Birding

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.

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.

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.

Several ponds near Flamingo are good places to spot roseate spoonbill. This was photographed by Adam Fagen at Edo-Pond.

Visitor tips for exploring Everglades National Park

If you have one day or its your first visit to the Everglades, this guide will help you see wildlife and experience the essence of Everglades National Park. We offer tips, too, for more in-depth Everglades experiences.

Off a dirt road in the Arbuckle Tract Lake at Wales Ridge State Foresti s pretty  little Lake Godwin.

Discover Lake Wales Ridge State Forest for hiking, exploring, camping

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is for explorers – folks who like to find places that aren’t in the guidebooks. Here you can hike for miles in the woods, hear only nature and have a chance to spot wildlife, including bear, bald eagles and endangered scrub jays.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Hugh Taylor Birch Park in Fort Lauderdale: My favorite Florida state park

This state park holds a special place in my heart. In urban South Florida, it preserves a sliver of the natural splendor once all around. There’s a lot to do here: beach, biking, shaded picnics, Intracoastal views. When visiting, a perfect day includes a stop to nearby Bonnet House.

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge: Safe harbor for birds & other living things

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge: Safe harbor for birds & other living things

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is a year-round refuge for birds and other living things, from the dazzling roseate spoonbills to the American bald eagle. During the fall migration, birding is especially good.

Beach at the Dry Tortugas National Park: Campsites are steps away. Terrific snorkeling is right off this beach along the walls of the fort.

Camping at the Dry Tortugas National Park: So worth the trouble

In honor of the 100th birthday of US national parks, here’s a park that deserves to be on your must-see list. We loved camping at Dry Tortugas National Park off the Florida Keys. It takes some time, money and effort, but, wow, does it pay off.

Honeymoon Island: A natural beach with comforts

Honeymoon Island: A natural beach with comforts

Honeymoon Island is an unusual combo: It’s accessible, with first-rate concessions, and yet it’s a big, natural beach where you can get away from people and see wildlife. And you have to love how it got its name.

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