be completely extinguished and disposed of in proper trash containers.
The only exception to this rule is Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which is recognized as a "congested area" because of its close layout and high rates of visitation. Smoking is not permitted in either the indoor or outdoor areas of this location.
18. Are guests permitted to scatter the cremation ashes of a friend/family member/pet within a Florida State Park or state trail?
Florida State Parks does not have a policy against the scattering of ashes, but it is restricted to locations where it will not impact the natural or cultural resources. We offer the following guidelines:
- There are no designated sites for the scattering of ashes, but the location you choose should be away from developed areas such as parking lots, trailheads, campgrounds, picnic areas, visitor centers, etc. Make sure you are at least 200 feet away from any water source (lake, spring, river, ocean, wetlands, etc.). Do not scatter ashes in areas where park visitors are restricted from going.
- Discretion should be exercised in spreading ashes; doing so is generally a very private moment, and care should be given not to disturb other park users. Mornings may be preferable times for your memorial, as afternoons may be more crowded and afford less privacy.
- Ashes should be scattered or spread about, not buried or placed in a pile.
- No markers, cairns, displays, signs or plaques may be placed over the ashes.
In certain state parks, such as Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, there may be no locations that are feasible for a scattering of ashes, based on the guidelines given above. Please contact park management to verify your intended scattering site prior to visiting the park to see if the location has any additional restrictions or exclusions.
19. Are there any Florida state parks or state trails that permit the installation of a memorial bench, plaque or similar marker?
Permanent recognition markers such as signs/plaques, benches, monuments, etc., are prohibited in Florida state parks and trails unless such a program has been approved through the park’s unit management plan process. Alternative means of memorializing might include donating a needed item/piece of equipment, making a monetary donation to the state park or its citizen support organization (CSO), or participating in an organized tree-planting activity held by the park or a CSO. Additionally, the CSO that supports all Florida State Parks, the Florida State Parks Foundation, offers a "Plant A Pine" program.
20. I would like to hold a memorial service within a state park and release balloons/floating candles/candle-lit sky lanterns. Is that allowed?
Florida State Parks are the site for many important family gatherings, and we are honored that you consider us as a desired venue. Unfortunately, since there is no way to guarantee where balloons and fire-incorporating lanterns (either floating on water or those launched into the air) may wind up, they risk becoming litter that wildlife may be caught in or attempt to ingest.
Lanterns also run the risk of becoming a flammable hazard that may ignite an uncontrolled fire. We request that you look into other options to commemorate your loved one.
Annual Entrance Passes Questions
1.Do you offer a seasonal or annual entrance pass providing access to Florida State Parks?
There are two types of annual entrance passes:
- An individual annual entrance pass allows the pass holder day-use park entrance into 174 state parks and trails, plus a 33% discount on entrance into the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. This pass provides day-use park entry for a single named passholder. It does not cover additional charges that may apply to museum visits, tours, special events, boat rides, concession rentals/purchases or campsite/cabin fees. An individual entrance pass costs $60 plus tax.
- A family annual entrance pass provides day-use park entry for up to eight people (including the pass holder) entering as a group,* except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs state parks, where the pass holder and one other person enter free of charge. This pass provides a 33% discount at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. As noted above, this pass provides day-use park entry only and does not cover additional charges. A family annual entrance pass costs $120 plus tax.
*A group is defined as all of the occupants in one vehicle (up to a total of eight people), including the pass holder; or up to two motorcycles, including the pass holder; or up to a total of eight people (including the pass holder) entering on foot or on bicycles.
2. Where may I purchase an annual entrance pass?
There are two ways to purchase an annual entrance pass.
Purchase at a Park
Annual entrance passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums during regular business hours, 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass.
To expedite the process, visit Reserve.FloridaStateParks in advance and create an account. If you have made a camping reservation with Florida State Parks in the last year, you already have an account.
Shop online at Reserve.FloridaStateParks for annual entrance passes. All online orders will be charged a $6 convenience fee plus a $10 shipping fee per annual entrance pass purchased.
Delivery times vary depending on shipping method. After purchase of an annual entrance pass online, you will receive a temporary pass that’s good for 14 days after the purchase date. The temporary pass will be sent to the email address associated with the online account. This temporary pass will allow the passholder to visit Florida’s state parks while they wait for their annual entrance pass to arrive in the mail. The name of the cardholder will be included on the temporary pass. Be prepared to show photo ID to use the pass.
3. Do you offer any discounts off the purchase price of an annual entrance pass?
The Florida Park Service offers the following discounts on the purchase of annual entrance passes to persons who present satisfactory written documentation that demonstrates their eligibility:
- Active Duty and Honorably Discharged Veterans - 25% discount on annual entrance passes for active duty and honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. armed forces, National Guard, or reserve units of the U.S. armed forces or National Guard.
- Honorably Discharged Veterans Who Have Service-Connected Disabilities - Free Lifetime Military Entrance Passes for honorably discharged U.S. veterans who have service-connected disabilities. These passes provide the same benefits as the Family Annual Entrance Pass.
- Surviving Spouses and Parents of Deceased Veterans - Free Lifetime Military Entrance Passes for surviving spouses and parents of deceased members of the U.S. armed forces, National Guard, or reserve units of the U.S. armed forces or National Guard who have fallen in combat. These passes provide the same benefits as the Family Annual Entrance Pass.
- Surviving Spouses and Parents of Florida Law Enforcement Officers and Florida Firefighters - Free Lifetime Entrance Passes for a surviving spouse and parents of Florida law enforcement officers and Florida firefighters who have died in the line of duty. These passes provide the same benefits as the Family Annual Entrance Pass.
- Licensed Family Foster Homes - Families operating a licensed family foster home are eligible to receive an annual free Family Annual Entrance Pass (must be licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families).
- Families Who Adopt Difficult to Place Children - Families who adopt a difficult to place child through the Florida Department of Children and Families are eligible to receive a one-time Family Annual Entrance Pass at no charge, at the time of adoption.
Discounted and free passes must be obtained in-person at a state park with a staffed ranger station. View our list of eligibility documents required for presentation in order for the passes to be sold/issued. Discounted and free passes cannot be issued or renewed online or by mail.
4. Do you offer annual entrance pass discounts to senior citizens or civilians with disabilities?
We do not offer any annual entrance pass discounts or discounted/free entry on a visit-by-visit basis to state parks for senior citizens or civilians with disabilities. However, persons in these and other categories who are permanent Florida residents may be eligible for a discounted rental rate when staying overnight in a Florida State Park campground.
View more information about this discount under the heading “Overnight Accommodation Discounts.”
5. Do you sell a lifetime pass?
While certain people may be eligible to be issued a free-for-life entrance pass, we do not sell any lifetime entrance passes.
6. Is the Family Annual Entrance Pass transferrable between members of the same family?
No. When a family annual entrance pass is purchased, the full name of the designated pass holder is printed on the back of the pass.
When the Family Annual Entrance Pass card is used to bring multiple people into a state park, the named pass holder must be present with the group for the pass to be used. The pass cannot be transferred between multiple users.
7. Does my annual entrance pass cover extra costs like campsite/cabin rentals, boat ramp fees, watercraft rentals, etc.?
No. The annual entrance pass is specifically intended to cover day-use entry only into Florida's state parks.
Extra fees would be required for boat launch costs, concession rentals or purchases, special event admission, tram tours, etc.
The annual entrance pass does not give any discounts on nightly campsite, cabin or lodge rental rates.
8. If my annual entrance pass is lost or stolen, can I get a replacement pass card?
Yes. If you have lost your annual entrance pass, you can get a replacement.
Purchased at a Park
- If you purchased your annual entrance pass at a Florida state park, visit any park that sells passes.
- Bring your original register receipt, received at the time of purchase.
- The fee to replace the pass is 25% of the original purchase price, plus $15 for an individual pass card replacement or $30 for a family pass card replacement.
- The replacement card will have the same expiration date as your original pass.
- If you purchased your annual entrance pass online, call 850-245-2157 for assistance.
