How to Get FREE Admission to Florida State Parks with your Library Card
Your library card is going to be one of the most powerful tools in your summer of FUN tool box! Did you know you can ‘check out’ entry into almost every Florida State Park this summer using the power of your public library card?
Now through September 12, 2022, you can go to your neighborhood library and check out a Real Florida Reader Day Pass which will get you free admission to one of Florida’s 175 state parks like Honeymoon Island State Park and Hillsborough River State Park.
Each library branch will receive a limited number of the Real Florida Reader Day Passes, so if this is something you want to take advantage of and you have a date in mind to visit a state park, then ask as soon as you can. You will need to return the pass to the same library branch you checked it out at so another family can use it.
There are a few exceptions that happen to be popular parks in the Tampa Bay Area. The Real Florida Reader Day Pass does not include Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Skyway Pier State Park, or Weeki Wachee State Park.
You can explore this interactive map here to find a Florida State Park near you.
The program is a collaboration between Florida State Parks and the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services as a way to encourage more people to visit their public libraries and state parks this summer.
A few favorite Florida State Parks in Tampa Bay:
- Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin has nature trails and beautiful white sand beaches, so there’s something for every nature enthusiast here. While you’re there, consider taking the extra trip by hopping on the ferry over to Caladesi Island State Park which was just named as one of the Top 10 Beaches in America by Dr. Beach in 2022.
- Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa not only offers beautiful nature trails, but also a Class II rapids that is a sight to see. Check out what it’s like to go glamping with Timberline-Tampa at Hillsborough River State Park.
- Alafia River State Park in Lithia is popular among bikers for its unusual terrain that takes you to new heights–it’s a reclaimed phosphate mine, so you’ll find lots of dips and peaks that mountain bikers crave.
More cool perks that come with a library card
Your library is actually a really cool place that is more than a place to check out books–which is still pretty cool! In Hillsborough County, you can also check out GoPro Cameras, educational games and tools, time in a video recording studio, and even a ukulele kit!
If you’re in Pinellas County, the Safety Harbor Public Library even has a Tool Library which is a first of its kind in Florida. It also has a Seed Library to encourage gardening. There are a ton of cool ways to use the Pinellas County Library this summer, so be sure to check out all of the resources available to you. Pasco County’s Public Libraries offer adaptive toys and a Seed Library too! Pretty amazing, right?
We highly encourage you to visit your local library branch to explore the many different services and classes available to you. Almost all of the libraries offer robust programming for kids from infants to teenagers.
In fact, while we’re on the subject of ‘checking out’ experiences like visits to Florida State Parks, did you know the libraries also offer a pass to get you access to select local museums for free?
Just like the Real Florida Reader Day Pass, you will need to go to your neighborhood library to check out the Museum Pass or Discovery Pass. They’re often in high demand, so don’t get discouraged if one is not available right away. Every county library system is different too in what they offer.
- Hillsborough County Discovery Pass
- Pinellas County Museum Pass
- Pasco County Discovery Pass (For Glazer Children’s Museum)
In addition to summer reading challenges at your local library, this summer break is shaping up to be pretty amazing!
Related stories we think you’ll LOVE:
- Fun ways to get creative at your local library through classes, collaborative spaces, and more!
- How to encourage your child’s creative through hobbies…with a little help from your local library
- Library services to help busy parents revisit their own hobbies and interest!