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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida State Parks Open Thanksgiving Weekend

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites residents and visitors to spend quality time and make new memories with family and friends at a state park this Thanksgiving. While many businesses around the state are closed for the holiday, Florida’s state parks are open from 8 a.m. to sunset on Thursday, Nov. 22, offering an abundance of family-friendly activities in Florida's beautiful outdoors. 

“Holidays are the perfect time to visit state parks and trails,” said Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper. “Each year I look forward to taking advantage of the cooler weather to get outside. My favorite places are state parks and trails.”

DEP also encourages Florida's residents and visitors to 'Opt Outside' and explore Florida's great outdoors on Black Friday, Nov. 23. Opting outside is a great way to make memories with family, get active and reconnect with nature. Additionally, visitors can purchase Florida State Parks Annual Passes and Deluxe Real Florida Passports, which make for great holiday gifts. 

Many parks are hosting special events through the weekend, including:

• Highlands Hammock State Park is hosting its 26th annual Turkey Trot 5k on Thursday, Nov. 22, from 7-9 a.m. Celebrate Thanksgiving and enjoy an early morning nature run or walk.

• Manatee Springs State Park is hosting Clay Landing Days, a living history event, on Nov. 23-24. Covered Wagon Rides will take visitors along the North Trail with a stop at the Seminole Chickee Hut where Settlers and Seminoles will let you see what life was once like in the Clay Landing area.

• Anastasia State Park is hosting a Photo Scavenger Hunt on Sunday, Nov. 25, from 10-11 a.m. Bring your smartphone or digital camera and have fun taking pictures while exploring the park.

Find an event at a park near you.

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