Southwest Florida

Bedman Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River near Alva. (Photo: David Blasco)

Along Caloosahatchee River: Kayak trails, rustic scenery & small towns

Between Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers, a stretch of the Caloosahatchee River offers a taste of Old Florida — small towns, rivers ideal for kayaking and good public campgrounds.

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.

Curious manatee at Manatee Park, Fort Myers, on the Orange River, Feb. 14, 2015

Manatee Park & the Orange River: Fort Myers kayak trail ideal for winter day

When it’s chilly, you can see dozens of manatees at this free park. Even without manatees, the Orange River is a beautiful kayak trail through Old Florida scenery.

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.

The view from the water (Photo by Constance Mier)

Smallwood Store in Chokoloskee: Everglades icon still owned by original family

Smallwood Store is an exceptional slice of Florida history at an end-of-the-road site overlooking Chokoloskee Bay near Everglades City.

A post office on Pine Island (Courtesy of Chief Dennis, Tarpon Lodge)

Pine Island: Step back in time, without a tourist in sight

Pine Island never was a big tourist destination. And that’s why it is such a refreshing place to explore today. It’s full of groves and plant nurseries with a few stops that make it worth exploring.

Naples beach: Discover hidden Clam Pass Park, where you ride the tide

Naples beach: Discover hidden Clam Pass Park, where you ride the tide

In honor of the upcoming beach season, Florida Rambler is highlighting a Beach of the Week throughout summer. This week, it’s Clam Pass Park, a hidden beach in Naples with a shallow, safe pass that lets you ride the tide in and out of a tropical lagoon.

Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater.

Caladesi Island: Kayak to a wild beach

Caladesi Island State Park, off the coast of Clearwater and Dunedin, has been called the best beach in America. What’s even better? Kayaking to Caladesi and seeing wonderful wildlife along the way.

Not a soul in sight.

Tigertail Beach, a Marco Island adventure, where you wade to wild beach

Tigertail Beach is for adventurers who love unspoiled beaches where you can walk for miles. You reach this beach by wading across a shallow lagoon. It’s full of seashells, wildlife and it’s a birding hot-spot.