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Susan Klement
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Seminole Casino, Immokalee, FL

Seminole Casino Immokalee provides you with an entertainment experience that is unique to Southwest Florida and it’s only two hours south of Bradenton. So whether you seek Las Vegas style thrills, culinary delights, or just want to dance the night away, it’s all available here.  Every month the hottest and newest slots arrive like Amazing Race, Judge Judy and Wheel of Fortune, plus great table games including Blackjack, three card poker and let it ride.  Add two award winning restaurants, the WPT Poker room, and nightly entertainment and it's your escape to winning.

Learn more here.

Sun Splash Water Park, Cape Coral, FL

At Sun Splash Waterpark, about an hour and a half south of Bradenton in Cape Coral, your family can spend a day splishing, splashing, sliding and soaking up the fun at the largest water park in SW Florida! Sun Splash offers over 14 acres of attractions ranging from a lazy river and Tot Spot to high speed flumes. Bring your family for a day of fun! Open seasonally March-September. 

Learn more here.

Lee County Sports Complex

Lee County Sports Complex is the Home of the Minnesota Twins spring training. Miracle Baseball Club begins in April and lasts until September. The Miracle is the class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.  The Twins play at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers during Spring Training. The Fort Myers Miracle, part of the Florida State League, play from April until early September.

Learn more here.

Tropical Horizon Yacht Charters

Tropical Horizon Charters. Private Yacht excursions on the Caloosahatchee River, Gulf of Mexico, and the Barrier off Ft. Myers just two hours south of Bradenton, The “KayJan Sara” is a 50 foot Yacht with all the comforts of home including a spacious salon where you and your guests can relax on the oversize L shaped leather sofa & recliners, or sit at the custom made bar with wine fridge, while enjoying the full Sony/Bose stereo entertainment system or watch four flat screen TV’s,.  Enjoy the views from large windows or sit in the large modern bridge with room for 8. Best seat in the house!  Use the Large custom made sun pad & pillows on the bow for soaking up those Florida rays! Sit in the aft cockpit to watching the world go by, sipping Champagne, Sunning or fishing the local waters. There’s a swim platform with ladder for easy in & out and all rooms are air conditioned & heated.

Learn more here.

Mound Key Archaeological State Park, FL

Mound Key Archaeological State Park features mangrove trees, shell mounds and ridges that rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island's complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery. Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida. In 1566, the Spanish governor of Florida established a settlement on the island with a fort and the first Jesuit mission in the Spanish New World. The only access to the island is by boat and there are no facilities. Interpretive displays can be found along a trail that spans the width of the island.

Learn more here.

Gulf Coast Kayak,

Gulf Coast Kayak lets you discover the beautiful and peaceful waters of Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve and explore the mangrove tunnels, back bays and estuaries on a stable, easy to paddle kayak. There is a wide variety of kayaks, from recreational single and tandem sit in and sit on top kayaks, to fishing and touring kayaks to choose from. No experience is necessary! Guided kayak tours and kayak & paddleboard rentals for first-time kayakers to advanced paddlers are available. Explore the mangroves and back bays of the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked paddling trail along the coast of Lee County Florida. While exploring you may encounter Dolphins, Manatee, Stingray, Spotted Eagle Rays, Sea Turtles, Great Blue Herons, Osprey and Bald Eagles just to name a few!

Learn more here.

Hilochee Wildlife Management Area

Hilochee Wildlife Management Area is within the Green Swamp, a critical hydrologic resource, encompassing the headwaters of several rivers and serving as a major recharge area for the Floridian aquifer.  Although much of the land has been used for citrus groves, timber harvest, ranching and sand mining, it still provides ample recreational opportunities. Here you can hunt for wild hogs, or turkey, fish for largemouth bass, catfish and sunfish, white-tailed deer are common on the dikes and in the marshes. Otters, bobcats, wild hogs and raccoons occur regularly here. Walking, bicycling, horseback riding and boating are all permitted along the ample network of roads and fire breaks.

Learn more here.

Randell Research Center, Pine Island, FL

The Randell Research Center is a permanent facility dedicated to learning and teaching the archaeology, history, and ecology of Southwest Florida. Situated in the scenic community of Pineland on the western shore of historic Pine Island just an hour and fourty-five minutes south of Bradenton, the Center encompasses more than 60 acres at the heart of the Pineland archaeological site, a massive shell mound site extending across more than 100 acres from the mangrove coastline. On the Calusa Heritage Trail, visitors can tour this internationally significant site and learn about Calusa culture and their environment seven days a week, sunup to sundown on self-guided walks.  The walk includes museum quality signage interpreting the site.

Learn more here.

Cabbage Key, FL

On Cabbage Key you’ll find one hundred acres of tropical vegetation surrounding a historic restaurant, inn and cottages. There are no cars here, not even a paved road. You will find winding nature trails, picturesque views and relaxation which are accessible only by boat, helicopter or seaplane. Regularly scheduled boats run every day from Pine Island, Captiva Island and Punta Gorda. Remote and self-reliant, things are done "the Cabbage Key way," a style reminiscent of the nearly extinct old Florida. Nightlife is usually defined by a hearty meal, some cordial conversation or gazing across the water at a sprawling canopy of stars and twinkling lights on the Intercostal Waterway. There is no general store on the Island, so bring all the things you'll need for your stay, including a flashlight.

Learn more here.

Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve, Pine Island, FL

Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve totals nearly 920 acres. It consists of nine native plant communities, including mesic pine flatwoods, freshwater marshes, tidal swamp, hydric hammock, coastal grassland, coastal berm, improved pastures, and abandoned groves. Recreation opportunities include bird watching, geocaching, nature study and photography. Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve is open to the public and has an interpretive panel, trail maps, and over 1 mile of marked hiking trails & 6 miles of unmarked primitive fire lines.  It’s open dawn - dusk year 'round with free admission. Pets are allowed on a leash. 

Learn more here.

Mound House, Naples, FL

Experience old Florida at Mound House where Estero Island's oldest standing structure sits on an ancient Calusa Indian Mound. Through archaeology and history 2,000 years of island life are revealed in a variety of tours and educational programs. Situated on Estero Bay, visitors are are welcome to picnic on the park grounds and enjoy the view. There is a kayak landing area that connects visitors to the Great Calusa Blueway Kayak Trail in Estero Bay and the Shell Mound Exhibit where visitors can walk inside a Calusa Indian mound.

Learn more here. 

Koreshan State Historic Site, Ft. Myers, FL

Throughout its history, Koreshan State Historic Site, has welcomed pioneers of all kinds. Cyrus Reed Teed was probably the most unusual, bringing followers to Estero in 1894 to build New Jerusalem for his new faith, Koreshanity. The colony, known as the Koreshan Unity, believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. Today, visitors can fish, picnic, boat, and hike where Teed´s visionaries once carried out survey experiments to prove the horizon on the beaches of Collier County curves upward. A boat ramp and canoe rentals are available. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the settlement or a ranger-guided tour. For overnight stays, the park has a full-facility campground. Campers can enjoy campfire programs every Saturday night from January through March.