Stolen Annual Passes
If your annual entrance pass was stolen, you will need to provide a copy of the police report to obtain a replacement pass, at no additional cost.
Camping and Cabin Questions
1. What are the different ways that you can stay overnight in Florida State Parks?
Florida's state parks offer multiple ways to stay in our parks overnight and enjoy the great outdoors:
- Camping in a tent, RV, travel trailer, pop-up camper, fifth wheel, motor home, school bus camper, truck camper or hammock, on a campsite where you have power/water and restroom/shower facilities nearby.
- Staying in a cabin – either along the lines of a vacation home or in a more rustic camp-style atmosphere.
- Primitive camping where you hike, bicycle, ride a horse or paddle out to your campsite and stay in a tent.
- Boat camping in a marina slip, anchored or attached to a mooring buoy.
- Camping with your horse in either a full-facility or primitive campground setting.
- Hotel-style rooms in the historic Lodge at Wakulla Springs.
- Developed group camping facilities for organized nonprofit groups such as Scouts, faith-based groups and civic service clubs. These facilities can be found at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, O’Leno State Park in High Springs or Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka.
- Primitive group camps for organized nonprofit groups such as scouts, faith-based groups and civic service clubs.
1.2. How do I make an overnight accommodation reservation?
Cabins and most boat camping slips, equestrian campsites and standard campsites can be booked through the Florida State Parks Reservation System or by calling 800-326-3521. Reservations can be made as far out as 11 months prior to your desired check-in date beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time, or up to 1 p.m. local time on the same day as your stay.
If you are booking a primitive campsite or reserving a group camping area, please contact the park where you wish to camp.
1.3. How much does it cost to camp at a Florida State Park campsite?
Camping fees range from $16-42, per night. Visit the park's webpage for specific fee information.
There is a nonrefundable $6.70 reservation fee per transaction, which visitors will pay at the time they make their reservation either online or through the call center.
Additionally, there is a $7 nightly utility fee for all RV, boat, cabin and yurt units at all parks. This fee does not apply to tent camping.
1.4. Are there any overnight accommodation discounts available?
We offer a 50% discount off nightly campsite rental rates to permanent Florida residents who fall into one of three categories:
- Florida residents ages 65 and older.
- Florida residents who receive a Social Security Disability award or who are otherwise rated at 100% disability by a government agency.
- Florida residents who operate a Level I-V foster family home licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
For more information about the eligibility documents required to receive this discount, please view Overnight Accommodation Discounts.We do not offer discounts for cabins, primitive camping, boat camping, group camping or campsites booked through a concessionaire.
1.5. When do sites become available for reservations?
New sites become available for reservation at 8 a.m. Eastern time daily. Any new sites that become available throughout the day due to a cancellation are randomly released back into inventory following the cancellation.
1.6. How far in advance can I make a reservation?
Campsite reservations may be made before 1 p.m. on the same day until 11 months in advance of your arrival date.
Reservations can be made beyond 11 months only when the reservation period starts within the 11-month period and ends outside that period. The result is reservations could extend 11 months and 14 days in the future.
To ensure fairness in reserving campsites and cabins, reservations made with a departure date beyond the 11-month advance reservations window may not be changed until 18 days after the reservation is made.
1.7. Can I bring my pet camping with me?
Pets are permitted in certain designated camping areas and campsites. The number of pets allowed is variable by park depending on the campsite, but four pets is the maximum number allowed on any campsite.
Pets are not permitted on beaches, playgrounds, bathing areas, cabins, park buildings or concession facilities. Individual parks may have specific areas prohibiting pets.
Service animals are permitted in all public areas of state parks. For more information about camping with pets, please read the Pet Policy.
1.8. Can I rent camping gear if I don’t have my own?
In most state park campgrounds, you will need to bring your own camping gear. However, a limited number of parks offer Glamping opportunities through our concession partners, combining modern comfort with the experience of camping in the great outdoors. Amenities may include a spacious tent already set up for you, quality bedding, climate control, decorative lighting or other special features.
1.9. How do I cancel or modify a campsite/cabin reservation made through the reservation system?
There are two ways to cancel or modify an overnight accommodation reservation:
- Call the telephone reservation center at 800-326-3521 and speak to one of the agents. Please have your reservation number available and let the agent know whether you are modifying the booking or canceling it entirely.
- Log in to the reservation system, select the drop-down arrow next to “Your Account” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and choose “Your Reservations.” All active reservations in your name will be shown. To the left of each reservation, you will see options for Cancel, Modify or Reprint.
- If you are modifying the booking to add new nights to the reservation, or if you are moving the reservation to new dates of stay, verify that those dates are available for booking. Similarly, verify the availability of any new campsite or cabin that you may be changing your reservation to include.
- If you want to change your reservation from accommodations in one state park to a different state park, you will cancel your original booking and make a new reservation in the new park.
Modifying a reservation incurs a $10 change fee charged at the time of modification. If any additional fees are applicable because of the change, those will be assessed at the same time. If any refund is due because of the change, it will be processed immediately.
If you are canceling your reservation more than 24 hours prior to the scheduled check-in time/date, there will be a $17.75 cancellation fee assessed and we will retain the nonrefundable $6.70 service fee that was charged at the time of booking. All other monies will be refunded to you.
If you are canceling your reservation within 24 hours of your scheduled check-in time/date, there will be a $17.75 cancellation fee assessed, we will retain the non-refundable $6.70 service fee that was charged at the time of booking, and we will also retain the cost of the first night of stay. All other monies will be refunded to you.
10. Can I make or change reservations using my mobile device?
Yes. Reservations can be made securely from mobile devices using our reservation website. This website is responsive and friendly for users of mobile devices.
Website and phone reservations, cancellations and transfers are subject to transaction fees.
11. Will my RV or camping rig fit in the campsites?
Campsites are available for campers and vehicles ranging in length from 10 feet to 104 feet. Most campsites maintain a soft gravel pad and each is equipped with water and electricity.
- Accessible campsites are available.
- Most parks have a central dump station.
- Some parks offer drive-through and waterfront locations.
Check the park's reservation page for specific information on site-specific amenities and maximum vehicle length. Look for the site length and site width. These numbers represent the length and width of the site. Consider the overall length and width of your camper or RV and your tow vehicle when deciding if a site is appropriate for you.
RVs and campers are not permitted on sites reserved for tents only.
12. Is an advance reservation for a campsite or cabin required? Do you offer “walk-in” overnight stay availability?
Guests are welcome to inquire at the ranger station as to whether there are campsite or cabin openings within the park that evening. Park staff will book you a campsite/cabin if there is availability. However, we cannot guarantee walk-in campsite or cabin availability, nor can we guarantee how many nights any campsite/cabin may be available for use. Campsite and cabin bookings may be made through the Reservation System on the same day as desired check-in until 1 p.m. local time.
13. Is the $7 nightly utility fee automatically added to all campsites?
When making a new reservation, visitors select the equipment type they will use for their reservation (i.e., tent, RV, etc.).
- A $7 nightly utility fee is automatically applied for all RV, boat, bungalow, cabin and yurt units at all parks.
- Tent campers are not assessed the fee but can use electric and water as available on their site. This includes tent campers staying in a standard RV site.
- Campers staying in any equipment other than a tent will be assessed the entire $7 nightly utility fee, even if they choose not to use some or all of the utilities offered.
- Discounts do not apply to the $7 nightly utility fee. The $7 nightly utility fee will be applied as a taxable charge to the reservation on top of the base campsite/cabin fee.
14. Do you offer seasonal, long-term or permanent campsite or cabin rental?
No. The maximum length of stay that one may have for a single reservation is 14 nights total.
If you want to make a subsequent cabin/campsite reservation in the same park, there must be at least three nights in between each reservation where you are not present in the park.
In addition, you may not reserve more than 56 nights in the same park within a six-month period.
15. Do any state parks permit boondocking, dispersed camping or staying overnight in a day-use parking lot?
No. Overnight stays in Florida's state parks must take place in a designated campsite, cabin or lodge to better preserve our natural features and the safety of our park visitors.
