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Off-the-beaten path in Marco Island: Go beyond your hotel pool

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.

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Visiting fabulous Flamingo, Everglades National Park’s last outpost, and worth the drive

Flamingo is a long way from the entrance to Everglades National Park, but we love it for the wildlife — manatees, crocodiles and an osprey nest right in the marina. Kayaking into Florida Bay is a splendid way to see the many birds and spectacular scenery. Our guide provides tips for hiking too.

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Telegraph Creek: Unspoiled kayak trail worth discovering

Telegraph Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River near Fort Myers, is all the things I love about kayaking destinations – out-of-the-way, uncrowded, scenic, full of wildlife. It’s located within a half hour of Fort Myers and is ideal for a shaded two- or three-hour kayak outing.

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Long Key State Park: Florida Keys gem but camping limited

Once the site of a luxury resort for the rich and famous, Long Key State Park is a terrific place to spend a few hours hiking, beachcombing, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in the Florida Keys. While most of its highly prized beachfront campsites are closed, a few tent sites are open.

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