Last Updated on August 16, 2023
The state of Florida is well known for its sunshine-filled skies, abundance of beaches, and dedication to helping holiday goers have a wonderful time.
There is, however, another side to Florida that often gets less attention – the remarkable nature and wildlife that can be discovered throughout the Sunshine State.
Have you ever thought about seeing the alligators of the Everglades, or to get up close and personal with turtles? The wild landscapes of Florida provide an amazingly unique setting that allows visitors to observe animals in their natural habitat, and to enjoy the thrill of seeing some amazing creatures.
So why not add something a little extra special to your next Florida villa holiday, and make the most of all this beautiful region has to offer? Below, we have detailed some of the things you ought to know about the slightly… wilder side of the Sunshine State.
The Everglades is unquestionably one of the best-known regions of Florida, and for very good reason. The wetlands reserve has often been referred to as the “river of glass”, and tourists flock there in great numbers every year to immerse themselves in it.
Comprising an astounding two million acres of tropical wetlands across the central and southern parts of Florida, the Everglades offers up sawgrass marshes, coastal mangroves, and pine flat woods that simply have to be seen and experienced.
There are hundreds of species of animals that make their home in the Everglades. These include a host of endangered species, such as the Florida panther, West Indian manatee, and the leatherback turtle, among others.
If you are on the hunt for an unforgettable encounter with some amazing wildlife, the Everglades is a must-visit spot. There are over 360 species of birds in the Everglades National Park area alone, encompassing an array of egrets, wood storks, herons and glossy ibises, as well as smaller migratory birds such as the snail kite and Cape Sable seaside sparrow.
In addition to experiencing an amazing array of creatures, visitors can learn about the extensive steps being taken to help preserve the area. Included among these measures are education for boaters, visitors, and local communities on the protection of manatees and the preservation of their habitat.
Alligators, crocodiles, and snakes are also key animal participants in the region – perfect to go and see if you are a fan of reptiles!
Crystal River is another key area for wildlife lovers in Florida. It is the home of the only national wildlife range in the United States that is dedicated to protecting the habitat of the Florida manatee.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge was first established in 1983. It serves to protect the Three Sisters Springs – home of the beloved manatees, and the last unspoiled, undeveloped spring in Kings Bay, which acts as a crucial habitat.
Visitors have the option to visit the refuge, and can even get involved in any of various conservation projects or volunteering opportunities that exist on the site. This is the ideal chance for you to get up close and personal with some of Florida’s most precious creatures, and allows you to really play your part in protecting the wildlife of this fascinating region.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The wildlife and nature abundant in Florida is not limited to birds and mammals; butterflies and other insects are also plentiful, and the sanctuary in Key West is the perfect place to explore them.
With their enchanting rainbow of colors, variety of patterns, and astoundingly wide range of sizes and shapes, Florida is home to some stunning butterflies.
And it gets even better than that: visitors can also enjoy a variety of exotic fish, bird, and reptile species, all under one roof. Along the way, they can learn about the many conservation projects that are underway to help preserve the inhabitants, and discover how they can contribute to ensuring the animals’ safety in the wild.
The Turtle Hospital
In addition to an abundance of wildlife to discover on land, the oceans around Florida are home to a huge variety of animals and creatures that need our help to thrive and stay safe.
If adorable sea turtles are what you’re looking for, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon is the perfect destination. This unique facility rescues and rehabilitates injured sea turtles from all over Florida, nursing them back to health and aiding with rehabilitation. Alongside all this, the facility works on conservation projects to help increase the numbers of turtles in the wild.
Visitors can take part in organized tours to learn more about these beloved creatures, and even get closely acquainted with some of the patients presently receiving treatment.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is another ideal place to discover the region’s natural beauty. Located just outside Naples, this 13,000-acre reserve is home to an array of wildlife such as alligators, wading birds, and even the endangered Florida panther. It is also here where a host of white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles can be found.
Visitors can take part in guided tours, focused on a range of areas such as early bird season, reptiles, and even night tours, which can be great for seeing and experiencing animals and creatures that are typically nocturnal.
In addition, visitors can explore the boardwalk on their own for a unique wildlife experience. This is perfect to take in the animals all around you. Really, in the whole of Florida, there is barely a finer opportunity to really connect with Florida’s natural world.
Florida is a thriving haven with a majestic abundance of wildlife and nature. So, as you might imagine, the suggestions above represent merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunities to immerse yourself in nature far beyond what you might have seen in TV documentaries.
Flora and fauna might not exactly be the very first things you imagine when you think of Florida; however, they’re a vital and unique part of the Sunshine State.