Get your passport to Florida State Parks

by ohcaroline

Coming to Florida...don't forget your passport!

Your key to seeing the "real" Florida.


If you want to see the real Florida, you'll probably want to get a passport.  No! You're not leaving the country and you don't need official documentation as to who you are.  You'll want to get a Florida State Park Passport like the one in the photo.  It is your guide to what I call the real Florida.  If you've ever been out of your country, you know that your passport will be stamped by every country that you enter.  It is a documentation that you have been there...and done it, so to speak.  That's what you will find when you get your Florida State Park Passport.  It has a page for each state park and some useful information as well as a place to put your own notes.  When you enter each individual state park, the park ranger at the entrance gate will stamp that park's page with their unique stamp.  You use it as a guide to each park.  It's a very unique system that the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks uses to provide you with a travel diary of the parks that you have experienced.

A very useful guide to each state park.

Families can use the Passport to let their children plan a visit.

A feature that I really like about the Passport is that on each park's page just below the park name there is a row of symbols that let you know which activities are found there.  Page 5 of the book tells you what they mean if you aren't familiar with them.  For example, if you are looking for parks that have wildlife viewing...just look for the symbol with the binoculars.  The parks are shown by the area of the state that they are in to make it easier to select one that is in an area where you live or will be visiting.  There's a lot of very helpful information right at your fingertips about the state parks in Florida.

Have you ever visited one of Florida's State Parks?

Here's how to get one.

The Passport has been in existence for about ten years now and I think it's a wonderful way to introduce Florida residents and out-of-state visitors to the natural beauty of the state. There's no better way to experience Florida. I plan on visiting as many of the parks as time and distance permits. You can do the same. It's easy to get your own personal Passport. You can order it online at the Parks website. Better yet, find a park that you would like to visit and pick one up when you enter the park. The rangers will be happy to stamp your book and document your visit there.

My visit to Lake Griffin State Park is documented in my Passport.

I have been to a number of Florida's state parks through the years; but I would like to go back and re-visit them.  I thought I would start with those closest to home and then venture out from there.  Yesterday I went to Lake Griffin State Park in Fruitland Park.  It's a rather small park by most comparisons; but it had something that I've wanted to see for some of Florida's oldest and biggest trees.  It's a live oak that is over 300 years old and still standing.  The  trunk is 10 feet in diameter.  Using the pi equals formula, that means the trunk's circumference is approximately 31.4149 feet.  The tree is awesome.  Trying to photograph it is a challenge.   I will be writing more about this park in a separate article.  You can see in the photo where the ranger stamped the page for Lake Griffin State Park.  I've dated my visit and will be adding some personal notes about the park to help me remember this visit.  You can see my image of the tree below.

Big Tree at Lake Griffin State Park
Big Tree at Lake Griffin State Park

This couple has their entire Passport stamped.

This article was in the local newspaper that I found so interesting. It's about a couple who moved to the area to retire. They had lived in a log cabin in the woods of Maine before they retired. It only seemed natural that they would be drawn to the real Florida; so they purchased their Passport and set out to visit every state park. I've included the link to the article for you to read. The ranger in the photo is from Lake Griffin State Park where I visited yesterday. news article

Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Here's a sample of some fun in Florida springs and rivers.

Here's some great picnic gear to take with you!


Here are some things you may want to take on your state park visit.

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Updated: 08/18/2012, ohcaroline
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dustytoes on 02/10/2013

We used to go to Blue Springs State Park which was close to where I lived, and see the manatees in winter. Such an awesome sight. Florida has some marvelous parks. I don't have a Passport, but that's a nice idea, if you plan to do some traveling.

terrilorah on 03/10/2012

This is something I didn't know, thanks for a great article! I def want to get back to Florida and soon. We were in Key West the other year and there's so much to see and do.

Lissie on 01/12/2012

Its a clever system - i'm guessing that visitors have to pay to enter parks in Fl? I in fact would need my passport to visit - as I live in NZ - but I'd like to get to Florida - obviously to see Cape Canaveral (sp) and Epicott but this would be a cool contrast. Not sure about the canoeing though - don't you guys have crocs?

barbarab on 09/10/2011

I think this will be a wonderful thing for my grandkids to have...they live in Baldwin Co Ala right on the Fla panhandle! thank you ohcaroline for a wonderful article!
this ole displaced southerner didnt even know about the passport! well, I knew you needed one to go south but Florida isnt south... really...
snobby things aint we? :)

chefkeem on 07/27/2011

I've been to Florida twice, both times visiting friends in Ft. Lauderdale. I'd like to go back and explore a state park or two, definitely with the help of a passport. :)

petunia on 07/20/2011

We do love Florida, especially the middle Keys. I don't know if we have visited state parks, but it sure sounds like a fun idea. Seems to me that there is a state park in the Keys that we visited when we were there.

ohcaroline on 07/20/2011

Karen, my favorite is Blue Springs too. I enjoyed camping there and often went to see the manatees in the winter.

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