Birding

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has it all:  3.2 miles of natural white sand beaches with 25-foot-high sand dunes and a rare coastal dune lakes. (Photo: Florida State Parks)

Beyond the shoreline: Exploring Fort Walton Beach

The Fort Walton Beach area is famous for its spectacular white sand beaches, but there is more to discover inland, from sand dunes to clear sandy-bottomed streams to miles of hiking trails.

Anhinga chicks at Everglades National Park. (Photo: David Blasco)

‘Super colony’ of birds nests in Everglades: You can’t see them, but visit anyway

2018 is an exceptional one for nesting birds in Everglades National Park. Two super colonies– more than 25,000 birds clustered together– are nesting in the park for the first time since the 1940s. We couldn’t resist a visit. And while you can’t reach the super colonies, there is much to see on a spring visit.

Wood storks, anhingas and herons all nesting together in Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. (Bonnie Gross)

Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach: Watch the wood storks nesting

One of the best places to see wood storks and other wading birds nesting up close in winter is Wakodahatchee Preserve in Delray Beach. In February and March, dozens of storks build nests close to an easy-to-walk .75 mile boardwalk.

Fort Myers Bunche Beach: Heaven for birders, kayakers

Fort Myers Bunche Beach: Heaven for birders, kayakers

People and birds alike enjoy the beautiful beaches and sandbars plus the pristine mangrove creeks at Bunche Beach. There are several routes for kayakers or it’s a great place for just combing the beach and enjoying the wildlife.

Wekiva River Basin’s stunning beauty invites paddlers, campers, hikers and bikers

Wekiva River Basin’s stunning beauty invites paddlers, campers, hikers and bikers

Not all of Central Florida’s magic is at Disney. North of Orlando is a vast ecological preserve that offers an abundance of recreational opportunities with unique exposure to Florida’s great outdoors.

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve: Free, wild & five minutes off I-75

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve: Free, wild & five minutes off I-75

Next time you travel Florida’s west coast on I-75, take a five minutes detour in Fort Myers to discover a magnificent slice of old Florida – a 1.2 mile boardwalk through an unspoiled cypress swamp called Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.

Ivey House Bed and Breakfast in Everglades City is designed for outdoors-oriented visitors. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Ivey House in Everglades City: B&B for outdoors folks

If you’re visiting the western entrance to Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands, there is a bed and breakfast that caters specifically to kayakers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts – the Ivey House Bed and Breakfast in Everglades City.

In the winter, visitors have no trouble seeing dozens   of alligators up close. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Shark Valley: South Florida’s best bike trail is an Everglades adventure

Everglades National Park is vast and there are many deep-into-the-wild places to explore. But one of my favorite Everglades experiences is Shark Valley off the Tamiami Trail west of Miami. The 15-mile loop path is the best traffic-free scenic bicycle trail in South Florida.