Learn more here.

Cruising Yacht

Yacht Cruise. When you are in Ft. Myers, an hour and a half south of Bradenton, come aboard this 40' Yacht for a private 1.5 to 6 hour luxurious cruise specializing in sunsets, dolphin tours and island tours to Sanibel, Captiva, Cabbage Key, Ussepa Island, Lovers Key State Park, Cape Coral and Fort Myers Beach. Sit back and relax as you watch the sunsets, dolphins, manatees, stingrays and dozens of birds and a tour of the area islands from the comfort of a spacious yacht. Choose from over 15 restaurant and marina destinations all suited to make your time in the sun more enjoyable. Enjoy the sundeck in front, large lounge area in rear, lower cabin and head. Bring your coolers and cameras

Learn more here.

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, FL

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, in Naples, has one of the most pristine stretches of beach in the world. Every day, this tropical beach paradise lets visitors view the vast peaceful views of the Gulf of Mexico and experience the many shorebirds and wildlife that gather here. Visitors can sunbathe, snorkel the reef, hike, bird-watch, fish, picnic, and search for seashells. There are specific areas designated for anglers to drop their lines in the northern areas of the park for trophy catches. Boaters will also find the launch area into Turkey Bay easily accessible for most vessels, in order to experience the delicate natural estuaries of the Cocohatchee River, leading out to the Gulf of Mexico. Guided tours on the beach occur on a regular basis by experienced rangers and volunteers.

Learn more here.

Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, Fl

Naples Botanical Garden, just a two hour drive south of Bradenton, is creating a world class paradise that combines delightful cultivated tropical gardens with beautifully restored natural habitats. It is a community gathering place and an exceptional location for exploring our natural world as well as enjoying special events, traveling exhibitions and performances. Explore all there is in the Children's Garden, the butterfly House, tree house, fire tower and fountains. Then enjoy lunch before heading out to the White Birding Tower and then walking back through beautiful Preserve pathways. Explore the Lea Asian Garden, Scott Florida Garden, Kapnick Caribbean Garden, Water Garden and Brazilian Garden. See what’s blooming now!

Learn more here.

Naples Pier, Naples, FL

The Naples Pier extends way out into the Gulf of Mexico. Looking for a place to fish?  There are many spots on the pier to cast your line into the water; and you're not required to have a license. The Naples Pier is a favorite location for sightseers and fishermen with plenty of space to cast a line. The beach at the pier also features volleyball nets, and is one of the best places to catch a spectacular sunset.  Coffee, smoothies, popsicles and similar food are available from a kiosk located midway down the pier. And once the sun goes down, a moonlit stroll is incredibly romantic, whether you're with a loved one of just looking for a way to relax.  And to top it all off, access to the pier is free!

Learn more here.  

Naples Zoo, Naples, FL

The Naples Zoo is more than a walk-thru zoo, this historic tropical garden and nationally accredited zoo features a full day of wildlife experiences. Discover the wonders of South America featuring a Giant anteater, Patagonian cavies, Cotton-top tamarins, and more. Get close to the cheetahs at viewing windows. Hand-feed the herd of giraffe plus enjoy your favorite animals like lions, tigers, bears and African honey badgers. Plus discover rarely seen species including   2 of less than 20 striped hyenas in the nation.  Cruise through islands of monkeys, lemurs, and apes. Watch our professional staff hand-feed American alligators. Naples Zoo is a nonprofit organization cooperating in conservation programs both in and outside the wild for endangered species.

Learn more here.

Sweet Liberty sailing catarmaran, Naples, Fl

Sweet Liberty is a 53' sailing catamaran offering a variety of daily cruising experiences from Naples just 2 hours south of Bradenton.  On the sunset cruise the Sweet Liberty winds through the Gordon River, passing Port Royal and giving passengers a great view of some of Naples largest homes. After entering the Gulf of Mexico passengers can see fabulous sunsets, or take a three hour shelling trip to Key Island with 7 miles of remote beaches and an abundance of sea shells. Choose a Dolphin sighting cruise with a very informative narration, and enjoy watching the different age groups and family pods, sometimes even lucky enough to see them catching fish.

Learn more here

Naples Depot Museum, Naples, FL

At the Naples Depot Museum is located in Naples' restored  Railway passenger station, the Museum welcomes visitors back to the railroading boom days of the Roaring Twenties and explains how generations of Southwest Floridians used technology and transportation to conquer a vast and seemingly impenetrable frontier. Long hidden on the fringe of Florida's Gulf coast and overlooked by developers until well into the 1880s, Naples' catalyst for settlement finally arrived forty years later when two rival railroads rolled into town within ten days of each other. Seminole dugout canoes, a mule wagon, antique swamp buggy, restored rail cars and exciting interactive exhibits tell the story of how trade and travel transformed Naples from a napping village of 300 souls into today's glittering Gulf coast resort. The Naples Depot Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is conveniently located in downtown Naples.

Learn more here

Galisano Children's Museum, Naples, FL

The Golisano Children’s Museum is Southwest Florida’s first museum devoted for children and families to learn through play. With hands-on exhibit galleries, the museum invites visitors of all ages to travel through the swamps of the Everglades, weave through a maze, climb a two-story banyan tree, or experiment with the water play station. Children can become a weather forecaster, a farmer, a chef, a fisherman, an artist, an architect or a veterinarian; explore the cold of an igloo, the whoosh of the wind, the sound of the sea, the effects of water and the colors of the rainbow. Throughout the day special activities encourage visitors to get involved, try something new and be energized.

Learn more here.

Collier County Museum, Naples, FL

Collier County Museums offer a rich sampling of the people, places and events that make this area's history and heritage well worth exploring. There are five separate and unique museum facilities, each providing a different glimpse into our past, where a diverse blend of old and new, history and legend, weaves its story across a glittering landscape of sun-warmed beaches, ancient cypress forests, and the sprawling grasslands of the Florida Everglades. Discover fierce saber cats and long-vanished civilizations, stunning archaeological finds and curious inventions, turn-of-the-century trading posts, cowmen, cattle ranches, and some of Florida's most adventurous and colorful characters.

Learn more here.

Rookery Bay National Research Preserve, Naples, FL

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. It contains 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals, thrive in the estuarine environment and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found within the Reserve. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including 2,300-gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits addressing research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the Reserve, as well as a nature store, gallery and picnic area.

Learn more here.

Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa, FL

A visit to the Henry B. Plant Museum and the authentically restored rooms of the Tampa Bay Hotel will take you back to a time of indulgent ten-course meals, waltzing on the veranda and alligator hunting by moonlight.  With its splendid Moorish architecture, opulent furnishings, and spectacular tropical gardens, Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel attracted a host of celebrated guests, from Teddy Roosevelt to Sarah Bernhardt to Babe Ruth.  If you’re railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant, in the midst of the sand swamps that would be Tampa, you construct the most astonishingly magnificent hotel of its day, then fill it with treasures from around the world. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum interprets the turn-of-the-century Tampa Bay Hotel and the Victorian lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age.  

Learn more here.

