Four Florida State Parks Rank in Top 10 of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish

May 20, 2014


 Five Florida locations made the top 10 in the Take Me Fishing List of 100 Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish, four of which are Florida State Parks. The four parks and their corresponding rankings are Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key (2), Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in St. Petersburg (3), Lake Kissimmee State Park in Lake Wales (5) and Blue Spring State Park in Orange City (8). Lake Talquin State Park in Tallahassee also made the list, coming in at 21.Everglades National Park in Homestead ranked number 4.

“Boating and fishing are favorite activities at many of our state parks,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service, “I am very proud that five of Florida’s state parks are recognized by Take Me Fishing. Many family memories are made baiting hooks and fishing together.”

The list, published by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, is based on the following criteria.

  • Family-friendly location, defined as within an hour’s drive of a major city or town, so they are easily accessible.
  • Have a public body of water that is known for having plenty of common fish species such as bass, crappie, bluegill and trout. Often times these public places are stocked with fish for all.
  • Part of a park that also offers amenities families need like parking, restrooms, playgrounds, picnic areas or campgrounds.
  • Has plenty of places to cast a line, like a fishing pier or has boat ramps to allow you to reach other areas on your boat.
  • Is recommended by other anglers! Anglers from around the U.S. cast their vote and thought these parks offered some of the best fishing spots.

Throughout the year, there are fishing-related special events that take place at many of the 161 Florida state parks. Coming up on May 31 at Fort Clinch State Parkin Fernandina Beach, there is the Annual Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic. The clinic is open to children ages 5 to 15 and teaches lessons on knot tying, fishing ethics, tackle, habitat, casting and more. Also, on June 7 is Kids Fishing Day at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee. This program is designed to introduce children of all ages to fishing through family interaction. Participants will rotate through a number of educational stations and after learning different aspects of freshwater fishing, children will compete for prizes sponsored by local merchants.

Florida’s state parks and state trails offer many opportunities for outdoor recreation. In Florida, visitors and residents will find beaches, freshwater springs, lakes and rivers where swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing are very popular. Trails offer the opportunity for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Most state parks offer playgrounds where children can play and parents can sit in the shade to keep a watchful eye. Most parks also offer picnicking facilities with tables, barbecue grills and shelter.

Last year, the Florida Park Service received its third National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, making Florida America’s first three-time Gold Medal winner. In fact, no other system has ever won two Gold Medal awards and systems are not allowed to apply for the award within five years of receiving a Gold Medal. Considerations for this award were based on the agency’s ability to address needs of those it serves through collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. The awards were received in 1999, 2005 and 2013 from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.

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