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  1. Sertoma Youth Ranch

    Brooksville / East Hernando : 85 Myers Road, Brooksville, 34602

  2. Rainbow Springs

    Dunnellon : 19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, 34432

    Rainbow Springs State Park in Marion County is a two-hour drive north of the Tampa Bay area, but once there you might have trouble deciding whether you want to visit the man-made falls first or just plunge into the chilly 72-degree springs. After the immediate, mind-numbing shock, it can be wond …

  3. Crews Lake Wilderness Park

    West Pasco : 16739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills, 34610

    Opened in the 1990s, Crews Lake Park is 113 acres of wild area surrounded by oak and cypress trees in Pasco County. The park features a tent camping area, boardwalk, bike trails and observation tower. There are four picnic shelters with grills ($25 for four-hour blocks) and two pavillions with  …

  4. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

    Editor's pick

    St. Petersburg : 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg, 33705

    This unspoiled nature park features 3 miles of trails and boardwalks on 245 acres along the shores of Lake Maggiore. Visitors can experience five Florida ecosystems: hardwood hammocks, sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, willow marsh and lake shore. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding Tr …

  5. The Canoe Outpost

    Wimauma : 18001 US Highway 301 S, Wimauma, 33598

  6. Biscayne National Park

    Editor's pick

    Homestead : 9700 SW 328 St., Homestead, 33033

    Biscayne National Park lies a few miles south of Miami. On weekends, the park's two main keys, Boca Chita and Elliott, fill with pleasure boaters trying to escape the hustle and bustle of one of Florida's largest cities. The bay, while not deep, is exceptionally clear. On a sunny day, you can se …

  7. Oscar Scherer State Park

    Editor's pick

    Osprey : 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, 34229

    This is one of the best places in the state to see the elusive Florida scrub jay. Hike 15 miles of trails through the pine flatwoods or rent a canoe or kayak and paddle South Creek, a tannic stream that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Fish the creek or Lake Osprey, which is also open to swimming. …

  8. Myakka River State Park

    Editor's pick

    Sarasota : 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, 34242

    It is one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, and as a result, there is no shortage of things to do. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through the heart of the 58-square-mile wilderness playground. Tour the lake on one of the world's largest airboats …

  9. Anclote Key Preserve

    Dunedin : 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, 34698

    Accessible only by boat, Anclote Key Preserve contains beautiful beach access, swimming areas, picnic pavilions, grills, and primitive camping sites. There are no fees for camping, but check-ins are required by phone. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown.

  10. Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida

    Editor's pick

    St. Cloud : 4755 N Kenansville Road, St. Cloud, 34773

    Florida Forever is a 4,700-acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area has a variety of ecosystems, including live oak hammocks, pine flatwoods and cypress swamps.In 2011, the attraction updated its Zipline Safari, which now takes guests up to an astonishing 68 feet, nearly 20 feet above the  …

  11. Fort De Soto Park

    Editor's pick

    South Pinellas beaches : 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, 33715

    The park comprises 1,136 acres of dry land on five interconnected islands. It is the largest of the county's parks and, while it has parking lots and snack shops, it also has large portions that are virtually undisturbed from the time indigenous people and Spanish explorers trod its shores. Its  …

  12. Lake Park

    Lutz : 17302 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, 33548

    This 589-acre park is a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, and features five lakes, cypress swamps, pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks. Lake Park is also home to an archery range, a BMX bicycle track, two equestrian arenas and a radio-controlled car track (see photo), making it one of Hillsboro …

  13. Edward Medard Park and Reservoir

    Plant City : 6140 Turkey Creek Road, Plant City, 33567

    Tucked away in eastern Hillsborough County between Brandon and Plant City, the park is a popular one for people who like to camp, fish, mountain bike, boat or hike. The park extends along 1,284 acres owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, where a reservoir offers flood protect …