Baker Museum, Naples, FL

The Baker Museum is a visual arts resource with a special emphasis on the contributions of modern and contemporary artists.  The Baker Museum, the visual arts commitment of the Artis—Naples campus, includes a three-story, 30,000 square foot museum with 15 galleries, glass dome conservatory and resource room. Special features include the Museum’s entrance gates, designed by renowned metal artist Albert Paley, and a Persian Ceiling created by popular glass artist Dale Chihuly. Providing in-depth exhibitions of world-class artwork and opportunities for educational engagement, The Baker Museum invites you to begin your cultural adventure today.

Learn more here.

Everglades Excursion Air Boat, Naples, FL

Everglades Airboat Excursion and Ecological Tour.  Everything you think you know about the Everglades—that it's hot, swampy, buggy and snaky—is true. But it’s also one of the most amazing natural areas on the planet. It’s not all swamp; there are also dry areas (hammocks) that are home to dozens of plants and animals found nowhere else.  Your day begins in Naples where you board a climate controlled van and tour Everglades City while you travel to the airboat launch point. On the way, the guides will provide important informative narration on the four eco-systems that make up the Everglades. When you arrive in Everglades City, you will take an exciting airboat ride through the Sawgrass Prairies and Mangrove Wilderness. There you will encounter alligators, manatees, native wildlife and a variety of birds, such as the Blue Heron, American Egret, Bald Eagle and Osprey.

Learn more here.

Corkscrew Swamp Sactuary, Naples, FL

Visitors to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary find a gentle, pristine wilderness that dates back more than 500 years. A 2.25 mile boardwalk wanders through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. These impressive trees, relatives of the redwood, tower 130 feet into the sky and have a girth of 25 feet. Their massive branches are draped with mosses, and ferns.  The forest is also home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles. A variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the fabulous Painted Bunting can be seen throughout the year. Picnic tables are located in the parking area if you want to bring your own picnic lunch.

Learn more here.

Conservancy Nature Center, Naples, FL

The 2l-acre Conservancy Nature Center has recently completed a $20 million renovation which offers many learning opportunities, special activities such as camps for children, and other unique programming and events and is designated as Site #69 on the "Great Florida Birding Trail". New features include the Dalton Discovery Center, von Arx Wildlife Hospital nursery viewing area, electric boat rides up the Gordon River. Kayak rentals and excursions are available for a fee. Other Conservancy Nature Center features include a live sea turtle display and touch tank. The Conservancy offers various nature tours including the Good Fortune II Pontoon Boat Cruise through Rookery Bay estuary and free nature walks at Brigg's Boardwalk, Clam Pass and Tigertail beach.

Learn more here.

Babcock Ranch Wilderness Adventures, Punta Gorda, FL

Babcock Ranch Wilderness Adventures offers visitors the perfect setting to immerse themselves in nature. You'll find yourself face to face with wildlife in an Old Florida setting. Enjoy a 90-minute Buggy Tour through the Babcock Ranch and Telegraph Cypress Swamp. Experienced guides offer in-depth descriptions of birds, animals, plants, and the cattle and horses that are raised on the ranch. Visitors will see alligators, and many other animals found in Southwest Florida. In the tour area you'll find a museum featuring Florida history, Babcock operations, and natural history artifacts. Picnic facilities are available, bring your own picnic lunch or enjoy a lunch in the Gator Shack Restaurant, which is open seasonally. 

Learn more here.

Clam Pass Park, Naples, FL

Clam Pass Park in North Naples, is a beautiful beach and is also one of the most popular beach access points. There are 35 acres of coastal habitat and preserves providing beach access from a three-quarter-mile boardwalk to the sandy beach.  The board walk is a destination itself for those adventurists who love a quiet nature walk. Butterflies flutter around the beautiful green backdrop and very often families can be seen taking in a relaxing afternoon in the area.  The boardwalk runs through a mangrove forest of salt-tolerant red, white and black mangroves. It also has a tidal bay area that acts as a breeding ground and nursery for marine life, wildlife and many species of birds including wading shorebirds, eagles, hawks and osprey. 

Learn more here.

Naples Family Fun Spot, Naples, FL

Naples Extreme Family Fun Spot is located in the Bay front Place in downtown Naples. Extreme offers Segway PT Tours, Pontoon and Deckboat Rentals, Sunset and Dolphin Cruises, Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals as well as Bike Rentals. Explore the beautiful waters of Naples to Marco Island and enjoy the many restaurants Naples has to offer. Enjoy the sunset cruise, beach and shelling cruise or Florida's wildlife with the daily dolphin tour.  Deep sea fishing charters and private boat cruises for up to six people are also available.A great place to bring your family for fun activities! 

Learn more here.

Seminole State Park Camping

At Seminole State Park experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Everglades, as well as a forest of tropical trees. The 7,271-acre park lies partly within the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida, one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. The park also contains one of the three original stands of the rare royal palm in Florida. Visitors can explore the park's wilderness in many ways, including hiking, bicycling or canoeing. Canoe rentals are available and anglers can fish for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. There is full-facility, primitive and youth camping and picnic areas have pavilions and grills.

Learn more here.

Morse Museum, Winter Park, FL

The Morse Museum, about two and a half hours northeast of Bradenton in Winter Park, houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Tiffany including the artists jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate. The New Tiffany Wing galleries feature the recently restored Daffodil Terrace and 250 art and architectural objects from the artists Long Island estate. 

Learn more here.

Terra Ceia Preserve, FL

At Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve kayaks and canoes are the choice for fishermen, sightseers and wildlife watchers. Several paddling trails have been marked within the preserve as part of the Manatee County Blueways Network. The diversity of the Terra Ceia River/Frog Creek system makes it especially enjoyable and educational as a paddling route. From saltwater species downstream to freshwater upstream, the trip gives paddlers a good idea of what many of Tampa Bay's tidal creeks were like before they were altered. Navigable waters for paddling extend  3.5 miles upstream. Adjacent public lands also provide limited recreational opportunities, such as hiking, bicycling, picnicking and fishing. 

Learn more here.

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Fl

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is the only place in the world where bald cypress trees and royal palms share the forest canopy. It is the orchid and bromeliad capital of the continent with 44 native orchids and 14 native bromeliad species. Florida panthers still pursue white-tailed deer. Florida black bears and Eastern indigo snakes, Everglades minks and diamondback terrapins can still be found here. The bird life is spectacular and attracts many visitors. Anglers fish for snook, snapper, tarpon and redfish. West Indian manatees float about in slow motion while American crocodiles slip in and out of the of the tannic water to bask in the sun. The raised railway beds of the old logging train still crisscross the Strand and create trails. The Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk provides visitors a glimpse into the past as it winds through a stand of primary cypress forest. 

Learn more here.

Cockroach Bay, FL

Cockroach Bay. The name "Cockroach Bay" may have originated with early explorers who observed numerous horseshoe crabs in the area. The preserve includes two paddling trails that wind through mangrove labyrinths. Numerous mangrove islands provide nursery areas for snook, red drum, and other gamefish. Submerged habitats include seagrass beds, hardbottom, and oyster reefs. Archaeological sites indicate the importance of this area to pre-Columbian Native Americans. Because of its pristine condition, Cockroach Bay has become established as Tampa Bay's premier estuarine outdoor classroom for generations of students of all ages.  

