Underwater Coral Reef – Courtesy: National Park Service – Biscayne National Park
Few things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Florida finding its way onto top rankings lists for just about anything.
This time around, three national parks in Florida made the top-50 list of deadliest national parks in the U.S.
According to outdoor experts at Outforia, the rankings of the deadliest parks were determined by combining the numbers of deaths and most common causes of death but also includes data that points to where visitors are most likely to die. Not the news you’d want to hear when visiting a national park on your bucket list.
Making the top-50 cut for Florida was Biscayne National Park in Miami, Dry Tortugas National Park (70 miles south of Key West), and Everglades National Park in South Florida.
Of the three national parks in Florida that clinched a spot on the list, the Everglades came in highest on the list at number 23 overall. Everglades National Park is one of the most popular and visited parks in the nation, with over one million visitors per year. It is also the largest tropical wilderness park in the country and the third-largest national park in the contiguous U.S.
Fall-related deaths accounted for the number one spot in totality among all parks. But because Florida doesn’t necessarily have hills or rocky canyons that visitors could fall from, neither of the three parks that made the list recorded a fall-related fatality.
Let’s take a look at where and why Florida parks landed on the list.
Everglades National Park – #23
- It is almost surprising that the Everglades ranked so low on the list given the sheer size of the park, popularity by visitation, and a number of invasive and harmful species roaming around the park at any given time. The number one cause of death in the Everglades was transportation-related, followed by swimming. The data showed that the Everglades recorded 14 known fatalities between 2010-2020, with 10 of the 14 coming from transportation and swimming incidents.
Biscayne National Park – #28
- Biscayne National Park is far smaller in comparison to the Everglades but also claimed the majority of its victims via swimming and transportation-related incidents. Considering Biscayne National Park sits right along the Atlantic Ocean and the opening of the bay in Miami, it’s no wonder why swimming and transportation (mostly boating) would account for the largest numbers categorically speaking.
Dry Tortugas National Park – #31
- Located 70 miles south of Key West, this national park is a gem. Dry Tortugas National Park also landed a top spot in our “Must Visit” beaches in Florida and coolest lighthouses to visit in Florida. However, the Dry Tortugas did have one form of fatality that neither of the two other Florida parks had—medical/natural death. While the Dry Tortugas claimed 2 fewer lives than Biscayne and 8 less than the Everglades, it was still enough to squeak past 19 other parks. The leading category for the Dry Tortugas was swimming related, and that makes the most sense considering the majority of the park is technically underwater.
Outforia reported that the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Yosemite in California, Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee, Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California, and Yellowstone across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, were the top five on the list and accounted for 427 fatalities between 2010-2020 according to National Park Service data.
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William is a South Florida native with professional experience writing at the collegiate and national news outlet level. He loves fishing, playing soccer and watching sports in his spare time and is a fan of all South Florida teams.