Gov. DeSantis: Free passes to state parks Memorial Day weekend

'Part of the reason I think people have come to Florida is we have the best beaches, we have the best fishing, and we have the best state parks.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to kick off summer with some freebies. Over Memorial Day weekend, entrance fees to Florida state parks will be waived, he said Tuesday.

Fees for state parks will be waived May 25-28. The move will help Floridians and visitors ring in the summer season and boost tourism, he said.

“Part of the reason I think people have come to Florida is we have the best beaches, we have the best fishing, and we have the best state parks,” DeSantis told reporters at an event in Naples.

DeSantis also said he’ll approve the $15 million in additional funding for state parks included in the budget passed by the Legislature, bringing the total funding to $187.2 million. The budget (HB 5001) for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and related bills haven’t been formally sent to his desk, however.

Florida has 175 state parks with 1,042 approved positions in the upcoming budget to staff them. DeSantis said lawmakers and he have approved $440 million for state parks since he took office in 2019.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton, whose agency oversees the state parks, was on hand for the announcement and said enjoying parks is crucial to realizing the importance of conserving Florida’s natural resources.

“I can’t think of a better way to connect this current generation and future generations to that important mission than getting out into the real Florida,” Hamilton said. “There’s nothing like it.”

Hamilton said the parks welcomed 29 million visitors last year and had $3.6 billion in economic impact.

DeSantis also teased an announcement on red snapper season later on Tuesday. He has a press conference in Tampa scheduled for later in the day. In previous years he’s extended the season for red snapper fishing. Last year, for instance, he expanded the season, which typically runs from September through part of November, by 17 days.

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 30, 2024 at 11:35 am

    For those constants lamenting government handouts, such as student loan forgiveness when today’s student loans are a giant scam on the middle class, here are your free government handouts. Go camping for free at Rhonda’s Homeless Camp this summer. No air conditioning, no mosquito control, and located lakeside. Swimming in the lake is allowed exclusively at night due to motorboaters not wanting to be bothered with poors in the water during the day.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704