Learn more here.

Stump  Pass Beach State Park, FL

At Stump Pass Beach State Park in the southwest corner of Charlotte County there is a mile of beach where seashells and shark teeth wash up, and anglers fish the surf for prize catches. Visitors can enjoy an excellent view of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a stretch of undeveloped Florida coastline. Visitors come to this secluded beach to enjoy the year-round swimming and sunbathing; shelling is best during the winter months. 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 frigate birds. Ranger-led nature hikes are available in the winter.

Learn more here.

Hillsborough River State Park, FL

Hillsborough River State Park is one of Florida's first state parks; this original CCC Park is divided by the swiftly flowing Hillsborough River with a set of Class II rapids. The river provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a canoe/kayak launch is available.  There's a Ranger led tour of Historic Fort Foster Site. A Candle light evening tour of Fort Foster with a skirmish is held in December. Hikers can walk over seven miles of nature trials. When the weather is good, visitors can enjoy a swim in the park's ADA accessible swimming pool. The park offers full-facility camping and a youth/group tent campground. A primitive campsite is available via foot trail; reservations are always recommended.

Learn more here.

Ybor City Museum State Park, Tampa, FL

The Ybor City Museum State Park is an urban park and historical museum in the heart of Tampa’s National Historic Landmark District. The park consists of a main exhibit space, housed in the historic Ferlita Bakery building, as well as a lush Mediterranean-style garden and a recreated cigar worker’s house. Enjoy a guided tour through the park with one of the park rangers or take a walking tour of the Ybor City Historic District to capture the unique flavor of the area. You can experience an urban oasis and learn about the immigrants who settled, lived in and built the thriving community of Ybor City.

Learn more here. 

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, FL

At Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park visitors can enjoy fishing and paddling the inlets and bayous that wonder though the salt marsh. The Salt Spring looks small, but it is an amazing 320 feet deep. Gray fox, gopher tortoises, and Dolphins call this park and its waters home. Birdwatchers can enjoy sighting raptors, wading birds, shore birds, and migratory songbirds. There are no beaches or swimming areas. Three areas are open to the public:  Scenic Drive Trail Head contains a picnic pavilion, and a short hiking trail. The Black Rail trail head contains a kiosk and hiking trail, which is great for birding. The newest area is the Main Gate contains four hiking trails, kayak launch and picnic tables. 

Learn more here.

Paynes Creek Historic State Park, FL

Paynes Creek Historic State Park, about an hour east of Bradenton, is where, during the 1840s, tensions between the settlers and Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida´s interior away from settlements. Built in early 1849, the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians that summer. In late 1849 Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles. The Seminoles never attacked the fort, but the Army was nearly defeated by mosquitoes. Today, nature enthusiasts and hikers can enjoy walking along trails through the park´s natural areas. Paynes Creek and the adjoining Peace River provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. A museum at the visitor center depicts the lives of Florida´s Seminole Indians and pioneers during the 19th century.

Learn more here.

Three-Rooker Bar, Dunedin, FL

Three-Rooker Bar is a small, semicircular island that has emerged within the last decade. Three Rooker Bar is not your typical bar because it’s really a small Island or sand bar just off the coast of northern Pinellas. Partying here is the nautical equivalent of tailgating in a parking lot before a football game. Boaters just drop anchor and get crazy. On weekends it’s crowded and loud but the water is Caribbean blue and the sand is white and sugary soft. This party paradise is accessible only by boat or personal watercraft and has no facilities. No glass is allowed on the beach and pets must remain on a leash of 6′ or less except in water. Camping is allowed on the southern tip outside of the restricted Bird Habitat which is clearly marked.

Learn more here. 

LAKE JUNE IN WINTER SCRUB STATE PARK, Sebring, FL

The Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park In Sebring, about an hour and a half south of Bradenton, protects one of the state's most endangered natural communities-sand scrub-which is sometimes called "Florida's desert." Some of Florida's rarest plants and animals, including the Florida scrub-jay, Florida scrub lizard, Florida mouse, deer, gopher tortoise, and bobcat are found in the scrub. Ospreys and bald eagles are frequently sighted along the three miles of lakefront. This relatively new park is still in development and best suited to those seeking a remote wilderness experience and nature study. Visitors can hike along the white sand fire lanes, walk a half-mile nature trail, fish from the lakeshore, or launch a canoe or kayak onto the lake. A picnic area has tables and a shelter, but no grills.

Learn more here. 

Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park

At Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, about an hour south of Bradenton visitors can hike, fish, paddle and observe wildlife in the park's many natural communities, including mangrove forests, marshes, scrub habitats and pine flat woods. Most of the park is shallow water fringed by mangroves, providing amazing opportunities to view wading birds, manatees, dolphins and other wildlife. The park is best accessed by kayak or canoe. Hikers and bird-watchers can access Charlotte Harbor's upland areas at pedestrian walkthroughs available in each section of the park and explore the wildlife found along three marked trails. No restrooms or drinking water are available.

Learn more here.

Light house Gasparilla Island State Park

Gasparilla Island State Park is separated from the mainland by Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound and is part of a chain of Gulf Coast barrier islands. The centerpiece of Gasparilla is the restored Boca Grande Lighthouse built in 1890. Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and nature study are popular activities. Shelling is particularly good in the winter months. Two picnic areas offer pavilions for shade and scenic views of the surrounding water. The lighthouse is open to the public at certain times. Check the website for details. 

Learn more here.

Naples Princess Cruise, Naples, FL

Cruise aboard the Naples Princess, an elegant luxury yacht about three hours south of Bradenton. You'll experience the spectacular homes, and natural beauty of Naples Bay. Relax in the air-conditioned interior salons or on the sun deck. Enjoy the beverage of your choice as you cruise calm waters. Dinner, hors d'oeuvres or lunch cruises are available prepared fresh daily in the yacht’s galley. The Naples Princess sails from her dock at the Port-O-Call Marina, located near downtown Naples, directly adjacent to the shopping of Tin City.

Learn more here.

Naples, FL

Naples is restful, yes, but not necessarily boring; as tranquil as Naples may be, you can easily fill your itinerary. Just two hours south of Bradenton, Naples isn’t packed with the high-voltage, pre-packaged entertainment palaces you’ll find in Orlando, but if you want to relax and go low key, Naples will be a good fit for you. A peaceful day of gallery hopping or boning up on the local flora and fauna can be followed by a sea kayak expedition or a day spent hiking the miles and miles of unspoiled beach. Big wallets attract big-name boutiques and Naples has those in spades as well as many fine restaurants.

Learn more here.  

Marco Island, FL

Marco Island is about two and a half hours south of Bradenton and is the largest of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, located on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida. It has been described as magical, mystical and alluring. The attraction is tropical sun-washed white sand beaches and a casual easy paced lifestyle. Sunshine, frolicking dolphins, and all of the water and sun sports that go with the beaches are available for your pleasure. The restaurants have a wide variety of fresh seafood and their unusual island creations. Explore the wilderness of the Ten Thousand Islands by land, boat or air. Enjoy superb fishing and abundant wildlife. 