16. Is lodging available in state parks?
Wakulla Springs State Park is home to a 27-room lodge, and 21 state parks from Pensacola to the Florida Keys include overnight cabin accommodations. Some are modern vacation cabins with two bedrooms, and some are rustic.
Cabin fees range from $30 to $180 per night. Reservations may be made from one day to 11 months in advance online through our reservation website or by calling toll-free 800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern time.
17. Do all the Florida State Park campsites have a campfire ring?
The majority of campsites reservable through the Florida State Parks' reservation system provide a campfire ring on the site that has a removable grill top. This allows either campfire enjoyment or practical cooking over the fire.
In certain locations, a charcoal grill on a post may be provided instead of a campfire ring.
You may want to verify in advance which feature your campsite offers, either by reading the special remarks/amenities listing on the campsite details, or by calling the park directly and inquiring about the features of a particular campsite.
A campfire ring is also available at many primitive campsites, but it is important to verify campsite amenities at the time of reservation or beforehand.
18. Can I gather firewood and/or kindling within the state park?
No. Firewood is sold by the park ranger station, campground host or campground store in most park locations. Unless otherwise stated, guests can bring locally sourced firewood into the park with them for campfire use.
The gathering of firewood within the state park is prohibited.
19. Am I permitted to bring a portable fire pit or grill to use at my campsite?
Yes. To avoid fire hazard risks, please place the fire pit/grill on the dirt/gravel/concrete campsite pad and not in the buffer foliage in between campsites.
In the case of a burn ban at a state park campground, you are welcome to use a charcoal or propane grill for cooking purposes but not a fire pit, which might generate airborne embers.
20. I’m about to go camping in a state park and there is a yellow alert about a burn ban on the park website. What does this mean?
A burn ban is enacted in a particular region when there are dangerous fire conditions present that might result in wildfire.
During a burn ban, you are not permitted to light a fire in the campfire ring nor to use freestanding fire pits. You are permitted to bring and use a propane grill, a freestanding charcoal grill or an electric grill/griddle (if the campsite provides an electrical power hookup) for cooking use during a burn ban.
21. Can I light fireworks at my campsite or cabin?
No. Fireworks are prohibited in all Florida State Parks.
22. I’m doing a long-distance bicycling/paddling/hiking trip through Florida and it’s difficult to make reservations. Can you provide a campsite for me?
If non-motorized travelers (such as cyclists, hikers, paddlers, etc.) arrive at a state park with campground facilities and a campsite is available for their use, they will be booked into that campsite at the standard nightly rate. If the campground is full at the guest’s time of arrival, the park staff will attempt to locate accommodations at referral campgrounds. If none are available or time is short, park staff may use temporary space for one night to provide accommodation, charging one night’s fee. Normally, a tent is required, but in this case, is waived, as long as the long-distance traveler has a sleeping bag. The traveler is permitted to use the park’s campground bathhouse at no additional charge.
The opportunity to stay overnight at a state park is limited to Florida State Parks that offer campground facilities. If a state park is a day-use only location and does not offer overnight accommodations, a traveler would not be able to stay overnight on park property.
23. Does the current reservation system give an advantage to any group or individual in making reservations?
No. The reservation system does not give an advantage to any particular group or individual in making reservations.
Everyone has the same opportunity to call or go online and make a reservation. Everyone also has access to the bookable inventory at the same time.
24. Why can’t Florida residents get a reservation?
Camping in Florida State Parks is a very popular activity and we have ensured that everyone has the same opportunity to call or go online and make a reservation. We welcome visitors from Florida and from throughout the world to our award-winning parks each year.
Over the past five years, Florida residents have made up, on average, over 61% of all our overnight visitors annually.
25. Why does the Florida Park Service use US eDirect to handle park reservations?
US eDirect provides a comprehensive reservation system to support online and call center reservations for visitors. Additionally, this system allows for quick check-in upon arrival. The system also provides an integrated point-of-sale system for day-use visitors. In the future, this system may expand to include annual entrance pass sales, pavilion rentals, recreation equipment rentals and more. This company is the best partner available to handle the robust volume of reservations needed for Florida’s state parks, which host more than 2 million annual overnight stays and more than 22 million annual day visitors.
Can I bring my pet to stay in a state park cottage, cabin or lodge?
No. Pets are not permitted in state park cabins, cottages or lodges. Pets are permitted in designated campgrounds.
Service animals are welcome in all public areas of Florida's State Parks.
- The Pet Policy shares guidelines for bringing your pets to the park.
1. How do I get a job working in a Florida State Park?
The Florida Park Service (also known as the Division of Recreation and Parks) is part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Most Florida government job opportunities are advertised through Jobs.MyFlorida.com.
When seeking state park job listings at the website, you will first want to click on the drop-down arrow marked “Agency” and choose “Department of Environmental Protection” from the list. Once you are on the DEP page, you can either scroll down the page to see all DEP positions available, or you can narrow your search by typing in a specific location. The job descriptions will cover what knowledge, skills and abilities are important for a candidate to have. Be aware that these descriptions may vary from park to park even if the job title is the same.
On some occasions, seasonal or part-time employment may be advertised directly through the state park and not through the jobs website linked above. If you do not see any listed positions in your desired location, contact your state park of interest to inquire if there are any opportunities available and what application process is necessary to complete.
Contact information for all of our state parks or trails can be found at FloridaStateParks.org. If you type the name of the park/trail you are seeking into the search bar located in the upper right-hand corner, the website will bring you to the page for that particular location. The physical address and telephone number for the park/trail will be immediately to the right of the welcome message and listed as “Contact This Park.”
Inquiries regarding employment with any of the on-site concession services within Florida State Parks should be addressed to the concession business directly.
2. Are there any specific degree requirements, certifications or other prerequisites for becoming employed as a park ranger?
There are no specific degree or subject matter requirements for becoming employed with Florida State Parks, although fields that are related to the job might include environmental science, leisure and recreation services, forestry, biology, geology, history or customer services. These areas may be helpful in understanding the principles, philosophies, etc., that are used to manage state parks. Many of our employees also have backgrounds in military service.
Park rangers and park services specialists are often called upon to do such tasks as resource management (removing exotic plants from park grounds, monitoring/protecting sensitive ecological areas and species within the park, participating in prescribed burns); visitor services; park interpretation; maintenance (cleaning park grounds and facilities, providing preventative maintenance, and repairing park equipment and facilities); administration (collecting fees, preparing reports, maintaining records and logs); and providing park security. Experience in skilled trades such as electrical wiring, plumbing, carpentry, and operation of power tools and farming equipment can be a plus.
3. I’ve heard about Ranger Academy – is this something that I can complete before applying to work with the Florida Park Service?
Ranger Academy is not something that you can attend prior to applying for a job as a park ranger; it is a component of the new employee training process. If you apply and are hired as a park ranger or park services specialist with DEP through Jobs.MyFlorida.com, you will likely attend Ranger Academy within your first year of employment.
4. Is there any way I can work in Florida State Parks as an AmeriCorps participant?
The Florida Park Service partners with AmeriCorps in the Florida Conservation Corps (FLCC), developing natural and cultural resource leaders by connecting them to areas of critical need in conservation, preservation, interpretation and resource-based recreation. Please see the information given at the webpage linked above, or contact the FLCC directly at FLCC@FloridaDEP.gov.
5. Are there any ways in which I can find out if a career as a park ranger is right for me?
Entrance Discount Questions
1. Do Florida State Parks offer any free entry programs or entrance fee discounts?
Florida State Parks offers a limited number of free and discounted entrance programs applicable on a visit-by-visit basis:
- Children under 6 years of age admitted free at all Florida State Parks.
- Florida school groups, including vocational schools, colleges and universities, that are accompanied by one or more teachers receive free park entry when bearing a letter from the school principal, professor or other appropriate official, certifying that the park visit is related to a specific school curriculum and is for educational purposes rather than a purely recreational outing. Visit the Florida State Parks website for more information on educational opportunities.
