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Pennekamp top State Park in Attendance


More than 19.1 million people visited Florida's award-winning state parks last fiscal year – setting an all-time record for attendance statewide. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo ranked at the top of the list with more than a million visitors. More than 700,000 people visited Sebastian Inlet State Park in Melbourne and Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin – making them the most popular parks in each region. Nearly 600,000 people visited the sugar white sands and crystal clear emerald waters of St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, the most visited park in the Panhandle. Homosassa Springs State Park drew more than 250,000 as the top draw for the area.

“Ecotourism and nature-based recreation are on the rise,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen M. Castille. “While protecting Florida's natural, historical and cultural treasures, Florida State Parks provide an entertaining and educational outdoor experience for all visitors -- and inject more than half a billion dollars into the economy every year.”

Florida’s state park system is one of the largest in the country with 158 parks covering more than 700,000 acres. Over the last five years, Florida added eight new parks and more than 203,000 acres to its nationally-renowned park system with attendance growing by five million visitors.

“State parks are the Real FloridaSM,” said Florida State Parks Director Mike Bullock. “With the growing interest in nature and heritage tourism, Florida's state parks are becoming favorite attractions that offer guests of all ages an unforgettable experience.”


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12/15/04