Mark Lewis

Bliss Out in the Sunshine State

There's good reason that thousands of retirees, so-called "snowbirds," flock to Florida every winter. The state's white-sand beaches, ocean access and waterfront towns tempt winter-weary travelers. Still, Florida offers much to do beyond lounging along beaches.

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Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

As a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, Everglades National Park encompasses a landscape that is critical to the environmental health of our world. 960 1280

iStock; Roberto Adrian 2012  

River of Grass

River of Grass

Famously called a "river of grass" by Florida writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Everglades is a complex system of ecosystems including cypress swamps, mangroves, tropical hardwood forests and hammocks, the Florida Bay, and of course, sawgrass marshland. 960 1280

iStock  

Get Up Close

Get Up Close

The wheel-chair accessible Anhinga Trail and Shark Valley Tram tour let park visitors view wildlife at a comfortable distance while guided canoe and kayak tours will take visitors into the mangroves and marshes.  960 1280

iStock; Karen Massier  

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

With 99 percent of Biscayne underwater, visitors will want boat access to enjoy the park. Those without a vessel can contact the Dante Fascell Visitor Center for guided boat tours. 960 1280

iStock; Robert Zehetmayer  

Lights on Miami

Lights on Miami

At the tip of the Boca Chita Island, this lighthouse stands, with Miami on the horizon, as the park’s beacon and unofficial symbol. 960 1280

iStock  

Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve

For those seeking Florida wildlife, Big Cypress is the place to go. The park offers the most diverse population of plants and animals in the Everglades including ghost orchids, the Florida panther and the giant cypress tree. 960 1280

iStock; David S. Wallace  

Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest

With four natural springs and 600 other rivers, lakes, and waterways, the Ocala National Forest beckons for kayakers to carve paddle strokes through its aquamarine waters. Though not a national park, it's federal land and water worth enjoying. 960 1280

iStock  

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Located 70 miles west of Key West, seaplane, ferry, or a chartered vessel are the best ways to reach this island sanctuary. Upon arrival visitors will be rewarded with beautiful beaches, the impressive Fort Jefferson, and underwater coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. 960 1280

(C)2012 Lorraine Boogich  

Destinations in Florida

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