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"Free entry to all Florida State Parks": Gov. DeSantis makes Memorial Day announcement in Naples

Posted at 8:40 PM, Apr 30, 2024

NAPLES, Fla — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared free entry to all Florida state parks during Memorial Day weekend. The announcement was made at the Naples Yacht Club on Tuesday.

This year that will fall on May 24-27, 2024.

"I am pleased to be able to be here today to announce – because we want as many people to be able to enjoy this as possible – that for the entire Memorial Day weekend we are suspending all entry fees for all Florida state parks," said Governor DeSantis.

The suspension of entry fees applies to Florida's 175 state parks, trails, and historic sites.

“I encourage all of Florida’s residents and visitors to take advantage of these extra savings and discover the unique experiences the real Florida has to offer," said DeSantis.

This decision is expected to attract crowds to the 12 state parks across Southwest Florida, including Delnor Wiggins Pass in Naples.

Visitors to the park expressed their appreciation for the announcement, citing the park's cleanliness, maintenance, and accessibility as reasons for choosing it over other local parks.

"The beach is beautiful, it's clean and good people that work here, they're so nice," said Moria Bordales who frequents the beach.

"We moved here from Miami and it's just so much better," she explained.

Bob Gulla, another park visitor explained, "It's certainly different than what it was prior to Hurricane Ian, but they're doing a really good job. It's really clean."

While acknowledging the potential parking challenges, visitors welcomed the opportunity for free entry to the parks.

"I just hope that the parking lots can handle the increase in attendance cause it's already a little difficult for us to get parking," Gulla said.

"We'll have to come early on Memorial Day," he added.

Unlike many county and local parks, all state-run parks are open 365 days a year.

In addition to the free park passes, DeSantis also announced a Memorial Day sales tax holiday from May 24th to the 27th. During this period, camping gear and other outdoor supplies will be exempt from state sales tax.

For a full list of items that qualify, click here.