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Family Fun in the Summer Sun

For many families, Florida is synonymous with “theme park.” Most Florida theme parks offer military, veteran, and sometimes First Responder discounts, making them affordable for families.

However, summer is a beautiful time to take advantage of our state’s hidden treasures, save money, entertain the kids, and even find some soul-soothing relaxation.

The Florida State Park system, under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, offers a fantastic array of opportunities for the military community. Check out to learn everything from the Annual Pass Discounts currently available to a comprehensive list of Amenities and Experiences.  

The Florida Park Service maintains one of the country’s best and largest park systems, with 175 state parks, trails, and historic sites spanning 800,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach. With activities like swimming, birding, hiking, camping, biking, and paddling, a family can have endless fun with an annual pass. There are also opportunities to learn and serve in the parks. Some parks host battle reenactments, Native American festivals, art shows, museums, and lighthouses. Cleanup opportunities for volunteers of all ages are available year-round.

For kids, check out the Florida State Park Junior Ranger program! Youth can visit local parks to register and take the Junior Ranger pledge to receive an ID badge and Official Junior Ranger Badge. Complete six core activities to receive a special patch. Complete more activities to fill a passport and submit it for an official Junior Ranger pin! You can visit a local state park ranger station to get started or be a virtual ranger. Hillsborough River State Park, Alafia River State Park, Ybor City Museum State Park, and Honeymoon Island State Park all support the program and are within easy reach for Tampa Bay residents.  

Fill your family’s summer with all the joy nature can provide. Explore to plan your fun!

Written By: Kristy Verdi, Ph.D.



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