See The World
Seek Adventure Travel Happy
I had been to Florida four times before. Those included beach trips, a cruise, and a childhood dream-come-true visit to Disney World. That's all I had seen of Florida.
This fifth time, last month, I had the pleasure to see the other side - the Everglades, a beautiful botanic garden, and the wild, scenic, bird-watching, lizard-catching, kayaking, let’s-look-for-gators-at-night side of Florida - and it was amazing.
I did get an A+ on the state project I did on Florida in the 5th grade, but I don’t know the first thing about birds and lizards, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of palm trees, I wasn't familiar with the Everglades ecosystem, and I didn’t necessarily think going out to look for gators at night sounded like a good idea.
It was a whole new world to me. Thanks to my nature-loving boyfriend and his parents who live in Ft. Myers, I got a bit of a crash-course and took it all in.
I would love to write it all down, but that would take forever. So let me just bullet point some of the awesome places we went to.
Lakes Park is located just south of Ft. Myers. Now, I didn’t see much of this 279 acre park. We just walked about 5 minutes into it and stood on the bridge at sunset to watch all the white ibis fly in for the night. Also, it got pretty chilly so we didn't want to be out much later anyway. It was an absolutely beautiful sight. The still water reflecting the sunset's colors while the birds fly right over your head just made for such a serene moment.
Six Mile Cypress
It's thanks to a group of students that the Six Mile Cypress Slough became a preserve. In the 1970s, these wetlands were disappearing at an alarming rate due to private interests. These students launched a campaign to protect it and, thankfully, voters responded overwhelmingly to convert it to a preserve.
The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is over 3,400 acres of a wetland ecosystem. It is home to variety of animals such as otters, alligators, turtles, armadillos, deer, feral hogs, and wading birds year-round. We saw a great deal of birds, a couple of gators, and a pretty cute raccoon! One of the gators was huge. We got see him awkwardly climb onto a small floating dock in the middle of the lake - it was pretty comical.
I know that if I lived there I'd want to go to that park every day. There were so many people riding their bikes, jogging, taking a sunset stroll, or simply sitting there enjoying the day. And mid-70s temperatures in November is also a huge plus.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures besides these. I was too busy taking it all in with my own eyes. We walked on the trail for a good hour. I definitely recommend a trip to this preserve if you find yourself in Ft. Myers!
First time kayaking and it was awesome!
We only got to explore a small part of Bunche Beach while kayaking - from Mangrove forests to a beautiful sandy beach. The water was shallow, so it wouldn't be too much of a hassle if you tipped over, but I'm glad we didn't.
See For Yourself - Go Visit!
These awesome places were all in Ft. Myers, and there's still other beautiful places we went to that I didn't get pictures of. I did finally get to see some manatees, saw more gators, relaxed at the beach (of course), and Kyle and I drove to Miami where we went to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (beautiful!). Later that night we also went into the Everglades with a couple of Kyle's friends to look for gators and snakes with our flashlights. That's what happens when you have an awesome geeky boyfriend :)
Remember this planet is our home. Let's appreciate it and protect it. I'm all about traveling to historical places and visiting old cathedrals, museums, castles, and landmarks, but this dive into the nature of Florida was absolutely unforgettable and eye-opening.
It breaks my heart to see how much we have already destroyed. Much of it being short-sighted interests and gains that cause irreversible damage to delicate ecosystems. Remember to take a stand for conservation efforts like those students did in the 70s for Six Mile Cypress.
If you haven't already, go visit this Florida! Skip the beach a couple of days, visit some parks, and take a walk on the trails! And learn more about the Everglades!
As always, happy travels! :)
- Liz -
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz