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Florida has a reputation for theme parks, malls, and sunshine. But there’s so much more to it than that: the ‘real’ Florida is a nature lover’s dream, and with hundreds of daily flights to Tampa, Miami, Orlando and many other large international airports, there’s no reason not to experience the nature offered by Florida.

Sanibel Island. Photo by Alexandratx.

Sanibel Island. Photo by Alexandratx. 

Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

This beautiful garden is bursting with plants from all around the world, and it’s free entrance. In addition to that, there are free guided tours every Saturday at 2pm between October and May.

If you have multiple days in Miami you can also rent a boat in Miami for a day, spend time at the beach itself, or take in famous architecture like the Biltmore Hotel.

Secret Woods Nature Centre

Near Dania Beach, this is over 50 acres of wilderness, with boardwalks wending their way through mangrove trees, palms, and a huge variety of birdlife. There’s a 4000 square butterfly community, as well as a huge range of rare trees and a tidal marsh area.

Sanibel Island

This island is accessible from the mainland by a toll bridge, and once you’re there the best way to see the sights is by bicycle. Two thirds of the island is a nature reserve, and there are over 230 species of birds to spot, along with sensational marine life and beautiful shells on the beaches.

You can take a kayak tour though the mangroves, and the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a particularly excellent visit for bird watching nature lovers.


Crocodiles and Alligators

Head to the Everglades and ride an airboat through Florida’s famous swamps. There are tours through the marshes where your guide will point out the camouflaged creatures lurking in the swamp grasses, and you might see some pythons and lizards too.

Forest Creatures

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary provides another great swathe of wildlife, including otters, deer, turtles and armadillo along the long boardwalk hikes though the wetlands. It’s a great place for nature photography, so don’t forget your camera!

Florida Black Bear. Spotted:


Florida has a great provision for hiking enthusiasts, with the 1,500 mile Florida National Scenic Trail offering excellent opportunities for countryside exploration all over the state.

There are campsites dotted along the trail, and White Springs is recommended as a great starting point, with outdoor recreation facilities for the adventurous nature lovers.


This high tech treasure hunt is popular in Florida and has a dedicated association: use GPS to find the cache, and you’ll find a waterproof container and a log book to make your mark! You’ll explore the Sunshine State while using your brain, and have a great sense of achievement when you’ve completed the mission. Good locations for this are the Green Swamp and Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.

Florida has so much to offer for travellers looking to get back to nature. Whether you’re interested in wildlife, outdoor sport, hiking or plants, the Sunshine State is a fantastic destination, and is highly recommended to visit if you’re excited by flora, fauna and beautiful landscapes.


  1. So true. We were married on Sanibel, and it’s one of my favorite places to go for a quick weekend getaway. I’m impressed you saw a black bear hiking…that’s so cool!

    • We’ve been based just off Sanibel for the last year and loved the location. And the black bear was amazing! Though it took many many hiking trips before we spotted one :D!

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