- Patients of Florida State mental institutions and clients of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Department of Children and Families and other similar institutions that are fully funded by federal, state or local governments are eligible to receive free park entry when such patients and/or clients are part of an organized group or program under the sponsorship and supervision of their respective institutions or parent agencies.
- Active members of the Florida National Guard, along with their spouses and minor children, receive a half-price entrance fee discount. Recipients must provide proof of eligibility.
- Florida residents currently participating in the Florida Department of Children and Families ACCESS/SNAP/EBT program (otherwise known as food stamps) receive a half-price entrance fee discount. Recipients must provide proof of eligibility.
- Employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection receive free park entry with presentation of their departmental ID badge when entering as a group of up to eight people (in one vehicle or as a group of pedestrians or bicyclists), except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs state parks, where the DEP employee and one other person enter free of charge. The DEP employee ID badge provides a 33% discount at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park.
2. I have a disabled license tag or parking hanging tag indicating disability. Do I need to pay for park entrance?
Yes, you would need to pay the standard entrance fee into the park. There is no charge for parking within the park, and we offer disabled-designated parking spots. If your disability is due to U.S. military service, you may be eligible to receive a free-for-life Military Entrance Pass.
In addition, some Florida residents with disabilities may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off nightly campsite rental rates at state parks and trailheads with campground facilities.
For more information, please visit overnight accommodation discounts.
3. I’m a senior citizen. Do I get free or discounted entrance into Florida State Parks?
No, you would need to pay the standard entrance fee into the park. While we don’t have any age-related discounts for day-use park entrance, Florida residents ages 65 and older are eligible to receive a 50% discount off nightly campsite rental rates at state parks and trailheads with campground facilities. For more information, please see the “Overnight Accommodation Discounts” section at FloridaStateParks.org/fees.
4. I’m an active duty member of the U.S. military/veteran/retired U.S. military. Can I show my military ID and get free or discounted entrance into a state park?
We appreciate your service to our nation! While you would not be able to show a military ID to get free or discounted entry, we do offer free and discounted Entrance Passes for active duty military and honorably discharged veterans/retired military. Learn more about what eligibility documents are needed for these passes. Discounted and free passes must be sold/issued in person at a state park with a ranger station; they cannot be acquired by mail or online.
1. How do I find out if there are any scheduled activities or special events occurring in a state park near me?
Most ranger-led activities, living history/historical reenactments, festivals and other special events are posted on our events page.
It is possible to filter the events display on this page by the month when the event is occurring, theme/type of activity, and by specific park/trail names.
You also can call your local state park and ask if there are any upcoming events or ranger-led activities.
2. What if I don’t see an event I’m looking for on the Events page?
Event notices are placed on the Florida State Parks events page once all the details about the program are available. Just because an event is not yet listed on the Events page does not mean that it will not take place, particularly if you are looking for the listing a month or more out from the scheduled date. You can verify if a particular event is in the development stages by calling the park directly.
3. I’d like to hold a public event, race or benefit in a particular state park or trail. How do I find out if this is possible?
Please contact the management team for your park/trail of interest to determine how best to submit a proposal for the event you would like to have occur. Telephone numbers for each state park are listed beneath park names on individual park webpages found through the Florida State Parks index.
4. I’ve heard that a concessionaire or “friends of the park” citizen support organization is leading a guided paddle/horseback trail ride/tram ride/other activity, but I don’t see this in the events. How do I find out more?
Concessionaire or citizen support organization (CSO) led activities are often posted on the concessionaire/CSO webpage or announced on those entities’ social media pages.
Contacting the park where the activity is scheduled to occur can provide direction as to where one can sign up to participate or how to find more information.
Florida Conservation Corps Questions
1. What is the Florida Conservation Corps?
The Florida Conservation Corps (FLCC) is an office within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service that operates an AmeriCorps National Service Program.
This program is divided into three project areas that each address either a major issue facing Florida State Parks or a component of the FLCC mission.
- Project A.N.T. (AmeriCorps Non-Native Plant Terminators).
- Project R.O.A.R. (Regional Outreach and Awareness Recruiters).
- Project T.R.E.C. (Trail Restoration and Enhancement Corps).
1.2. What are the benefits of being an FLCC AMERICORPS member?
During a term of service, members gain valuable experience in resource management, trail restoration and/or volunteer recruitment while also improving their knowledge of conservation and restoration ecology. Members also learn useful skills such as interpretive program development and volunteer/community outreach.
Aside from personal growth, members receive $1,140 a month as a living stipend, and upon successful completion of a full term, members qualify for a Segal education award of $5,775.
1.3. What are the requirements for being an FLCC AMERICORPS member?
Potential members must be at least 18 years of age and authorized to work in the U.S. without restrictions. We do not have any formal education requirement (but a high school diploma or equivalent is needed to receive the education award).
A background in a related field is very helpful for applicants seeking a member position. This can come in the form of education, volunteer service or work experience.
1.4. What do FLCC AMERICORPS members do?
Each FLCC project will offer a member a unique experience within Florida State Parks. Members are assigned to a service location depending on the project they have applied for and are expected to complete an 11-month (1,700-hour) term of service.
During their term, members focus on a set series of performance measures and are guided by Florida Park Service staff on goal setting and work expectations. Depending on the project, members might work in the field treating invasive exotic plants, they may be working on repairing a trail, or they may be developing outreach material and recruiting volunteers to aid state parks.
1.5. What information is needed on the application?
The application page is relatively simple and asks for prior work, education, and service experience along with a motivational statement. If you have experience related to the service description, it is suggested that you include that as we are a competitive program and many of our members have prior experience in a related field.
Additionally, you will be asked to provide contact information for a minimum of two professional references. These references will be emailed with a questionnaire that will need to be filled out on your behalf. It is advised that you notify these contacts as your application can be considered incomplete until the questionnaire is finished.
1.6. How do I apply for FLCC?
All applicants must create an application online. Please note that an application can be created at any time, but you may only submit an application to the any of the FLCC projects during recruitment season.
Typically, the application pages are open from mid-October through January.
1.7. Are there uniforms for FLCC?
Yes, members are provided one Class A Polo, five Class B shirts, five khaki service pants, one FLCC jacket and one sunhat. Other personal protection equipment is issued as needed and varies by project area.
Members are required to be in uniform any time they are completing service hours. Members also agree to a uniform and personal appearance standard when they are enrolled.
1.8. How is the FLCC program supported?
The Florida Conservation Corps manages AmeriCorps grant based programs (Projects A.N.T., R.O.A.R. and T.R.E.C.) and is overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Volunteer Florida.
Within DEP the Florida Park Service’s Bureau of Natural and Cultural Resources manages the Florida Conservation Corps. FLCC directly administers the AmeriCorps Projects. FLCC administration is made up of a program coordinator, assistant program coordinator and a program assistant.
1.9 What is the work schedule for FLCC?
Each project and service location has a different work schedule. As long as the 1,700 hours in eleven months are completed, many parks or service sites are willing to work with members for a flexible schedule if needed.
The standard however, is roughly 40 hours per week, typically Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., with some weekend events or travel opportunities to neighboring locations.
10. What if I'm having an issue with MY.AMERICORPS?
FLCC staff does not have administrative powers over the my.AmeriCorps.gov website.
If technical issues are experienced please contact the my.AmeriCorps Support Desk at 800-942-2677.
11. What do members do after their term of service?
After completing a full season of field experience in direct resource management, many members are prepared for successful careers in related industries. Many members have gone on to work in environmental agencies at the local, state or federal level. However, results will vary.
The FLCC AmeriCorps Programs are an excellent opportunity to develop skills needed to be an effective resource manager, team member, and environmental advocate while also having fun and enjoying the great state of Florida.
Florida Folk Festival
1. How do I find information about the next Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park?
The Florida Folk Festival is a three-day event featuring live performances, workshops and vendors that takes place over Memorial Day weekend each year at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs.
