TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Florida Park Service today announced state park attendance increased during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
More than 20.4 million visitors experienced the natural and cultural treasures of Florida's state parks during the last fiscal year, an increase of approximately 300,000 people from the previous year.
"We are pleased to see Florida's 160 state parks continue to grow in popularity and are thankful for the support of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature. which has enabled us to keep all parks open and fully operational despite difficult economic times," said DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard. "The increase in visitors illustrates the demand for recreational and educational experiences that are affordable, close to home and protective of Florida's valuable natural and cultural resources."
Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin welcomed more visitors than any other state park in Florida for the fifth year in a row, with more than 1.1 million visitors. Rounding out the top ten visited state parks are:
Gasparilla Island State Park, Boca Grande - 823,000 visitors.
Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach - 781,000 visitors.
St. Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach - 770,000 visitors.
Lover's Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach - 754,000 visitors.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo - 718,000 visitors.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne - 714,000 visitors.
Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine - 548,000 visitors.
Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key - 535,000 visitors.
Blue Spring State Park, Orange City - 523,000 visitors.
"I am so proud of the dedicated and hard-working staff and volunteers that make Florida's award-winning state parks the best in the nation," said DEP's Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. "The growth in visitor numbers proves that through this dedication and the unparalleled natured-based recreation offered, residents and visitors alike appreciate and value our state parks."