Who doesn't like October? The humidity has let up a little, the evenings are heavenly, and the daytime temperatures are just right for all sorts of outdoors activities. Heck, you can even hit up the beach or a freshwater spring and still have an excellent time. It seems like everywhere you go, there are folks out taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
With all that in mind, October is a perfect time to load up the whole family and get away from it all. Florida's chock full of places to camp, and you'll find some of the best spots in Florida's award-winning state park system. There are 160 Florida State Parks to enjoy, many of which offer full-facility camping – perfect for a family getaway.
In case you need a few ideas of where to go, here are five that stand out as great places to take the family:
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park - Located in northwest Florida, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has just the ticket for family fun. Enjoy one of the most incredible beaches in the state, complete with massive sand dunes, rare coastal dune lakes and nature trails. Choose from RV sites, tent camping or cabins. There's a camp store, a pool and a playground, too. At Topsail Hill, you are super close to lots of other great state parks, too. Find out more at www.floridastateparks.org/topsailhill.
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park - Explore the legendary Suwannee River and the area around White Springs by setting up basecamp at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. This is a do-it-all destination, with top-notch biking, paddling (check water levels) and hiking. If outdoor adventure is your thing, White Springs and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park doesn't dissapoint. Also, don't forget to stop in at the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center located just outside the park's entrance. www.floridastateparks.org/stephenfoster
Hillsborough River State Park - If you haven't been to Hillsborough River State Park, now's the time to make it happen. Just minutes from Tampa, this is one of Florida's first state parks built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Full-facility camping, kayaking and canoeing, a huge pool, miles of incredible hiking trails and plenty of history are just a few things to enjoy. The Class II rapids on the Hillsborough River provide a scenic setting for a hike or a picnic lunch – don't forget your cameras; this is a unique spot that makes for a great family photo. www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver
Highlands Hammock State Park - Another of Florida's original state parks, Highlands Hammock is a place for nature-loving families. Take a stroll on the park's nature trails underneath ancient oaks or along a boardwalk through a cypress swamp. Bring your bikes or rent one at the park, there's a paved bike trail and several miles of off-road trails to ride. A one-hour tram tour takes visitors to remote corners of the park where you'll see plenty of wildlife and the natural beauty of Highlands Hammock State Park. www.floridastateparks.org/highlandshammock
Curry Hammock State Park - Ahh, the Florida Keys. Get right in the middle of things at Curry Hammock, with easy access to other state parks and Florida Keys hot spots. A full-facility campground, kayak rentals, a nature trail, fishing and lots more make this a great island escape. Curry Hammock State Park is an excellent place to snorkel and for birding, so make sure to bring along gear for those activities as well. www.floridastateparks.org/curryhammock
Remember, there are plenty of other great parks that are perfect for a family getaway. Make sure to reserve a spot as far in advance as possible – Florida State Parks are popular! In case you can't get a spot at the exact ones listed here, make sure to check the "find a park" section of the Florida State Parks website for other locations that are close by. Have fun!