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June is Great Outdoors Month

June is Great Outdoors Month, a time to explore our beautiful outdoor spaces and rededicate to conserving our natural resources. It is an exciting time of year for enjoying local parks and conservation areas with family and friends. Connecting with nature inspires us to be good stewards of protected natural lands. Spending time outdoors in the natural environment will also provide multiple physical and mental health benefits.

Research suggests that spending time in nature can help you feel more relaxed and focused, especially if you take the time to notice your surroundings. The natural world offers a mental and emotional refuge when you need to unwind and recharge. Outdoor time promotes positive emotions of happiness and peace and calms our nervous systems to reduce worry and sadness. Nature also induces awe, wonder and reverence, emotions that promote well-being.

Come celebrate Great Outdoors month with us! Florida State Parks like Gamble Rogers and North Peninsula offer a multitude of outdoor activities. Settled on a barrier island flanked by the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), both parks host diverse habitats that offer assorted outdoor experiences as well as plant life and wildlife viewing.

The oceanside beaches are excellent sites for walking, swimming, surfing, bird watching and fishing. Between May and October, you might even chance upon female sea turtles laying eggs or their hatchlings emerging from nests to race towards the ocean. On the ICW side, hiking trails through the maritime hammock and coastal strand offer encounters with gopher tortoises, songbirds and native plants. The salt marshes of the ICW are perfect areas to boat, kayak, and fish while watching shorebirds, dolphins, and manatees. Kayak tours of the ICW area available; you can bring your own kayak or rent one. Crabbing is popular in the Gamble Rogers boat basin. Both parks have several picnic areas along the waterside and Gamble Rogers State Park has several pavilions with picnic tables and grills. You can enjoy overnight camping by pitching your tent or parking your RV along the beach or riverside camp sites at Gamble Rogers State Park (reservations strongly suggested) to immerse yourself in nature.

Whichever activity you prefer, you have lots of opportunities to enjoy our seascapes and landscapes and celebrate Great Outdoors Month. Explore Gamble Rogers and North Peninsula State Parks to improve your mental and physical health and to appreciate nature.

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