Tickets to the festival go on sale in advance of the event on the Tickets & Lodging page within the festival information.
During the event, campsites and cabins at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park are reserved for use by festival performers and organizers, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
1.2. How do I participate in the Florida Folk Festival as a performer, vendor, exhibitor or volunteer?
Please review the Participant Information page within the festival information webpages. Participation in this event requires an application to be submitted by certain due dates listed on the page linked above.
If you have additional questions or need application assistance, please contact the Festival Office at 877-635-3655, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time.
1.3. What time is the festival open?
- The festival gates open each day at 8 a.m.
- Performers go on stage at 10 a.m.
- Final performances of the day end about 11 p.m.
1.4. Is the festival held on Monday?
No. The Florida Folk Festival is a three-day event, beginning Friday and lasting through Sunday evening.
1.5. Is a full schedule of performances available?
Performance schedules will be available on our website in early April.
Attendees are provided a copy of the complete schedule at the gate.
1.6. Where do I park?
We recommend you utilize the festival's north entrance. From the festival walk-in entrance, proceed 1 mile north on U.S. 41 and turn left at the Florida Folk Festival sign.
- Golf cart shuttles regularly make stops in the parking area.
1.7. Should I bring a chair?
Many visitors bring their own chairs to the festival. A limited number of folding chairs are provided for your use at each stage.
1.8. Can I bring a cooler?
Coolers are welcome at the festival. However, please keep in mind that it may not be convenient to bring large coolers into the festival due to the spacious grounds.
Alcoholic beverages may not be brought into the festival.
1.9. Can I bring my pet?
Pets are not permitted on the festival grounds. Service animals are always welcome.
10. Can I camp at the festival?
Public camping is not available at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park during the Florida Folk Festival. We suggest you visit our lodging page for local camping information.
11. Is the festival accessible for people with disabilities?
Disabled parking is available at the festival. Accessible restrooms, port-a-lets and shuttle transportation (including a chair lift) are available throughout the festival site.
Paved roadways and sidewalks make the festival accessible by wheelchair or other approved modes of transportation. Please keep in mind that the festival is an outdoor event.
- Golf carts are not permitted.
- Sign language interpreters are provided at main stages.
12. Is there an ATM available at the festival?
An ATM machine is located in White Springs or on the festival grounds.
13. When is next year's festival?
The festival is always held the Friday, Saturday and Sunday preceding the observed Memorial Day holiday in May.
14. Are there adequate provisions for health and safety?
Total attendance over the three days of the festival may approach 20,000 attendees. There will be adequate public safety personnel to ensure good order and crowd control.
A first aid station will be set up to handle health emergencies. As is the case throughout the country, a telephone call to 911 will summon an immediate response.
Are state park facilities accessible for persons using wheelchairs?
Most of Florida's state parks offer accessible amenities and programs. For additional access to trails and beaches, all-terrain wheelchairs are located in parks throughout the state.
Accessible boat tours are available at some parks. Sign language interpreters can be provided, with advance notice. Many parks with video programs offer an open-captioned version, as well as transcribed copies of audio programs.
If you need information about specific amenities and programs, please contact that park directly.
Do parks ever close when they are full?
All parks will close when they reach capacity.
Each park has a set carrying capacity which is established based on the estimated number of users a recreation resource can accommodate while maintaining the quality of the recreational experience and avoiding unacceptable resource degradation. Should a park close once they reach capacity, no further vehicles, bicycles or walk-in visitors will be allowed to enter until space becomes available – with exception to registered campers.
If you are renting a pavilion, hosting an event or have been invited to an event, please plan accordingly. If you leave the park, you will not be allowed to re-enter until space is available.
Please be advised that many of our parks offer entry access located off busy highways, however we ask our visitors not to block access for emergency vehicles and not to park on the road shoulders.
At many parks, for safety reasons, visitors may not be allowed to wait in line in the park when the park has closed.
Is an annual pass available for frequent state park visitors?
Individual and family passes are available. Passes may be purchased through all park ranger stations and museums.
What are your days and hours of operation?
Most of Florida's state parks are open from 8 a.m. to sunset, every day of the year.
Museums, visitor centers and historic sites may be closed two days per week and hours may vary. Check the park's webpage for specific information.
Gift Card Questions
1. Where can I purchase a gift card?
Effective Feb. 1, 2018, gift cards are no longer available for purchase.
Florida State Parks will continue to honor all gift cards purchased prior to Feb. 1, 2018.
2. How much is a gift card worth?
Effective Feb. 1, 2018, gift cards are no longer available for purchase. Gift cards may have been purchased for any amount starting at $5 and up.
Visitors can check their balance on their gift card online by selecting “Check My Balance” on the gift card page.
3. What can a gift card be redeemed for and where?
Effective Feb. 1, 2018, gift cards are no longer available for purchase.
Gift cards may only be used to make reservations for camping and cabins at Florida State Parks; however, a few exceptions apply. Those exceptions are:
- Concession-operated campgrounds or cabins.
- Wakulla Springs Lodge.
- Caladesi Island State Park (only including walk-in reservations).
- Cayo Costa State Park (only including walk-in reservations).
- Primitive camping sites, primitive group camping, developed group camping.
Gift cards cannot be redeemed for canoe/kayak rentals or the purchase of merchandise (patches, license plates, etc.).
Gift cards may be redeemed for reservations made online, through the call center and as walk-ins. They are not redeemable for past purchases or other merchandise, fees, rentals and are not redeemable for camping or cabin reservations in other states (exclusive to Florida State Parks).
4. Are gift cards refundable?
Effective Feb. 1, 2018, gift cards are no longer available for purchase. Gift cards themselves are non-refundable.
Hurricane Recovery - St. Joseph
What is currently open at the park?
Today, the park is open for day-use from 8 a.m. to sundown.
- Kayak, canoe and pontoon boat rentals are available.
- The boat launch provides access to St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
- The Maritime Hammock Nature Trail has reopened.
- The park offers nearly 20 miles of beach and bay shoreline for recreation and wildlife habitat.
- Visitors enjoy fishing, bicycling, birding, boating, hiking, paddling, picnicking, shelling, swimming and wildlife viewing.
- The Gulf Breeze day-use area offers picnicking.
- Eight cabins are available for overnight stays.
- Fourteen primitive campsite are available for pack-in, pack out stays in the Wilderness Preserve.
What is special about T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park?
T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park protects some of the tallest intact dunes in the Florida panhandle and is one of the best examples of undeveloped dune habitat in the state.
- The park is one of the most important nesting areas for the threatened snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), providing breeding ground for 17% of the statewide population in 2006.
- The park protects an integral area that large numbers of rare and imperiled migratory bird species use as a “jumping off” point for their trans-gulf flights.
- The park provides nesting beaches for three species of federally listed sea turtles, including green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta).
- The park protects one of the remaining two “core” populations of the endangered St. Andrew beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus peninsularis) on conservation lands.
- The park protects nearly 20 miles of beach and bay shoreline for wildlife habitat and resource-based public recreation.
- The park contains a designated Wilderness Preserve area that consists of over 1,900 acres of the northern 7 miles of the peninsula.
- The park provides Florida residents and visitors with the opportunity to experience and understand the dynamic natural ecosystems and processes at play on Florida’s gulf coast.
What projects have been completed at the park since Hurricane Michael?
- The breach caused by Hurricane Michael has filled in and a new road is in place.
- The beach restroom has been remodeled.
- New residences have been built for the park manager and assistant park manager.
- Debris has been removed.
- Sea oats have been planted to stabilize the dune and prevent erosion.
What’s happening at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park?
The Department of Environmental Protection is thankful to be making improvements to the facilities at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
These projects include:
- Rebuilding Shady Pines Campground featuring 46 new and better spaced-out sites.
- Transitioning the former Gulf Breeze campground into a day-use area.
- Creating a new Bayview Campground loop.
We appreciate the patience and understanding of visitors. While this project may present a temporary inconvenience, it will provide valuable amenity improvements at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
When will the cabins reopen?
