Snorkeler and divers at Dry Tortugas National Park. Text over photo: What did you discover? Tag your photos #oceansnps

National parks provide countless ways to experience our country's great waters and explore its maritime heritage. Today, many of us lead fast-paced, high stress lives, making the need for places to relax, refresh, and renew that much more important. Our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes parks are here for you to enjoy –whether you are seeking quiet contemplation or high adventure.

Recreational activities in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes national parks are as varied as the places themselves. Miles of coastline offer places to walk along the beach, wade in the surf, fish, or just sit and relax. These parks provide ideal places to get out on the water, whether you prefer sailing, canoeing, power boating, or taking a boat tour. Many parks also offer watersports such as kite boarding, and surfing.

Our amazing national parks provide plenty of places where you can literally immerse yourself in nature. Go for a swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in underwater worlds just waiting to be explored. Whether you prefer diving or snorkeling, bird watching or whale watching, there is no better place than a national park to encounter wildlife in its natural habitat. The diversity of scenery and species in these places could fill more than a lifetime of exploration. Maritime museums, lighthouses, historic forts, and educational programs on the oceans and Great Lakes tell stories of people and cultures that shape our nation's history. Whether you seek relaxation, exhilaration, or inspiration, the 85 National Park Service sites in our oceans and along our coasts and Great Lakes' shorelines provide many ways to experience America's great waters. Find current tips on how to Recreate Responsibly.

  • people look at florida bay at everglades national park
    Wildlife Viewing

    Take a walk on the wild side. Ocean and coastal parks are ideal places to encounter wildlife.

  • A boat at Everglades National Park

    Get out on the water! Ocean and coastal parks provide rich and varied opportunities for boating.

  • snorkeler at dry tortugas national park
    Dive Your Park

    Immerse yourself! Some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world can be found in America's national parks.

  • Paddling at Everglades National Park

    Become one with the scenery. Ocean and coastal national parks provide a range of paddling opportunities.

  • A man surfs

    Catch a Wave: National parks provide great opportunities for watersports such as surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

  • People by a rocky shore
    Shore Activities

    A Day at the Beach: National parks preserve some of the most scenic beaches in the world.

  • Boy fishing

    Reel in Your Best Day on the Water! Sport fishing is long-standing and popular tradition in our national parks.

  • People boating
    Water Safety

    Enjoy Your Parks Safely. Whether you are boating, paddling, swimming or surfing safety is just as important as having fun.

  • sunset setting over ocean with mountain silhouette.
    Explore Marine Protected Areas

    MPA's offer many different types of recreational opportunities. Make the most of your coast!

Last updated: May 26, 2020


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