Nature lovers should visit Florida´s National Parks and Preserves. Here, you can explore the state´s flora and fauna the authentic way.
Everglades National Park
No visit to the Sunshine State would be perfect without the Everglades: The famous “River of Grass” meanders from the north of Florida to the southern coast, flooding vast areas in the rainy season. A perfect place to observe water birds, alligators, crocodiles, turtles and manatees is the 1.508 acres Everglades National Park. Here, you can go hiking and kayaking, or book an airboat tour. The agile vessels will take you to the best wildlife spots in the National Park.
Contact Gulf Coast Visitor Center:
Address: 815 Oyster Bar Ln, Everglades City
Phone: +1 239-695-3311
Opening hours: 8 am–5 pm (9 am–4.30 pm from mid-April to mid-November)
Contact Shark Valley Visitor Center:
Address: 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami
Phone: +1 305-221-8776
Opening hours: 9 am–5 pm
Contact Flamingo Visitor Center:
Address: 1 Flamingo Lodge Hwy, Homestead
Phone: +1 239 695-2945
Opening hours: 8 am–4.30 (no regular opening hours from mid-April to mid-November)
Big Cypress National Preserve
No section of the Everglades harbours a larger biodiversity than Big Cypress National Preserve between Naples and Fort Lauderdale. Alligators, snakes, herons, anhingas, otters and manatees are just some of the species you can observe there – whether you go hiking, cycling, kayaking or take a swamp buggy tour.
Address: 33100 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee
Phone: +1 239-695-4111
Opening hours: 9 am–6 pm (closed on Saturdays)
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
It takes a lot of luck to see the rare Florida Panther. If you want to increase your chances, however, you should visit the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. And even if you do not catch a glimpse of the big cat: Deer, rabbits, snakes, cranes and woodpeckers are often sighted in the swampy area that you can explore on two hiking trails.
Address: 12085 SR 29 South, Immokalee
Phone: +1 239-657-8001
Opening hours: sunrise to sunset
Bahia Honda State Park
If you are travelling to the Florida Keys and want to see a multitude of water birds, Bahia Honda State Park is the perfect place for you. Underwater, this marine sanctuary is teeming with life, too: On a snorkeling trip you can see colorful starfish, conch snails, parrot fish and barracudas. With a bit of luck, you might even spot a rare sea turtle.
Address: 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key
Phone: +1 305-872-2353
Opening hours: 8 am to sunset
It does not take long to reach unspoilt nature by boat from Cape Coral or Fort Myers: The small island Cayo Costa is a protected state park. No buildings disturb the peaceful atmosphere here. Instead, you can watch dolphins from the beach and listen to songbirds on a hike. Or you explore the mangrove coast with a kayak to spot manatees and alligators in the water.
Address: 4 nautical miles west of Pine Island (26.685789, -82.245381)
Phone: +1 941-964-0375
Opening hours: 8 am to sunset