Renting a houseboat in Everglades National Park lets you glide into the wilderness of Whitewater Bay and experience its splendor at dawn, at sunset and marvel at its starry skies. Fishermen will love it, but even without fishing, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Amateur astronomers love this place in the heart of Florida’s cow country. With 54,000 acres of wide-open prairie 25 miles from the nearest town, light pollution does not exist, making the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve one of a few destinations in Florida for stargazing under a pure night sky. The campground set aside for astronomers is known as “the red light district.”
Chances are, you’ve never heard of Blue Cypress Lake near Yeehaw Junction. If that’s so, you’re missing a spectacular natural lake rimmed by old growth cypress trees and home to hundreds of ospreys and osprey nests. This lake is the headwaters of the mighty St. Johns River. What a great kayak destination!
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. Right now, birding is especially good.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, an Audubon Society preserve, takes you on a hike via boardwalk with good wildlife viewing and exquisite scenery.
This bird rescue center offers an up-close-and-personal wildlife experience that makes a short, fun stop on a Keys trip, especially for families with kids.
It’s not the best known destination in southwest Florida, but there are a lot reasons that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that are draws for both manatees and kayakers.
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.