Florida is the only place in the United States with mangroves. These parks and trails showcase them up close.
These unique plants are adapted to handle salt water. They grow along the Gulf Coast south from Cedar Key. Between Tampa and the Everglades, they are the dominant coastal vegetation in natural areas that have not been disturbed by human activity. On the Atlantic Coast, they’ve been creeping northward over the past thirty years. The northernmost ones are in GTM Reserve north of St. Augustine.
Mangrove roots are instrumental in trapping soil that builds up into islands within the tidal zone. Their leaf litter makes for a vibrant nursery ground for many saltwater species. While black mangroves grow the farthest north up both peninsular coasts, you’ll frequently see all species together as you move farther south. To tell them apart, check the roots first.