The Florida Park Ranger Pocket App Has Arrived!
When I started my Frugal Florida Fun adventures, I was constantly on the the Florida state parks website looking for fun things to do. I do have an iPhone, but the website isn’t really setup for mobile browsing. I took a quick look in the app store, and found quite a few apps that had things from information to park maps, but I wasn’t really impressed. Now there is the Florida Park Ranger Pocket App!
Then I read an article that the state of Florida finally got involved to develop an official mobile phone application! Well, sort of. They actually contracted with a company to provide the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger App! This extremely useful application is available on both iOS and Android platforms and it’s completely FREE! But just how good can a free application be? Don’t let the price fool you, it’s incredible!
If you want to check it out for yourself:
So What Does The Florida Park Ranger Pocket App Do?
Right off the bat, I was impressed. If you allow the app to know your location, it will alert you to any safety warnings in the area. For example, when I first downloaded the app, there was a wildfire warning in my area, and I was given a notice about it. This would be extremely useful if I was out hiking and was opening the app to check out a map.
When I actually got into the meat and potatoes of the app, I was able to search for local State Parks numerous ways. I could search for parks near me based on my location, which would be very useful if I wasn’t familiar with the area I was travelling in or I could browse by park name or park district.
One of my favorite features though is that you can search by activity. If you’re looking for camping, you can search for all parks that offer this activity. With tons of activities available at Florida State Parks, you’ll certainly have lots to do! Speaking of camping, you can also reserve your camp sight right from the app. Granted it’s just a in screen link to the reservation website, but thought it was pretty handy.
But What If There Is No Reception?
I was curious about this myself. You would be hard pressed to find parks without any cellular service now adays, but in the event you really plan on going off grid for awhile, this app allows you to cache information and maps. Even if you don’t have a connection, you can store all the data for access offline. In theory, that means you could also use the app on an iPod touch with no cellular service.
A Full Scale GPS Unit!
This Florida park ranger pocket app isn’t just limited to use in Florida State Parks! Since you can cache data, you can zoom in and pan around to what ever location you want even without a signal. You can program way points, routes and much more. This feature turns your phone into a full fledged GPS unit. This can also come in handy if you plan on Geo Caching while your out and about. I’m not much for navigating off grid, but if your into hiking the trails in the parks, you can use this app instead of buying a GPS unit.
One unique feature is that this app also has an emergency button! The details are a bit vague, but if you are on a trail in a park, you can send an emergency signal to receive help. It’s a great idea, but if you are allowing your child to navigate, you may want to disable this feature to prevent an accidental SOS from being sent out. I’m not sure where it exactly goes, but hopefully none of us will ever need to find out. I’m assuming it sends your exact coordinates to someone who can help.
So What’s Going On In The Parks?
Another outstanding feature is that you can view a state wide calendar to find something to do almost every day of the week! While I’m a big fan of the Frugal Florida Fun Calendar, this integrated feature will give you the inside scoop on what’s going on through out the state. Everything from animal presentations to music festivals! I was actually quite surprised to find that there always seems to be something going on that is family friendly and child appropriate.
I highly recommend this app for anyone with an applicable smart phone. Its free, and will help you with your adventures! I can’t wait to use it while I’m travelling with the family!