NATIONAL CEMETERIES IN FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  May 28, 2022

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs maintains 155 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico. These cemeteries are for American veterans who meet the minimum active duty service requirement.

Members of the armed forces are eligible for interment in these cemeteries whether they have served during war or peacetime.

Memorial Day is a national holiday in the United States and American flags are on prominent display in these beautiful places.

Each burial site is marked with a headstone provided by the federal government at no cost.  There are also columbarium niches available with plaques for the cremated remains of veterans.

National Cemetery Graveside ServiceNational Cemetery Graveside Service

Nine of these cemeteries are in the state of Florida. As a leading retirement spot for seniors, the state has a large population of eligible veterans.

In recent years as the veterans of World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam are rapidly aging, there has been an increasing demand for a final resting place for veterans and their eligible spouses.

Many veterans of 20th-century conflicts have chosen to select a grave site in one of these cemeteries.

Sandhill Cranes at Florida National Cemetery, BushnellSandhill Cranes at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell
From Naturecoaster.com

Each of these cemeteries serves as a national shrine that family members can turn to in time of need and participate in economical and solemn funeral services.

In some cases the veteran's spouse, minor children, and unmarried adult children may also be eligible for burial in a National Cemetery.

THE 9 NATIONAL CEMETERIES IN FLORIDA

BARRANCAS NATIONAL CEMETERY

1 Cemetery Road
Pensacola, FL 32508
Tel: 850-453-4108

Columbaria at Barrancas National CemeteryColumbaria at Barrancas National Cemetery

This cemetery is located at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida.  It is almost 95 acres and has more than 50,000 interments.

Your ability to visit this cemetery depends on the current status of the Naval Air Station. 

You need to contact the cemetery in advance to arrange a visit.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Clifford Chester Sims (1942-1968).  US Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient for actions during Vietnam War.

BAY PINES NATIONAL CEMETERY

1000 Bay Pines Boulevard North
St. Petersburg, FL 33708
Tel: 727-319-6479

Bay Pines National CemeteryBay Pines National Cemetery

Located in Pinellas County, this 27 acre cemetery is believed to be on the original site of victims of the Seminole Wars.

It did not become an official cemetery until 1933.  It became a national cemetery in 1984.

There are about 27,000 veterans buried here, and I believe there is currently no more burial spaces available.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Bill Young (1930-2013).  US Congressman and US Army National Guardsman from 1948 to 1957.

CAPE CANAVERAL NATIONAL CEMETERY

5525 US-1
Mims, FL 32754
Tel: 321-383-2638

Cape Canaveral National CemeteryCape Canaveral National Cemetery

This is a very new national cemetery, with the first burial taking place in 2016.

The cemetery has both in-ground burial spaces for caskets as well as columbaria for cremated remains.

It is not really in Cape Canaveral, but in the Scottsmoor area of Mims north of Titusville on US Highway 1.

FLORIDA NATIONAL CEMETERY

6502 SW 102nd Ave
Bushnell, FL 33513
Tel: 352-793-7740

Florida National Cemetery, BushnellFlorida National Cemetery, Bushnell

This is one of the largest and most active cemeteries in the United States.  It is on more than 500 acres in Sumter County near Bushnell and the Withlacoochee State Forest.

The cemetery is beautifully landscaped and has an open colonnade and memorial pathway that are wonderful places. The first burial was in 1988.

This cemetery presides over more than 7,000 burials a year, and it is estimated it will be entirely full by 2030.  The capacity is 180,000 interments.

Even though it is a large cemetery there are still many areas that feel like an open meadow.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Hal Jeffcoat (1924-2007).  US Army soldier in World War II and Major League baseball player.

JACKSONVILLE NATIONAL CEMETERY

4083 Lannie Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32218
Tel: 904-766-5222

Jacksonville National CemeteryJacksonville National Cemetery

This cemetery north of Jacksonville began interments in early 2009.  It is a large cemetery at 526 acres.

Although it is close to the St. Augustine National Cemetery, it was opened because the older one in St. Augustine was closed to further interments.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Jack D. Hunter (1921-2009).  US Army German translator, artist, and author of the bestseller "The Blue Max."

SARASOTA NATIONAL CEMETERY

9810 State Rd 72
Sarasota, FL 34241
Tel: 941-922-7200

Sarasota National CemeterySarasota National Cemetery Patriot Plaza

This is the sixth national cemetery that was developed in Florida. It is on 295 acres in Sarasota County.

Construction began on the first phase of the cemetery in 2008.

A unique feature of this cemetery is a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater named "Patriot Plaza." 

The cemetery staff conducts a weekly tour here to show the commissioned art work located in the plaza.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Rick Casares (1931-2013). U.S. Army soldier in Korean War, and Florida Gator and Chicago Bear football star.

SOUTH FLORIDA NATIONAL CEMETERY

6501 FL-7
Lake Worth, FL 33449
Tel: 561-649-6489

Palm Beach County

South Florida National CemeterySouth Florida National Cemetery

This is a relatively new national cemetery, opening in 2007 and dedicated in 2008.  Its first interment was in 2008.

It is on 313 acres located far west of the City of Lake Worth, and has 33,000 graves at present.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Claude R. Kirk Jr. (1926-2011), Governor of Florida, U.S. Marine Corps World War II and Korea.

ST. AUGUSTINE NATIONAL CEMETERY

104 Marine St
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Tel: 904-766-5222

Dade Pyramids at St. Augustine National CemeteryDade Pyramids at St. Augustine National Cemetery

This is a very small national cemetery at only 1.4 acres, and has more than 2,700 interments.  It became a national cemetery in 1881.

It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is not accepting any future interments.

It began as a burial ground for St. Francis Barracks, and the earliest graves were those of soldiers killed in the Seminole Wars. There are also many Civil War era graves.

One of the most notable features of this cemetery are the three Dade Monuments.  These are pyramids made of coquina rock and erected in 1842.

Beneath the pyramids are the remains of 1,468 soldiers who died during the Seminole Wars.

Among Famous Veterans Here:

Major Francis L. Dade (1792-1835), victim of Dade Massacre and namesake of several American cities and counties.

TALLAHASSEE NATIONAL CEMETERY

5015 Apalachee Pkwy
Tallahassee, FL 32311
Tel: 850-402-8941

Tallahassee National CemeteryTallahassee National Cemetery

The Tallahassee National Cemetery is on 250 acres and was dedicated in 2015.  The first burials were held shortly after that.

The cemetery is designed to accommodate the burials of 83,000 veterans.




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