Eight cabins are available for overnight stays in the park. Learn more.
When will the park offer camping again?
In the future, the park will offer two camping loops.
The former Shady Pines Campground was washed out by Hurricane Michael. The bathhouses were destroyed. Much of the tree canopy was lost. The dune adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico was eroded.
The new Shady Pines Campground will feature 36 standard-facility campsites and 10 tent-only campsites. Two new bathhouses will be built. Campers will have access to the Gulf beach from the campground. The Shady Pines Campground will open around mid-2023.
A new camping loop, called the Bayview Campground, will be created on the site of the former boat trailer parking area. Campers will enjoy a scenic view over the waters of St. Joseph Bay. Approximately 19 standard-facility campsites will surround an area of natural scrubby flatwoods with a footpath to a bathhouse.
Will there be a picnic area at the park?
Yes. Park visitors will have access to two new day-use areas for picnicking and other recreation.
The Gulf Breeze Day Use Area (former Gulf Breeze Campground) is open and allows visitors to explore an area of beach north of Eagle Harbor with a scenic backdrop of piney flatwoods and open marsh that provide habitat for an abundance of wildlife. Opportunities for viewing the landscape are provided by short walking paths and a potential observation platform. Additional amenities at this location will include overflow parking for vehicles with boat trailers, a restroom and covered pavilions.
In the future, pavilions at the Bayview Day Use Area will provide shade for picnickers. This area will be used by hikers on the Bayview Hiking Trail and paddlers for launching paddlecraft and small watercraft.
Will there be primitive camping at the park?
Yes. Fourteen primitive campsites are available for pack-in, pack-out camping in the Wilderness Preserve. Learn more.
Do you offer Internship opportunities?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection offers a variety of exciting and challenging internships across the state for individuals interested in pursuing careers in engineering, environmental law, environmental science and park management. Other professional, technical and administrative positions are available including field work, surveying, hydrology, communications and information technology. Through our internship program, students can improve communications skills, develop teamwork skills, learn the importance of protecting the environment and much more. Application materials can be submitted electronically or by mail.
If you are interested in applying for an internship with DEP, you will need to send us the following information:
- Cover letter describing your area(s) of interest and the dates you will be available.
- Resume describing your training and experience.
- Copy of school's internship criteria (if applicable).
Please send these three items to Katrina.Kasemir. You also can submit your information via fax at 850-245-2545 or by mail at the following address:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Human Resource Management
3900 Commonwealth Blvd., MS 70
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000
DEP is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. If you need an accommodation to participate in the recruitment/selection process, contact the Bureau of Human Resource Management at 850-245-2414.
Junior Ranger Questions
1. What’s involved in participating in the Florida State Parks' Junior Ranger Program?
The Junior Ranger program offers a fun and learning-immersive way for the young and young-at-heart to interact with features within Florida’s state parks. By completing organized and/or self-directed activities when visiting different Florida State Parks, participants first earn a patch (after completing the six CORE activities).
You can pick up a packet of Junior Ranger materials at one of the participating state parks. We recommend calling the park to verify that it has the Junior Ranger packets in stock before you make the drive. It is also possible to download the materials under the “Complete Junior Ranger Activities” heading.
If the participant finishes six more activities in certain subject categories at different state parks and turns in the completed Junior Ranger Passport, they will receive a pin. Please refer to the information given at “Complete Junior Ranger Activities” for more details.
Junior Ranger materials are also available en Español.
2. Is there an age requirement to do the Junior Ranger activities?
No. Although the program was designed with school-age children in mind, all ages are welcome to participate.
3. What is the cost to participate in the program?
Participants and accompanying family/friends pay the applicable entrance fees into Florida State Parks. There are no extra costs for program participation.
4. Is it possible to do Junior Ranger activities without going to a Florida State Park?
For those unable to visit our parks in person, we invite you to complete the Virtual Junior Ranger program and earn virtual rewards. All other activities must be completed inside Florida State Parks.
5. How do I find out if an organized Junior Ranger activity is taking place at a state park?
Organized Junior Ranger Programs are frequently announced on the events page.
We also recommend that you contact your local state park to ask about any upcoming staff-guided Junior Ranger activities on the calendar.
6. How do we collect the ranger stamp for a completed activity sheet if we’re at a park without a ranger station?
If you complete an activity within a park with an honor box or have otherwise not been able to make contact with a ranger while visiting the park, you may need to have your passport stamped at another nearby state park.
If you are uncertain as to where the closest staffed location is, please contact our Statewide Information Line at 850-245-2157 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time.
I am a reporter. How do I ask questions or arrange for an interview?
Reporters interested in writing or broadcasting a story about Florida's state parks should contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Press Office at 850-245-2112 or email DEPNews@FloridaDEP.gov.
Online Day Passes
Am I guaranteed park entry if I buy my day pass online?
No. Entry into all Florida State Parks is on a first-come, first-served basis. Many parks fill to capacity, especially on weekends and holidays. Pre-purchased day passes do not guarantee park entry upon arrival.
Should the park be at capacity when you arrive, you will not be allowed to enter the park at that time. Park staff may suggest that you try visiting at an alternate time during that day. If you are unable to enter a park due to park capacity issues, you may request a full refund for your day pass by calling 800-326-3521.
Am I required to buy my day pass online?
No. Florida State Parks that are open to the public will offer other options to pay at the park for admission.
Can I use my day pass at multiple Florida State Parks?
No. Your day pass is only valid for admission to the single Florida State Park selected at check-out, on the date of purchase.
Does my day pass cover any fees other than park admission?
No. Your day pass is valid for park admission only and does not waive other special use fees.
What if I decide not to visit on the day of purchase? Can I request a refund?
Yes. Call 800-326-3521 to request a refund. Please be prepared to provide the confirmation number from your order.
What if I forgot to bring my receipt?
You may be asked to show park staff either a printed copy of your receipt or a digital copy (on your phone or mobile device) for park entry. If a printed or electronic copy of your receipt cannot be provided at the time of entry, admission may be denied.
What if I Have a Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass?
Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Passes will be honored for park admission. If you are a current Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass holder, you do not need to purchase a day pass online – your pass will be honored.
Please view our website for complete Florida State Parks' Annual Entrance Pass Program Benefits.
Will I still have to wait in line?
Maybe. Most Florida State Parks have limited entry points into the park. Please be prepared to wait in line to show park staff your day pass receipt.
Park Entrance Pricing Questions
1. How much does it cost to visit a state park or trail for the day?
There are 175 Florida state parks and trails, and each one has different features. Therefore, the entrance fee may vary from park to park.
- At most state trails, there is no entrance fee required.
- Parks with honor boxes instead of staffed ranger stations at the entrance will generally have a less expensive per-vehicle fee, usually between $1 and $4.
- Parks with a staffed ranger station frequently will have multiple fee levels for entry, based on the means in which visitors enter the park:
- Pedestrians and bicyclists - $2 per person.
- Single-occupant vehicle and motorcycles - $4 per vehicle.
- Vehicles with two to eight people – generally between $5 to $8 per vehicle.
- Vehicles with more than eight people – the multi-occupant vehicle entry fee plus $2 each additional person.
- Bus/motor coach - $60 or $2 per person (including the driver), whichever is less.
- Some state parks charge a per-person entrance fee for all visitors regardless of the vehicle used to enter the park. These fees range from $4 to $13 per person.
A list of entrance fees for all Florida State Parks can be seen on the official Fee Schedule beginning on page five. You can also check individual park entrance fees on their individual webpages, immediately beneath the park name at the top of each page.
*Prices subject to change without notice.
2. If I pay for entrance into one state park, would I be able to enter another park on the same day without paying entrance fees?
Since different state parks offer varying types of facilities and have different entrance fee costs, you would need to pay each park’s individual entrance fee at the time of entrance, regardless of what other state parks you may have also visited on that day.
If you retain your receipt given at the time of entrance into a state park, that receipt will allow you to come and go in and out of that park multiple times on the same day.
