The snorkeling trail at the park on the Blue Heron Bridge in Palm Beach County offers a volume and variety of sea life rarely seen close to shore.
Myakka is one of the oldest and biggest state parks, a great place for seeing wildlife, from huge gators to flocks of birds in winter. Go here for its log cabins, appealing camp sites, excellent kayaking, extensive hiking and good bike trails. It’s also a good spot for nature neophytes, who enjoy the airboat ride and canopy walk.
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.
Sea-turtle walks are like seeing a nature documentary in person, and they’re back in many places for 2021. But you need reservations to join these night-time beach walks to watch giant sea turtles nesting.
Load your bikes on your carrier and head north to Old Florida. Along this bike trail, you can stop and hike a bit and maybe even see gators, wild horses or even bison in Paynes Prairie. This pretty paved trail also lets you use your gears on a hill or two.
Amateur astronomers love this place in the heart of Florida’s cow country — 54,000 acres of wide-open prairie, 25 miles from the nearest town, ideal for stargazing under a pure night sky.
Big Cypress National Preserve offers excellent Everglades experiences. It’s adjacent to the famous national park, is free and has some spectacular scenery.
A 22,000-acre wilderness with 60 miles of trails for hiking, biking and equestrians through five thriving wildlife habitats. Six primitive camping areas, or try this secret campground with river access.
Blue Spring State Park, home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay after closing during firefly season from March 19 to April 4. If that took you by surprise, you’re with me. But there is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.
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.