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Fakahatchee Strand: Big, wild and great for Everglades hiking and kayaking

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park — the biggest state park in Florida — is a vast, wild place near Everglades City. Year after year, we drove right past, but there are three great reasons to spend time here. We’re glad we did.

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In winter, tour the historic Nike missile base in Everglades National Park

In the middle of Everglades National Park is the best preserved Nike missile base in South Florida, a relic of the Cold War and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Today it reminds us of those days of John F. Kennedy, fallout shelters and Bob Dylan protest songs.

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Everglades National Park Hell’s Bay Kayak Trail: The name is a hint

Whoever named this kayak trail Hell’s Bay was giving you a hint: It won’t be easy. During National Parks Week at the end of April, I paddled this forbiddingly named trail. It’s mile after mile of mangroves with tight twists and turns that make going slow. If you’re heading for a backcountry camping site — a chickee on a platform in the middle of the Everglades wilderness — then this trail is worth the trouble. If not, well, I have some suggestions for you.

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A day exploring the Redland: Agriculture and rustic charm thrive near Miami

The historic agricultural area surrounding the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park offers so many cool experiences — a park where you can see and sample exotic fruits, free tours of a spectacular orchid grower’s estate, a local tropical-fruit winery and famous fruit milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.

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