Florida's - Gulf Coast Visitor Guide


  WILDERNESS… Parks & Preserves in Sw Florida!

    Southwest Florida is truly a Ecological destination and has the most to
offer in Ecology and Related Activities.

Myakka River State Park

Winter and spring bring flocks of ducks, warblers, wading birds and hawks. It is a time when the waters
of the Myakka River and Upper and Lower Myakka Lakes are at their lowest. The shallow waters entice flocks of wading
birds into a feeding frenzy. A canopy walkway is on a spur trail that goes off of the Boylston Nature Trail. The
entire loop trail takes about 30 to 40 minutes to walk at a very leisurely pace.

13208 State Road 72, Sarasota

Call for Information: 941-361-6511

Oscar Scherer State Park

A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays,
a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread
throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for
hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing.

1843 S. Tamiami Trail – Osprey

Call for Information: 941-483-5956

T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve

If you’re a serious hiker, biker or birdwatcher, you don’t want to miss the 24,000-acre T. Mabry
Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve. The Carlton Reserve, just east of Interstate 75, Exit 193. The preserve has more than
eighty miles of hiking trails, including the twelve mile long Myakka Island Wilderness Trail, which connects the
Carlton Reserve with Myakka River State Park. Equestrian trails are also provided though a negative Coggins test is
required for all horses that enter the Reserve. Most trail intersections are marked with numbered trail markers.

For information on obtaining a permit for horseback riding at the preserve, contact the Sarasota County Call
Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources.

Deer Prairie Creek Preserve

The preserve has more than seventy miles of hiking trails, which are unpaved but accessible for most
visitors. All trail intersections are marked with numbered trail markers and certain trails may be shared by hikers,
bicyclists and equestrian users.

For information on obtaining a permit for horseback riding at the preserve, contact the Sarasota County Call
Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources.

Stump Pass Beach State Park

A hiking trail passes through five distinct natural communities that provide homes for many species of
wildlife; covered picnic tables are located along the trail. While at the park, visitors might see West Indian
manatees, gopher tortoises, snowy egrets, least terns, and magnificent frigatebirds. Ranger-led turtle walks and
beach nature walks are available in the summer.

Located at the south end of Manasota Key

Call for Information: 941-964-0375

Cayo Costa State Park - Boca Grande

Cayo Costa State Park is located directly
south of Boca Grande and West of Pine Island & N. Ft. Meyers. It is accessible only by passenger ferry or
private boat.

There are five miles of nature trails providing opportunities for hiking and off-road bicycling.
The passenger ferry, Tropic Star of Pine Island, departs from Pineland, Florida (Pine Island). Reservations are
required on the ferry service. There is a fee for the ferry service. Call Tropic Star at 239-283-0015.

Call for More Information: 941-964-0375

The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

The Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced "slew") is a 2,500 acre wetland that measures approximately 9
miles long and 1/3 mile wide. This linear ecosystem is home to a diverse population of plants and animals, including
a few considered to be endangered.

The Slough also serves as a corridor for wildlife by providing a safe route of
travel. Birding is a popular activity, since the Slough is home to several species of songbirds, wading birds and
raptors. Guided walks expose the visitors to the hidden beauties of this unique ecosystem.

7791 Penzance Blvd, Fort Myers

Call for Information: 239-533-7550

  WILDERNESS… Nature Tours

Around the Bend Nature Tours

Bradenton 941-794-8773

Babcock Wilderness Adventures

Punta Gorda 800-500-5583


Cork Screw Swamp Sanctuary

A 21/4 mile boardwalk trail that winds through the largest stand of virgin Bald Cypress in the country;
some over 700 years old. The National Audubon Society maintains this 11,000 acre preserve with a dwindling population
of Wood Storks. The most interesting time to visit is from December through March when the storks nest and breed.

375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples

Call for Information: 239-348-9151

Big Cypress Swamp - Naples

Protecting over 720,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of
tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida
panther. Join a Big Cypress Park Ranger or Volunteer along a one mile boardwalk for programs that explore the wonders
of the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades ecosystem.

Located between Naples and Miami

Call for Information: 239-695-1201

  WILDERNESS… Nature Tours

Wild Within Wilderness Adventures

Lake Wales 863-660-6556

Florida Adventure Treks

Everglades 888-873-5735

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