Be aware that if you depart the park and the park reaches maximum capacity visitation before you return, you may not be able to re-enter the park.
4. What methods of payment are accepted for entrance to state parks or overnight accommodations?
All state parks accept cash for entrance fees.
Overnight accommodations may be secured with major credit cards including MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover.
Can I use a pass issued by the National Park Service for entrance into Florida's state parks?
Because Florida State Parks do not receive federal funding, passes issued by the National Park Service do not grant free or discounted access to Florida State Parks.
Similarly, passes issued for county or city parks to not provide entrance into state parks. Florida State Parks offers an Annual Entrance Pass.
1. Are Florida's state parks pet-friendly?
In most of Florida's state parks, well-behaved pets on a 6-foot, hand-held leash or otherwise under physical control are welcome on our hiking trails, in our picnicking areas and in our campgrounds. Remember to always pick up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles.
The park areas where pets are not allowed:
- Enclosed areas (such as restrooms, welcome centers, restaurants and concession stands).
- Beaches (the one exception to this is a pet-friendly section of beach at Honeymoon Island State Park).
- Swimming areas and boat ramps.
- Pets are not allowed in cabins.
There may be additional park-specific limitations on where pets are permitted; please check with the park directly if you have questions. View our pet policy.
2. Are there any state parks where pets are not permitted at all?
Egmont Key State Park, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Skyway Fishing Pier State Park and Weeki Wachee Springs State Park do not permit pets within the park. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park provides complimentary kennels at the park entrance for pets whose owners are visiting the park, as pets are not permitted in the boats and exhibit areas.
Individually trained service animals in a working capacity are allowed in all public areas of a state park when accompanied by a visitor with a disability.
Emotional support animals, therapy animals and companion animals must follow the same rules for pets as set forth in the Florida State Parks Pet Policy.
3. Are there any areas in Florida State Parks where my pet can be off leash?
Florida State Parks do not offer unleashed pet areas.
Pets must be on a 6-foot, hand-held leash or otherwise under physical control – such as being in a crate, a pet carrier or pet stroller where they are secured and cannot jump out.
4. Are there any pet-friendly cabins where I can stay overnight with an animal?
No. We do not offer cabins where pets are permitted. Guests may not keep a pet crated outside a cabin where they are staying or in a vehicle parked outside a cabin.
A service animal accompanying a guest who is staying in a cabin is permitted. Our state park campgrounds are pet friendly.
5. Are there any breed restrictions or a maximum number of pets that I can have on a campsite when staying overnight in a Florida State Park?
We do not have any breed restrictions. However, the maximum number of pets that may be on a single campsite is four.
Please review the pet camping rules as shown in the Pet Policy, including the quiet hours when all pets must be kept inside the camping rig.
6. Are there any parks where I can take my pet in the water?
In most coastal parks with beaches, pets are not permitted on the sand or in the water so that they do not disturb shorebirds or sea turtles or their nests. The one exception to this rule is a pet-friendly section of beach at Honeymoon Island State Park. In this location, pets must remain leashed or otherwise under physical control.
Around inland freshwater and brackish rivers, springs, creeks, lakes and other bodies of water, pets are not permitted in designated swimming areas, tubing runs, boat launches or other water areas due to their being viewed as potential prey by alligators. For the safety of your pet and other state park guests, please keep your pet away from these areas.
1. Are there any rules regarding photography in Florida's state parks?
Rules for taking pictures in Florida's state parks are standard:
- Do not mar, deface or rearrange natural or permanently situated human-made features within the park or disrupt a wildlife habitat.
- Do not go into areas that are roped off or otherwise indicated for the public not to enter (e.g., don’t climb on the sand dunes).
- If you need to exclude other visitors from a particular area of the park during the photography session, arrange in advance for a photography permit.
- Unless other arrangements have been made with park management, photos must be taken within standard park operating hours.
- Standard entrance fees into the state park are applicable for all persons entering the park.
- Use of smoke bombs, fireworks or pyrotechnics is not permitted.
2. I want to take photos at a state park or trail. Is that allowed?
Photography is permitted without fee for all purposes except where normal park operations are disrupted or for resource protection.
3. I want to hold a photo shoot at a state park or trail. How do I arrange for a photography permit?
Photography permits are required if your photo shoot will disrupt others’ enjoyment of the park or for resource protection.
Submit the form to MarketingAndProgramming@FloridaDEP.gov. Staff will let you know if they have additional questions and work with the park manager on site for review.
- Please allow at least seven days for processing.
- Liability insurance is required.
4. I want to film a commercial, video, documentary or motion picture at a Florida State Park. How do I arrange for a photography permit?
Florida State Parks works closely with the Florida Film Commission on motion pictures being filmed in the state.
Photography permits are required if your photo shoot will disrupt others’ enjoyment of the park or for resource protection.
Submit the form to MarketingAndProgramming@FloridaDEP.gov. Staff will let you know if they have additional questions and work with the park manager on site for review. We will work with you on dates, times, fees and other details.
- Please allow at least seven days for processing.
- Liability insurance is required.
Am I safe during a prescribed fire?
Fire Managers and Burn Bosses in the Florida Park Service spend time planning and prepping prior to implementing a prescribed fire to ensure both public and firefighter safety.
How are the fire and smoke contained and controlled?
Control lines with fire breaks are established previous to the ignition of the fire. These fire breaks consist of removing all the flammable vegetation from an area twice the expected flame height at the edge of the fire. These lines usually consist of a disked, plowed or mowed line. The smoke is controlled by carefully selecting the days on the which we burn. Weather forecast and advanced smoke modeling tools are utilized in the planning process.
How can I get involved?
The best ways you can get involved is visiting Florida's State Parks and becoming more informed about fire's important natural role.
How do you avoid injuring wildlife?
Due to the nature of a prescribed fire it occurs throughout the duration of a day. Most of the animals have time get out of the area or seek refuge before the burn impacts them directly.
Is a prescribed fire dangerous?
Prescribed fire is a safe and controlled planned management activity. Prescribed fire is implemented by highly trained professionals and is a planned event that takes place under optimal conditions.
What about pollution from the smoke?
As part of the planning process we carefully select which weather parameters will be acceptable to burn under, making sure to avoid impacts to smoke sensitive areas. Prescribed fires mimic a natural process under chosen conditions which help prevent the impacts of smoke.
What happens after the fire?
After the fire, crews are careful to mop up or extinguish any burning and smoking material which could be a threat to the control lines. Staff then monitors the weather and checks the burn area, ensuring there are no holding concerns until the fire is completely out.
What is the difference between a wildfire and a prescribed fire?
The biggest difference between a wildfire and a prescribed fire is that a prescribed fire is a planned event and therefore it occurs under the best possible circumstances.
Wildfires often occur under extreme conditions such as prolonged drought whereas prescribed fires are implemented when the weather and natural conditions are desirable.
Prescribed fire reduces the risk of wildfires by reducing the amount of hazardous natural fuels and fills the important role of maintaining fire in fire dependent natural communities.
Why are some areas burned and others are not?
Florida is a fire adapted landscape with some of the highest numbers of lightning strikes in the country and world. All of this lightning activity historically produced wildfires which Florida's native vegetation has evolved to thrive alongside. Management zones which contain fire dependent natural communities are selected for prescribed fire. The fire return interval in these natural communities ranges between one year and up to 45 years in Florida.
Why can’t you just leave it alone?
The Florida Park Service is tasked with managing approximately 290,000 Fire Type acres of Florida's public lands. This landscape is now fragmented by highways, byways, and housing developments that prevent fires natural process to occur across the landscape. This is why it is crucial for us to implement prescribed fire to ensure that fire dependent species and ecosystems are maintained for future generations enjoyment.
Request a Map or Brochure
Can I get maps/brochures about Florida State Parks?
Many of our brochure materials are directly downloadable from the Florida State Parks website in PDF form:
- The Florida State Parks Guide is divided by geographical regions so you can see which state parks and trails are in a particular part of Florida.
