The Naples Botanical Garden is ever-changing and stunning. Here are 11 surprises during our visit; go explore and see what you discover.
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.
This tiny fishing village wedged between Bradenton and Anna Marie Island celebrates its rich heritage as a commercial fishing hub.
Halfway Creek is a well-marked kayak trail just off the Tamiami Trail. It’s good for short or long paddles, taking you to a wild green world thick with airplants.
This paved bike trail system has it all — spectacular scenery, a smooth paved surface with few road crossings and great amenities and stops along the way. And it keeps getting better. The final northern segment to downtown Sarasota just opened.
Secluded campground tucked into the shady woods of Oscar Scherer State Park with access to a fabulous rail trail linking Sarasota to Venice.
Due to Hurricane Ian, the annual Naples Stone Crab Festival has been postponed. A new date has not been announced.
Kayaking the Braden River, with time at Jiggs Landing and Linger Lodge, is a delightful trip back into Old Florida. Both outposts date to the 1940s and the scenic river that connects them preserves much of its natural beauty.
There are few parks in Florida with as much to offer as Pinellas County’s Fort DeSoto Park. And no park in the state, not even Everglades National Park, attracts as many visitors.
Discover a less well-known string of islands — Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro Island and Manasota Key. Each holds a spectacular state park with top beaches.
Naples is a wealthy enclave with lush, tropical neighborhoods and lots of natural beauty close and accessible. Here’s a guide to things to do outdoors in Naples and surrounding areas.
The best Southwest Florida camping can be found in public parks, beaches and forests where the costs are low and experience is wild.
Few South Florida hiking or biking trails rival this 12-mile-long trail near Naples for scenery and wildlife. It deserves to be known outside the Naples area.
The Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival goes back to 1959. After severe destruction from Hurricane Ian, it was cancelled in 2023 and is back much change in 2024.
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.
Vast and remote, the Ten Thousand Islands off Florida’s southwest coast seems challenging to visit, a labyrinth of twisting channels through thousands of remote mangrove islands.
Punta Gorda is blessed with a beautiful riverfront location, but it doesn’t have a beach. And there lies the reason it has an off-the-beaten-track quality. It’s a great place for kayaking, biking, hiking, birding and discovering funky crab shacks and other authentic Florida experiences.
Witness 5,000 years of history through a glass wall at this Indian midden at Spanish Point, and learn about the Palmer family’s profound impact on Sarasota County.
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.
This out-of-the-way destination reminds us of artsy waterfront towns like Key West and Cedar Key. West of Fort Myers, Matlacha is a colorful collection of little wooden houses surrounded by good saltwater-kayak trails. Artists love this funky little village.
Crossing the state on Alligator Alley? Here are tips on a how to spend 15 minutes, a half hour or a half day exploring the Everglades from I-75. This mile marker guide helps you decide where to stop and what to do along the way.
A fascinating kayak destination: Mound Key Archaeological State Park, an uninhabited island accessible only by boat near Fort Myers Beach. The ceremonial center of the Calusa people, Mound Key is one of a kind and is surrounding by waters full of wildlife.
Casey Key, a skinny 8-mile-long barrier island south of Sarasota, is a great destination for someone who wants to pedal a great bike trail in the morning, beachcomb amid natural beauty in the afternoon and then enjoy an authentic waterfront fish house for dinner.
The Lido Key Mangrove Trail is a well-known scenic kayak trail in Sarasota. In addition to friendly cormorants and shaded mangrove tunnels, this trail is popular in summer because there is a sandbar where you can swim.
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.
There are 35 pawrific dog beaches in Florida. Find one near you.
Florida’s wackiness goes back to its first settlers, and Koreshan State Historic Site celebrates one of our earliest eccentrics. Thanks to this cult leader, though, a lovely wooded site on the Estero River was preserved through the years for us to enjoy.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
Peace River Botanical Gardens in Punta Gorda exceeded my expectations with its whimsical monument sculptures and lovely gardens in a scenic riverfront site.
These 12 Florida State Parks campgrounds are a short hop from Interstate 75 and offer unique experiences — roaming buffalo, a disappearing river and one even memorializes a strange and wacky cult.