Learn more here.

Discovery Cove, FL

Discovery Cove is a beautiful, tropical oasis in Orlando, about an hour and a half from Bradenton. Although the park is expensive, it’s a good value since everything is included (including unlimited 14-day admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica, all your food and drinks and parking at Discovery Cove, as well as a free photo of your group when you enter. Pool shoes are recommended but the white powdery sand throughout the park feels wonderful on your feet! Snorkeling is easy once you get the hang of it, and the fish are beautiful. The water in the lazy river is warm and the tropical landscape surrounding it is lush. There are waterfalls and a cave in the lazy river, as well as birds perched in the trees since the aviary is in the area.   The tropical bird section is great fun as food for the birds was free and they will fly up and land on you to eat it. Get there early as the day will fly by.   Do not bother with taking a book to read as you will have no time!!

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Cirque du Soleil, Orlando, FL

La Nouba is a mesmerizing and extraordinary avant-garde circus spectacle performed by Cirque du Soleil in Disney Springs (the former Downtown Disney West Side area). There is an international cast of acrobats, athletes and performance artists, with more than 65 artists representing 15 countries. La Nouba translates to English as ""to party, to live it up,"" and this theme is evident in the energetic performances, the colorful costumes and the moving live music.  See the magic up close at a performance of La Nouba.

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Tarpon Springs Aquarium, Tarpon Springs, FL

At Tarpon Springs Aquarium a spectacular living reef, once the domain of divers only, may now be experienced by all.  Live coral, sponges, sharks and fish come together to form this truly unique undersea oasis.  The huge 120,000 gallon tank is home to more than 30 species of fish including nurse sharks, bonnet head sharks, snook, tarpon and protected Jewfish. Four times daily, a trained diver enters this tank and hand feeds all of its inhabitants. These 30 minute dive shows are narrated and very educational.  There are also alligators, eels, lobsters, octopus, live coral, anemones and stingrays. There is an entire room devoted to a Touch Tank, where you can safely pet and feed stingrays and small sharks.

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Astronaut Encounter, Kennedy Space Center, Fl

Guests to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can come face-to-face with a real astronaut every day of the year! Astronaut Encounter is held daily at the 300-seat Astronaut Encounter Theater. The program consists of question and answer sessions, mission briefings and personal stories of space travel as told by one of only 309 astronauts to have experienced it. Various astronauts from throughout America's space history are scheduled to appear. Since the program's inception in 2001, an impressive roster of astronauts have appeared.

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Discovery Cove Swimming with Dolphins, Orlando, FL

Swimming with Dolphins is a reservation-only adventure allows you to experience one of the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer, swimming with dolphins! This "ultimate dolphin experience" starts with a brief orientation through an informative video and trainer talk. You will learn about dolphin characteristics and how trainers use hand signals and positive reinforcement to communicate with these amazing animals. The actual dolphin experience provides a rare opportunity to spend 30 minutes in the water getting acquainted with dolphins through hugs, kisses, rubdowns and the occasional dorsal tow or belly ride.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fl

Movie magic comes to life at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, awash in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Step into the action with attractions based on blockbuster movies and top TV shows, and enjoy exciting entertainment that puts you center stage. With the vibrancy of a bustling movie set, this park features 8 sections: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Sunset Boulevard, Streets of America, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Mickey Avenue and Animation Courtyard areas. Stepping into the park is like experiencing Tinseltown in the 1930s. Hollywood Boulevard is a crazy quilt of flashy neon and chromed art deco where guests are surrounded by the sights and sounds of show business and personalities can be found prowling the streets.

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Screamin' Gator Zip Line, Orlando, FL

Find zip line thrills at Screamin' Gator Zip Line in Orlando. Clip in and zip off on an exciting outdoor adventure. Your trip will take you along 1,200 feet of high flying adventure from some of the best zip line towers in the world. Standing over seven stories tall, these huge towers feature multilevel launch pads and exciting views from high above the treetops. Soar through the air over some of the park's attractions--including Cuban and Nile crocodiles--before heading over the Alligator Breeding Marsh, complete with one hundred and thirty giant alligators watching from below! 

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Geocaching Kit

Geocaching is an adventure that doesn't cost much Those of you that already have a hand-held GPS unit will find that geocaching provides an exciting free adventure that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Geocache (pronounced geo-cash) is treasure hunting gone high-tech. Treasure seekers use a hand-held GPS device to find hidden outdoor containers that include small trinkets, called geocaches, and then record and share their experiences online. You may be surprised at how many geocaches are hidden close to your home — and certainly familiar surroundings may be the best place for newbies to the sport to start — but, with over a half-million geocaches hidden worldwide, it is easy to make this a regular vacation activity no matter where you are.

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Back Stage at Animal Park, Orlando, FL

Animal park back-stage tours. Now you can be fascinated by some impressive back-stage tours that give you an up-close-and-personal glimpse of some of your most favorite places. These are real hands-on experiences that have you doing the real behind-the-scenes stuff like preparing food for animals, feeding them, cleaning up after them and helping with the training, It's fun, but the price of this fun doesn't come cheap. Most of these tours are fairly expensive.

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Voluntourism

“Voluntourism” combines volunteering and travel. There are opportunities that offer travel that are available in Florida, most of them outdoors. As an example, the Sierra Club offers week-long volunteer excursions each year with volunteers working to restore native habitats in wilderness areas and removing non-native plants. The location is usually in a national forest or wildlife refuge, but occasionally locales along Florida’s coastal beaches are offered. While some trips may cost a few hundred dollars, others are much more. What do you get in return? You get to sight see, and satisfaction that you are making a difference. Florida’s State Parks also use volunteers; and, if you have camping equipment your lodging is often free. Most volunteer positions are part-time leaving plenty of free time to enjoy the park.

Learn more here.

Black Point Wildlife Drive, FL

Black Point Wildlife Drive is a premier wildlife observation area built on an existing system of dyke roads, originally created as mosquito control impoundments. The drive is a maintained 7 mile one-way road designed to provide visitors with at safe and enjoyable wildlife viewing experience. A brochure guide detailing each stop is available at the front gate and the Visitor Center. The refuge also offers Nature Driving Tours that encompasses Black Point Wildlife Drive and other refuge locations. Narrated by a knowledgeable guide in the refuge shuttle bus, the tour is a great way to learn about refuge wildlife, plants and resource management. Black Point Wildlife Drive also offers two hiking trails, Cruickshank Trail and the Wild Bird Trail.

Learn more here.

Florida Map highlighting Lee County Lee County in Southwest Florida includes the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero Island/Fort Beach, Bonita Springs, and more than 100 coastal islands off the mainland. Some 50 miles of beaches, award-winning state parks and wildlife preserves. It is the barrier islands that dot the coastline that are the most popular among boaters and beachcombers alike. From the key lime plantation turned tropical South Seas Resort on Captiva Island to the Calusa Indian's shell mounds on Mound Key, the islands offer a world of discovery.

