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.
HOMESTEAD — Robert Is Here, just outside Everglades National Park, is a must-stop for my family on the basis of its Key Lime milkshakes alone. But we also love the menangerie out back, the exotic tropical fruits there for the tasting and the overall ambiance.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has reopened with its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also open for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
Key West has a lot of off-beat charms, but one of my favorites has always been the chickens that you hear crowing and see strutting everywhere. But don’t feed them! It’s now against the law. Learn about the fascinating feral fowl that are part of Key West’s funky charm.
A Virginia Key kayak outing offers an amazing combo – views of the Miami skyline rising out of Biscayne Bay in one direction, mangrove lagoons with shore birds in the other. An extra treat: It’s the best way to see the old Miami Marine Stadium.
Boyett’s Citrus is a throwback to the Florida before Disney. It’s a mom-and-pop business, with mini-golf, an animal park. animated dinosaurs — and more. There’s no theme except “this might be fun.”
It opens for the season on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, and when the line starts forming at Knaus Berry Farms, it’s the true sign of fall in South Florida. This 50-year-old institution south of Miami has generations of devoted fans. It’s a good stop for an Everglades trip or a day exploring the Redland.
The annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim on July 4 has been cancelled because of the pandemic. Look for the event — a non-competititve swim across the 1.5-mile wide Peace River — to return in 2021.
Robbie’s Marina is a don’t-miss stop as you drive through the Florida Keys. Dozens of tarpon, some more than 6 feet long, gather at the dock and lunge for fish from visitors. The restaurant there, the Hungry Tarpon, is highly recommended , too.
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.