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The Natural Wonders of Florida: State Parks, Manatees & Other Attractions

There’s a reason Tropical Resort & Marina is known as, “A Fisherman’s Dream and A Nature Lover’s Paradise.” Mostly it has to do with the fact that we are lucky enough to have Florida’s pristine, natural beauty as the backdrop to our one-of-a-kind location on the St. Johns River. Our guests feel so fortunate to be able to share in the wonders of Florida wildlife—like manatee sightings, tropical birds and rare ecosystems—and we revel in the opportunity to show them what natural Florida is all about.

Florida has so many exclusive animals and bionetworks that people from all over the world feel inspired to come and witness the state’s environmental marvels—the great thing is, we just happen to have them right in our backyard. At Tropical Resort & Marina, you can step out of your plush, comfy cabin, and step right in to the rustic world of Florida wildlife. Our resort is right in the midst of some beautiful ecology; however, we’re also located within a very short distance of some of Florida’s most famous state and national parks, where you can learn, explore and observe nature to your heart’s content.

Hontoon Island State Park

Swim with the Manatees

Most visitors and residents of Florida want to check a manatee sighting off their bucket list; after all, the animal is one of Florida’s many natural gems. Florida manatees grace the waters of spring fed rivers during the colder months of the year, but they are often found meandering through areas of the St. Johns River year-round. The Blue Spring Manatee Festival is usually held during the month of January, when the mammals are active; but if you put in some time relaxing on the St. Johns, you’re bound to come across one of these slow moving, majestic creatures. Who knows, you might find yourself kayaking alongside one or, if you’ve got some snorkel gear, even swimming with the manatees at Blue Springs State Park—just a short drive from our resort!

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

FL State Parks

If you’re more interested in ecosystems that exist above the water, we’ve got a great state park suggestion for you that’s just down the street. For the birders out there, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is a state park you cannot miss out on while visiting the area. The vast expanses of land at this Florida state park will make you feel like you’re in the middle of an African savannah, except the only toothsome animal you have to look out for is the Florida Alligator. At this park, instead of manatees, you’ll find a variety of common and rare birds, as well as turtles and even rambunctious otters that navigate the streams on either side of the hiking trail. Be sure to bring your camera in case you spot the famous 14-foot alligator that calls this Florida state park home.

The closest state park in our vicinity is just about three minutes away, and that’s Hontoon Island State Park. A former Native American dwelling, remnants of native Floridians are still found within the park. You can hike to the remaining native shell mound, or canoe throughout the river on either side of mystic looking hardwood swamps; either way, you’re bound to have an experience that is a naturalist’s dream.

At Tropical Resort & Marina we take pride in the fact that we’re lucky enough to gaze at Florida’s landscape on a daily basis, and we can’t wait for our guests to get a taste of the great Florida outdoors. Swim with a manatee, explore native relics, or come face to face with a modern day dinosaur: it’s all at your disposal when you stay at the lush cabins of Tropical Resort & Marina. Call us today to book your suite, 386-734-3080.

Hontoon Island State Park


We are conveniently located only a short drive away from Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach or Orlando.