Learn more here.
Florida Nature Coast Map

Florida's Nature Coast can be called Nature's Theme Park. It’s where you'll discover the "real" Florida. You won't find animated or mechanical critters here. Nope, Florida's Nature Coast boasts the real thing. From alligators to black bears, flamingos to pelicans, manatees to sea turtles. And, if you're into thrill rides, you've come to the right place. Aquatic adventures will immerse you in everything from deep cave diving and deep sea fishing to sightseeing excursions and swimming with manatees.

Learn more here.

Florida's Space Coast Map

Florida's Space Coast is only a few miles east of Orlando and offers out-of-this-world vacation options. Drive your car on the world's most famous beach and surf the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, satisfy your need for speed at a world-class racing facility, cruise the seas from one of the world's busiest ports before heading to Disney World, or encounter real astronauts and tour the center of the nation's space program. Of course, that isn't all, nature enthusiasts can enjoy eco-tour getaways that may include birding, photography, kayaking and canoeing, star gazing, and wildlife festivals.

Learn more here.

Florida Tamiami Trail Map

Florida's historic Tamiami Trail stretches some 275 miles from Tampa, through Bradenton and Sarasota to Miami. The Tamiami Trail is a mix of old and new, city and country, developed and undeveloped. It’s a unique blend of Florida's historic treasures and kitschy attractions. The route is a jumble of traffic lights and open highway where you may see flora and fauna native to Florida, including scrub palmetto and alligators. The drive will appeal to nature lovers that want to see more of the "real" Florida, not to those that want to get to their destination fast. And, because of the number of Florida State Parks situated along the route, it's perfect for trees-and-trails campers seeking adventure.

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Tampa Bay, Fl. map

Tampa Bay encompasses four cities, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton. Tampa Bay is actually a body of water, the largest open-water estuary in Florida, covering nearly 400 square miles around these cities. Besides its unlimited outdoor recreational opportunities, including some of the nation's best beaches, Tampa Bay is unique in its diversity of available activities. Home to the African-themed Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, it also boasts major sports, museums, shopping and entertainment venues and water parks. If you're planning a vacation in the Tampa Bay area, learning a little bit about the area and what to expect will help you get the most from your time and vacation dollars.

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Free Museum Days

Free! Florida's museums are interesting places and many offer free admission to the public on certain days... some every day. It is suggested that you check the museum Web site for the latest free day information and specific hours of operation. If you are looking for something free to do on Monday’s, then head over to Sarasota and visit the Ringling Museum. Although it is not advertised on their website, the Ringling Museum has free admission on Monday’s.  

Learn more here.

Heritage Village, Largo, FL

Heritage Village is a 21-acre living history museum featuring 28 beautifully restored historic structures set in native pine and palmetto landscape at Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo about 45 minutes north of Bradenton.  As you stroll the mulched or red brick paths, you learn about Florida's past through the lives of Pinellas Park's early residents. Among the 28 structures, you'll see the oldest existing structure, the oldest continuously lived-in home in Pinellas County, a one-room schoolhouse, a bandstand and an early neighborhood store complete with service garage and barbershop.  Some structures are open to the public and some feature guided tours.

Learn more here.

Flamingo Gardens, FL

At Flamingo Gardens, visitors would expect to see flamingos; those spindle-legged birds with the long necks and orange-pink feathers and visitors will not be disappointed. There are also plenty of other native wildlife to be seen, wildlife encounter shows to experience, and lush tropical gardens to enjoy. Flamingo Gardens is special because it keeps a bit of early twentieth-century history alive in South Florida where preservation has so often taken a backseat to development. It provides a home for endangered plant and bird species and care for permanently injured native South Florida birds and animals.

Learn more here.

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, FL

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is on the banks of the legendary Suwannee River. This center honors   Stephen Foster, who wrote "Old Folks at Home," the song that made the river famous. The museum features exhibits about Foster's most famous songs and his music can be heard from the park's 97-bell carillon throughout the day. In Craft Square, visitors can watch demonstrations of quilting, blacksmithing, stained glass making, and other crafts. Hiking, bicycling, canoeing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities. The Florida National Scenic Trail follows the river through the park, so there are miles of trails to explore either by bicycling, hiking or horseback riding. RV and tent camping are also available.

Learn more here.

Downtown Disney, Orlando, FL

In Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) you don't have to spend a dime to keep your small fry entertained. At the Lego store in Disney Marketplace kids can slide down a jungle gym, get their photos taken with dinosaurs or space aliens made from the colorful Lego blocks... or build their own! The shopping and entertainment zone offers plenty of sitting space to watch the young ones play. The complex is situated on Disney's own Bay Lake and the village of shops and eateries are the perfect spot to enjoy evening waterfront breezes and twinkling lights from across the Bay. Disney Springs features Cirque du Soleil, Disney Quest an AMC Theatre and House of Blues, that combines dining with nightly entertainment.

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Lakeridge Winery

Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards is located in Clermont, Florida about two hours northeast of Bradenton. There among the citrus groves, a vineyard was established. Today, after years of phenomenal growth, Lakeridge ranks as Florida's largest premium winery, and remains a pioneer in the development of table and sparkling wines from hybrid grapes. Lakeridge also has become a destination for both locals and tourists alike. Daily tours and wine tastings lure them in and the friendly atmosphere and good wine keeps them coming back. Over the years, the winery has initiated special gatherings that have become annual events - Arts and Crafts Festivals, Jazz Concerts, Harvest Festivals and Grape Stomping.

Learn more here.

Lion Country Safari

At Lion Country Drive Through Safari you can take your time and enjoy the antics of lions, white rhinos, zebras, ostriches, chimps, African elephants, giraffe and so many more fascinating creatures from the comfort of your car. A morning visit during feeding time – around 10:30 a.m. – may bring you to within inches of the wild thing of your choice. Your adventure doesn't stop there. After your leisurely drive, park your car and visit Safari World. The tree-shaded walk-through entertainment area will bring out the kid in you as you take in the Animal Theatre presentations, petting zoo, nature walk, aviaries, pontoon boat tour, paddle boats, animal-themed carousel, amusement rides, miniature golf, picnic area and more animals! 

Learn more here.

St. Petersburg Museum of History, St. Petersburg, FL

The St. Petersburg Museum of History is located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg and near the waterfront, just a half hour north of Bradenton.  The museum holds photos and artifacts of historically significant events that marked Pinellas County's early history. Life-sized replicas of streetcars and the World's first airliner are special treats. 

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Florida Black Heritage Trail

In 1990, the Florida legislature created the Study Commission on African-American History in Florida to increase public awareness of African Americans contributions to the state. Released in May 2007, the third edition of the Florida Black Heritage Trail was produced by VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Department of State and the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network. It features 64 colorful pages highlighting historic African-American sites from Pensacola to Key West and like the previous editions includes profiles and biographical sketches of many distinguished and accomplished African-American Floridians. Read the Florida Black History trail on-line. 

Learn more here.