- The Camping & Cabins Guide is divided in the same format as the Florida State Parks Guide but focusing on which state parks offer some type of overnight accommodations.
- The Official Fee Schedule provides fee information for daily entrance into state parks plus overnight accommodation costs, including fee ranges for activities and discount categories.
- Pets in Parks covers Florida State Park policies regarding pets and service animals, including overnight accommodation rules.
Brochures for most individual state parks and trails can be found on the park/trail’s individual page – look up your park of interest through Find A Park, then select on the name of the park/trail. Under the “Park Menu” next to the Welcome message, look for the brown “Download Park Map” box to see and download the park brochure.
To request a hard copy in the mail, send an email to FSP.Feedback@FloridaDEP.gov.
1. What are the different ways that I can volunteer in Florida's state parks?
Thank you for your interest in supporting Florida’s state parks by becoming a volunteer!
We have a robust and diverse volunteer program, and we’d be delighted for you to become a part of these efforts. You can find more information on our Volunteer at a Florida State Park page.
Volunteer categories include:
- Individual volunteers visit a local state park or parks to do their volunteer activities, which might be scheduled on a daily, weekly or monthly timeframe based on the volunteer’s interests and availability. Some individual volunteer opportunities can be done from the comfort of your own home. This category of volunteers is open to school age through retirement age. Individual volunteers do not reside on state park grounds, but commute to the park from their residences.
- Resident volunteers live in their own camping rig on a campsite provided by the park for free in exchange for at least 20 hours of volunteer service per week. Camp hosts are a subset of this category. These volunteers focus their work on helping maintain the campground facilities in parks with that amenity. Campground hosts answer guest questions, help with maintenance and are available for late-night emergencies. Resident volunteer assignments vary from four weeks to a maximum of 16 weeks in a single park. View a list of state parks that offer resident and camp host opportunities. Positions are highly coveted, so keep the following in mind:
- Inquire about volunteer positions early. State park staff often book their winter season volunteers as far as two years in advance. The parks advertise volunteer needs and position openings at http://volunteers.floridastateparks.org/ under the “Opportunities” heading.
- Most parks, regardless of location, need campground hosts in the summer season.
- Coastal park openings are very competitive. Parks in the interior of Florida often have more openings. It's a good way to get started volunteering as a campground host.
- Frequently, there are more opportunities from April through October. November through March is a very competitive season for campground hosting opportunities.
- Group Volunteering occurs when a group of people organize a stand-alone service day to provide assistance to a particular state park. The groups might be members of a business/corporation, a religious organization, a civic service club, Scouts, a community organization or participants in a family reunion. Group projects might include beach cleanups, trail maintenance, special event assistance, invasive plant removal or park improvement projects. There are several ways we can approach your group’s volunteering interests:
- We can create a single day of service statewide (at multiple locations, if desired) so that your organization members across the state can contribute to their local state park. We’ve even done this for large corporations with 39 offices in 20 state parks for 900 people.
- If you know of specific locations where you are interested in volunteering, we can identify the local state park and volunteer manager to assist with setting it up.
- We have annual days of service such as Earth Day (April) or National Public Lands Day (September) where parks will host groups to accomplish priority projects.
- Submit a Group Volunteer application online at https://volunteers.floridastateparks.org/ under the “Applications” menu bar item.
2. How do I find specific volunteer opportunities?
State park volunteer coordinators list specific volunteer needs on the opportunities board. Check out this list to see if any of the options interest you. Contact the park’s volunteer coordinator through the ranger station telephone number.
If you are in the process of completing one of the applications accessed at our Volunteer Portal, make sure to list your particular parks of interest as places where you might like to volunteer.
3. My spouse/partner/friend and I want to apply to be camp hosts/resident volunteers. Do we submit one application for the two of us since we’d be staying in the same camping rig at the same park?
We ask that every potential volunteer complete an individual application. You will submit your application, and they will submit one for themselves, using a different email address. This way, when entering your completed volunteer hours in the future, we will know exactly how many hours you have personally completed.
In order to link the two of you together, you will list any other people who will be staying in the camping rig with you, and they will do the same on their application.
We also recommend that you list the same state parks of interest in your applications.
4. I’ve submitted my volunteer application, but I haven’t heard from any state parks yet. What should I do?
Once you are in our system, the best tip is to contact the parks for which you applied and ask for the volunteer manager. You can update your application in the system at any time and select a park or parks. Your application will be emailed directly to the volunteer manager(s) at the first park that you select. Then follow-up with a phone call. Think of it as an informal interview about the parks’ openings. Each park keeps its own schedule and selects its hosts based on their park needs. When calling, be patient yet persistent as our staff work in the field. Park phone numbers are listed on the parks’ web page.
- Browse opportunities and apply directly to those of interest to you. The parks advertise their current openings at http://volunteers.floridastateparks.org/ under the “Opportunities” heading.
- Coastal park openings are very competitive. Parks in the interior of Florida often have more openings. It’s a good way to get started volunteering as a campground host.
- There are frequently more opportunities from April through October. November through March is a very competitive season for campground hosting opportunities.
The list of state parks with campground host and park resident sites, Applicant User Guide, the overview of volunteering in Florida State Parks, opportunities and applications to directly to those opportunities are located on the Volunteer Portal.
5. I’m trying to access my volunteer account at the Volunteer Portal, but it’s not letting me log in. What can I do?
The https://www.floridastateparks.org/ website functions are best used in conjunction with the Chrome or Firefox browsers, not Internet Explorer. Go to the Florida State Parks Volunteer Portal https://volunteers.floridastateparks.org. Click on “Forgot Password?”
Then follow these instructions:
- Enter your User ID (your complete email address).
- Click Send reset code – this will send a code to your email address on file. (Check your spam/junk folder if the email doesn’t appear in your inbox.)
- In the Volunteer Portal, enter your User ID and the reset code.
- Create a new password (do not use special characters e.g., @#&).
In the future, you can change your password from the Volunteer Portal home page. If you are currently volunteering at a Florida State Park, your park’s Volunteer Coordinator can also reset passwords and is always happy to assist you.
6. I want to be a resident volunteer/camp host, but I don’t have an RV/travel trailer. Can I camp in a tent?
You are welcome to use any standard camping equipment as a volunteer if it fits the campsite requirements that our park guests must follow.
This means that you could have up to two tents on a campsite or an RV/travel trailer and a tent. You’re also welcome to set up a screened or unscreened canopy on your campsite.
7. Is there an age requirement/limit to being a volunteer?
People of all ages may volunteer at Florida State Parks. Youth/minors are 17 years old and younger. People of ages 14 to 17 years old can volunteer provided that the work does not pose a threat to their health or safety, violate federal or Florida child labor laws or the parks’ youth/minor volunteer policy. A parent or legal guardian must give written consent before they volunteer as part of signing the Volunteer Agreement.
Youth/minors age 13 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or participate in a group service project when part of a youth organization.
Check with the park regarding their youth/minor policy and opportunities for group service projects. Park phone numbers are listed on the parks’ web page at Find a Park.
8. I’m not a United States citizen. Can I still apply to volunteer in the Florida State Parks?
Please note, however, it is your responsibility as the potential volunteer to know what your country and/or United States visa/immigration laws allow while working in the country. Depending upon your origin, duration of stay and other factors there may be some restrictions on working/volunteering. There may also be additional border restrictions due to the pandemic.
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States for short term visits except for certain situations. In general, international visitors can volunteer in the United States when you are here on a B1/B2/Border Crossing Card for citizens and residents of Mexico and for some other nationals of countries that are covered by the Visa Waiver Program. There may be other restrictions.
A significant restriction to be aware of is that you can only volunteer to do things that are normally done on a voluntary basis, i.e. without pay. So for example, you could volunteer at a hospital as a 'candy striper' because that is a volunteer position, and you would be working alongside other unpaid volunteers. You could not do the work of a nurse even if you volunteered to do it unpaid because a nurse is normally a paid position. You also can't do "anything that would benefit a commercial enterprise," and there are restrictions on things like unpaid internships.