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We have now lived in southwest Florida for over 15 years.  We have seen many changes to the area.  The growth is unbelievable, and many wild places are unfortunately gone.  In many ways, southwest Florida has “paved paradise and put up a parking lot”, but there are still some areas if you know where to look.  Kati, who rents out vacation homes is constantly asked where in southwest Florida are the best places to see and experience wildlife.

We have put together some of our favorite “wild places of Southwest Florida”.  Whether we are riding our motorcycles to them, or just exploring on foot, these wild places never disappoint.

Southwest Florida nestled along the enchanting Gulf Coast of the United States is renowned for its landscapes and an array of activities that beckon adventurers. From the captivating Everglades National Park to the Ten Thousand Islands this region captivates nature enthusiasts and those seeking an outdoor experience. With its wildlife, greenery and awe-inspiring vistas it’s no surprise that Southwest Florida stands as a cherished destination for travelers craving a rendezvous with nature.

The Everglades National Park; A Subtropical Oasis

At the heart of Southwest Florida lies the Everglades National Park stretching across a 1.5 million acres as the largest subtropical wilderness in America. This natural wonderland is home to a range of wildlife species ranging from alligators and crocodiles to gentle manatees and an array of vibrant birdlife. The park also safeguards endangered species like the revered Florida panther and American crocodile. Visitors can immerse themselves in this ecosystem through exhilarating airboat rides, peaceful canoe or kayak adventures or by joining guided tours that unveil fascinating insights, about this unparalleled treasure.

The Ten Thousand Islands; A Coastal Gem

Off the shores of Southwest Florida lie the Ten Thousand Islands. A chain comprising numerous small islands. The islands contain a range of wildlife such, as dolphins, manatees and various bird species. When visiting the Ten Thousand Islands you have the option to explore the area by boat, kayak or canoe. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour to gain insight into the ecosystem of the region.


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a wildlife refuge covering 11,000 acres in Southwest Florida. It serves as a habitat for types of wildlife like alligators, panthers and various bird species. To experience this sanctuary’s beauty firsthand visitors can choose to explore on foot or opt for a canoe or kayak adventure. Guided tours are also available for those in learning more about the sanctuary’s ecosystem.

Exploring the Natural Wonders of Southwest Florida

Covering over11,000 acres in Southwest Florida, Big Cypress Reserve serves as a habitat for types of wildlife like alligators, panthers and various bird species,

Big Cypress National Preserve

Located in Southwest Florida over an expanse of 700,000 acres is Big Cypress National Preserve. This preserve is home to animals including alligators, panthers and various bird species. To fully immerse yourself in its natural wonders visitors can hike along its trails. Embark on a canoe or kayak journey. Guided tours are also an option for individuals who wish to expand their knowledge about this ecosystem.

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park occupies an area of 45,000 acres in Southwest Florida. Serves as a haven for wildlife such, as alligators, panthers and various birds.
The Babcock Ranch Preserve, spanning across 50,000 acres, in Southwest Florida offers an experience for visitors. This expansive preserve is teeming with wildlife, including alligators, panthers and various bird species. To explore this ecosystem visitors, have the option to wander on foot or embark on a canoe or kayak adventure. Additionally guided tours are available for those seeking an understanding of the preserve’s intricacies.

Our Final Word

In Southwest Florida nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike are drawn to the region’s beauty and abundant outdoor activities and we love the wild places in Southwest Florida. From the Everglades National Park to the captivating Ten Thousand Islands this area is truly a haven for those who appreciate landscapes and vibrant biodiversity. With its wildlife habitats, flourishing flora and breathtaking scenery it comes as no surprise that Southwest Florida remains one of the choices for travelers seeking an enriching outdoor experience. Regardless of whether you’re in search of tranquility or an action-packed vacation Southwest Florida promises something, for everyone.

And as a final note, many of these wild places are under threat from developing this land for other uses.  Let us hope that this never happens and these places always stay wild.


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