 

Estero Bay Preserve State Park, Ft. Myers, FL

Estero Bay Preserve State Park, about an hour and 45 minutes south of Bradenton, is the first aquatic preserve established in Florida. It is one of the most productive estuaries in the state. The bay is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the bald eagle. The preserve protects the water, inlets, and islands along 10 miles of Estero Bay. Visitors can canoe or kayak in the bay or on the Estero River. Miles of trails offer visitors the opportunity to hike, bicycle, or study the variety of wildlife and native vegetation protected here. There are gopher tortoises, fiddler crabs, slash pines, and live oaks.

Learn more here.

Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL

Located at the University of Florida in Gainesville about two and a half hours north of Bradenton, the Florida Museum of Natural History is dedicated to preserving Florida's natural history with over 25 million specimens. See the largest shark that ever lived, explore fossil plant garden outside, natural area walking trails, wildflower & butterfly garden, dugout canoes and much more.  Admission is free to the public.

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Canaveral National Seashore, FL

Since ancient times Canaveral National Seashore barrier island has provided sanctuary to both people and wildlife. If you are planning a trip to Cape Canaveral this would be a nice side trip, it’s about a three hour drive from Bradenton. Many threatened animals find refuge here, including sea turtles that nest on its shores. Like Indians and early settlers, you too can find tranquility. Swim in the ocean, fish in the lagoon and stroll down a wooded trail. Or reflect on the longest expanse of pristine shore in Florida - the way it used to be. As part of a barrier island this 24 miles of undeveloped beach and wetland environment is home to hundreds of plant and bird species.

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Scenic Glider Rides, FL

Scenic Glider Rides. Experience the unique combination of an adrenaline pumping thrill and the peaceful serenity of soaring through the sky. Jump in the front seat as one of our glider pilots takes you for a ride that you'll never forget. Our friendly glider port is located just 20 minutes away from Orlando. You’ll get the chance to fly the glider, the pilot will perform aerobatic maneuvers if you wish.  It’s a peaceful yet thrilling adventure! Bring your camera and your sense of adventure!

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Warbird Adventures, FL

Maybe you've always dreamed of flying an airplane. At Warbird Adventures and you'll find yourself at the controls, sitting in the front seat and actually flying a vintage aircraft.   You will perform all the maneuvers yourself under an instructor's careful guidance. Each flying experience is tailored to the customer, whether that is a smooth sightseeing flight or a thrilling aerobatic adventure. You will be flying in the premier fighter-trainer of World War II, the North American T-6 TEXAN, also known as the SNJ or Harvard. History was made in these aircraft as over 70% of the Allied pilots trained in them, giving them the legendary "Pilot Maker" moniker.

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Calypso Queen Cruises, Clearwater, FL

On a Calypso Queen Cruise enjoy sunsets, tropical fun & casual dining. Experience the beauty of the smooth waters of Clearwater harbor and the intra-coastal waterway. Enjoy a daytime cruise featuring sightseeing narration including points of interest along the route. Dolphins are a common sight! A tropical island style lunch buffet is available. The dinner cruise offers breathtaking sunsets while cruising the calm & tranquil waters of Florida. Enjoy dancing, tropical drinks and more.

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StarLite Majesty Dining Yacht, Clearwater, Fl

The StarLite Majesty Dining Yacht is a sleek and modern 115-foot ship offering day and evening fine dining cruises six days a week. Large picture windows offer all diners panoramic views of the coast as the ship cruises the smooth, scenic inland waters of Florida’s gulf coast. The vessel’s contemporary atmosphere and sumptuous choice of entrées, prepared fresh to order, combined with the stunning views and live entertainment offer passengers an unforgettable dining experience.  The StarLite Majesty departs from the Clearwater Beach Marina.

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Naples Princess Cruises, Naples, FL

Cruise aboard the Naples Princess, an elegant luxury yacht about three hours south of Bradenton. You'll see spectacular homes, and the natural beauty of Naples Bay. Relax in air-conditioned interior salons or lounge in the warmth of the sun in outdoor seating. Order the beverage of your choice from two full-service bars and unwind as you cruise the calm waters of Naples Bay. Dinner, hors d'oeuvres or lunch cruises are available prepared fresh daily, in the yacht’s galley. The Naples Princess sails from her dock near downtown Naples, directly adjacent to the shopping of Tin City.

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Sweet Liberty Sailing Cruise, Naples, FLSweet Liberty is a 53' sailing catamaran offering narrated tours through Naples Bay and beautiful Gulf waters. Take your camera and catch the perfect picture of dolphins frolicking, one of many local water birds or of the setting sun. Relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings with plenty of room to walk around There is inside and outside seating and restrooms on board. The Sweet Liberty winds through the Gordon River, passing Port Royal and giving passengers a great view of some of Naples largest homes. The trip to The Gulf of Mexico takes about 40 minutes and also encounters mangroves and a variety of wildlife.

Learn more here.

Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, Orlando, FL

Twenty-five years in the making, the $500 million Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, which opened in November 2014 in Orlando, includes two completed theaters, with a third to begin construction soon. The Walt Disney Theater will host everything from Broadway shows to rock legends. The amenities include a five story staircase and elevators that lead to multiple levels, community rooms, donor and patron lounges, open air patios and a permanent, full service bar. The Center is expected to be the new cultural focus for Orlando, already being dubbed “the front porch of the city.” A second stage will host classical music performances.

Learn more here.

St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District, St. Petersburg, FL

The St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District provides forums for the exhibition of the visual and performing arts while creating an environment that will encourage artists to work, reside, educate and interact with the public within the District.  Founded in 2012, The District is comprised of members who are artists, galleries, art suppliers and supporters.  The District will participate in St. Petersburg’s largest New Year’s Eve Celebration on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 during First Night St. Pete 2015’s 22nd Annual New Year's Eve celebration!  For the second year in a row, the Warehouse Arts District will be taking over William’s Park in downtown St. Pete creating an artistic interactive extravaganza for all ages exemplifying “Where Art is Made”.  First Night St. Petersburg has family-oriented festivities with music stages, entertainment, drama, dance, games, art, fireworks and more!

Learn more here.

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, Winter Park, FL

The Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park, about 2 hours northeast of Bradenton is the retirement home of internationally acclaimed sculptor Albin Polasek. It has become one of the region’s preeminent cultural spots:. About 200 of the 400 works attributed to the Czech-born artist are on the museum property, including his signature, award-winning sculpture, Man Carving His Own Destiny. Polasek retired to Winter Park in 1950 and opened his three-acre estate to the public in 1961. Following his death in 1965, his studio, home and galleries were opened to the public and the museum was created. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Learn more here.

Heritage Village, Largo, FL

Heritage Village, in Largo about 45 minutes north of Bradenton is a 21-acre living history museum featuring 28 restored historic structures. As you stroll the mulched or red brick paths, you learn about Florida's past through the lives of Pinellas Park's early residents. Among the 28 structures, you'll see the oldest existing structure in Pinellas County, the oldest continuously lived-in home in Pinellas County, a one-room schoolhouse, a bandstand and an early neighborhood store complete with service garage and barbershop. Some structures are open to the public and some feature guided tours.

