Peace River Seafood in Punta Gorda is a true Florida crab shack; they don’t come more authentic than this. From its 1927 Cracker cabin to the buckets of fresh blue crabs, it’s a little piece of old Florida.
You can take a slog through the swamp to see native orchids, a buggy tour through cypress swamp or a guided bird walk or plant identification walk. All the events are free.
There are prettier rivers and wilder rivers, but the Peace River offers something you can’t find elsewhere: A place to paddle and camp through an undeveloped forest filled with wildlife within an easy drive of 7 million South Florida residents.
Gasparilla Sound is an out of the way aquatic preserve where you’re likely to see dolphins, osprey and white pelicans while mulllets jump like popcorn. It’s a place made to explore by kayak.
BONITA BEACH — This beach occupies one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s southwest coast, and its a place for finding shells, sand dollars, gopher tortoises and, best of all, unadorned natural beauty.
A scenic road through Everglades National Park also brings you past a cute little roadside stop: the smallest post office in the US. In an era where post offices are being closed to save money, this little outpost dating to 1953 is a survivor.
It’s time to plan this season’s canoe and kayak outings, and a free set of excellent paddling trail maps from the Great Calusa Blueway is certain to give you inspiration.
Anclote Key Preserve State Park, is actually four islands 3 miles off Tarpon Springs, accessible only by boat. If you can get there, you can see its 1887 lighthouse, miles of pristine beaches scattered with shells and one of the few undeveloped islands left on Florida’s coast. You can reach it by kayak or tour boat.
A bird with a wingspan of 9 feet is a sight to behold. Now picture hundreds of them, flying in formation, with Gulf Coast beaches and barrier islands as a backdrop. That’s the migration of the White Pelican, which return to Florida every October to November.