Florida Friday Vol. 1, Issue 8 | October 30th, 2015

Florida's Natural Side Shines at WTM 2015

Diverse National and State Parks, easily accessible from Florida's world class beaches, theme parks and attractions, will be highlighted at this year's World Travel Market. Attendees are invited to explore and celebrate natural Florida in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Parks Service in 2016.

VISIT FLORIDA will take this opportunity to showcase the natural side of the Sunshine State: the River of Grass spanning the Florida peninsula from coast to coast, the only living coral reef in the continental United States, and the nation's southernmost islands, among the state's many other natural wonders.

America's National Parks are legend, drawing visitors from around the world. As tropical counterpoints to the nation's grand mountains, canyons and glaciers, Florida's nationally designated parks, preserves and seashores attract nearly 11 million visitors a year, indicating that for Florida's 98.9 million visitors in 2014, the state's natural attractions were an important part of visitors' travel experiences.

Florida's National Parks:

The Everglades: Out of the three National Parks in Florida, the environmental crown jewel of Florida is Everglades National Park, unique to the planet with millions of acres of tropical, watery grasslands, mangroves and ecosystems that nurture myriad species of wildlife. Here, visitors may see endangered species that thrive in the wilds of the Everglades: manatees, sea turtles, Florida panthers, long-legged birds such as the blue heron, ghost orchids, and thousands of other wild plants and animals. With an estimated 1.25 million alligators in Florida, many of them can be spotted in Everglades National Park.

Coral Reefs: In waters just offshore are the only living coral reefs in the continental United States. In otherworldly shapes and colours, Florida corals are home to countless species of sea life, protected within Biscayne National Park.

Islands: To the south is Dry Tortugas National Park, within the famous chain of islands called the Florida Keys. Also on site, visitors can take a step back in history at Fort Jefferson, built between 1846 and 1875 to protect shipping along the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, among other strategic needs.

Seashores: Lesser known yet magnificent are Canaveral National Seashore, which includes 25 miles of Florida's Atlantic coastline, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, the longest tract of protected seashore in the nation. These two seashores offer miles of pristine sand, sea oats and sea grapes with coastal views that stretch to the horizon. Dolphins and manatees thrive in the waters here, and sea turtles return year after year to nest on the shores.

Florida's Other Nationally Designated Recreational Sites:

Florida's State Parks:

Complementing the National Parks, 174 Florida State Parks received more than 27 million visitors in 2014. Maintained by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Park Service, Florida's State Parks include nearly 800,000 acres of land, 100 miles of Florida's 825 miles of beaches, and more than 2,000 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, not forgetting the incredible theme parks.

Highlights include Florida Caverns State Park, featuring natural limestone caverns; John Pennekamp State Park, the nation's first undersea park; Crystal River Preserve State Park, where visitors can observe manatees; and Wakulla Springs State Park, home of one the nation's largest freshwater springs.

Florida provides visitors with comforts and amenities within manageable miles of its wilderness areas. These include gateway destinations, Five Star resorts and world-renowned theme parks.

VISIT FLORIDA can be found at stand NA400, NA400A at World Travel Market, 2 - 5 November, 2015.

Share this story now

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Google +

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Google +