Learn more here.

Orlando Science Center, Orlando, FL

The Orlando Science Center provides science for everyone by creating opportunities for experiential science learning with interesting hands-on exhibits. For over fifty years, the Orlando Science Center has been a place that inspires curiosity and exploration. With four floors of exciting exhibits, amazing giant screen movies and engaging live programming, the center encourages learning in a fun way, the perfect educational activity, fun and knowledge all under one roof.

Learn more here.

Old McMicky’s Farm

Old McMicky’s Farm is part of the famous Camp Keystone – Florida’s oldest continuously inhabited camp. Creating a big family of camp alumni, Camp Keystone and Old McMicky’s Farm encompass the fun activities in nature, horseback riding and singing around campfires – and American farm life. See and interacting with goats, pigs and sheep. Old McMicky’s Farm is Florida’s most unique, educational, and hands-on animal farm and Beautiful Party Location. 

Learn more here.

Tampabay Grand Prix, Tampa, FL

Tampa Bay Grand Prix is a unique indoor go karting facility in Tampa and Clearwater/St Petersburg. Race with electric Italian pro-karts that reach speeds of up to 50 mph! Tracks are designed for speed and challenge. The Tampa location has two tracks with two completely different layouts. As you are racing, you can see your lap times on a screen on the track. As every race ends, you’ll see your own personal race results. Tracks are available for kids and adults alike. Kids can race in karts designed just for them, reaching speeds of up to 25 mph!

Learn more here.

Tampa Bay Electric's Manatee Viewing Center

Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. When Tampa Bay reaches 68 degrees or colder, Manatees start arriving in large numbers in the power station's discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowes, clean and warm, back to the bay. Today, the discharge canal is a sanctuary that provides protection from the cold for these gentle animals. Inside the MVC's environmental education building, feel the blast of a hurricane in the center's simulator. See colorful displays that show the world of the manatee and its habitat. Outside, stroll among award-winning butterfly gardens, see large solar panels and climb the wildlife observation tower.

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The Celery Fields, Sarasota, FL

The Celery Fields is an ideal location for wildlife watching. There are open marshlands, deep ponds, shallow pools, and canals. To date, 216 bird species have been recorded. Wintertime offers particularly good birding, hosting sparrows, Marsh and Sedge Wrens, and several species of rails. The Fields also host breeding birds, including Black-necked Stilts, King Rail, Least Bittern, Limpkin, Purple Gallinule, Eastern Towhee, Barn Owl and Eastern Meadowlark. Least Terns breed on nearby buildings and use the ponds as a primary food source. Rarities show up from time to time, including Upland and White-rumped Sandpipers, Short-eared Owl and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow. 

Learn more here.

Hollis Gardens, Lakeland, FL

Hollis Garden is a formal garden, home to more than 10,000 flowers and ornamental shrubs, shade trees and a Grand Staircase. It's home to a kid-friendly play area with picnic pavilions. This free public garden is the perfect place to wander and enjoy the day. Explore the many wandering paths, leading to beautifully symmetric fountains and thriving plant life. Guests are encouraged to explore on their own, but guided tours can be scheduled for a small fee for a particularly large group interested in the Garden.

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The Bird Gardens of Naples, FL

The Bird Gardens of Naples is a nonprofit organization whose sole concern is parrot welfare in captivity and conservation of wild parrots. The program places into safe custody, parrots which are abandoned, abused, or in need of a home for any reason. The sanctuary is located in Corkscrew Swamp with a variety of flora, fauna, bees and butterflies. Tours last approximately two hours with several miles of walking trails. You will have the opportunity to see, learn, and interact with 300+ birds from origins around the world. If weather allows, groups can enter our large macaw aviary with opportunities to take photos and hold birds.

Learn more here.

The Revs Institute, Naples, FL

The Revs Institute in Naples, FL preserves automobiles in their original, untouched and patinaed state. With few exceptions, the more than 100 automobiles in the collection are fully operational and displayed free of protective barriers allowing visitors the most intimate access. A guided tour led by a docent is the best way to explore The Institute’s sprawling exhibit space. The automobiles on display were built between 1896 and 1995, are some of the rarest and most important cars ever built at anytime, anywhere. They are the ones that variously blazed technical pathways, redefined aesthetic standards, made history, and changed the world.

Learn more here.

Artis Naples, Naples, FL

Artis Naples is an outstanding center for the performing and visual arts in Naples, Florida about two hours south of Bradenton. In the process of serving the community Artis Naples hosts more than 300 concerts, performances, exhibitions and educational events for children and adults each year. Situated on a cultural campus that includes two performance halls, the Frances Pew Hayes Hall and Myra J. Daniels Pavilion, as well as The Baker Museum, Artis—Naples offers a broad array of artistic and educational opportunities to audiences of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Learn more here.

Collier County Museums, Naples, FL

At the Collier County Museums in Naples, Everglades City, Naples Depot, Immokalee and Marco Island, travel back over a million years of SW Florida history. The Museums offer a rich sampling of the people, places and events that make this area's history and heritage well worth exploring. There are five separate museum facilities, each providing a different glimpse into the past, where a diverse blend of old and new, history and legend, threads its story across a landscape of beaches, ancient cypress forests, and the grasslands of the Florida Everglades. Discover saber cats and long-vanished civilizations, curious inventions, turn-of-the-century trading posts, cattle ranches, and some of Florida's most adventurous and colorful characters.

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Collier-Seminole State Park, FL

At Collier-Seminole State Park see the natural beauty and wildlife of the Everglades. The 7,271-acre park lies partly within the largest mangrove swamp in the world. The park is the site of the last existing Bay City Walking Dredge. Built in 1924, it was used to build the Tamiami Trail Highway through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp, linking Tampa and Miami and opening southwest Florida to travelers. See the park's wilderness in many ways, including hiking, bicycling or canoeing. Canoe rentals are available, fish for both saltwater and freshwater fish. There’s full-facility, primitive and youth camping and picnic areas have pavilions and grills for use on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Learn more here.

Naples Preserve, Naples, FL

The Naples Preserve is located on 9 1/2 acres at the corner of U.S. 41 and Fleischmann Boulevard. Explore the 0.4 self-guided nature walk as it curves through the shaded woods. Then, sit, rest, and take in the surroundings while sitting on one of the many benches.  The Preserve offers you one of your best opportunities in Southwest Florida to see gopher tortoises in their natural habitat, along with native wildflowers, trees, birds, butterflies, rabbits, and more. The peak months for viewing wildflowers and butterflies are between August and September.

Learn more here.

Florida Panther Refuge

At the Florida Panther Refuge, located 20 miles east of Naples, two hiking trails are open to the public. Open during daylight hours only, the trails provide the visitor with a chance to experience the various habitats found on the refuge. The trail is well marked, but during the wet season, overgrown vegetation on the trail may encroach on the trail. Regardless of the trail's condition, the visitor will enjoy a leisurely walk through hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, and wet prairies. Late winter and early spring will bring out many wildflowers. Deer, bear, and occasional panther tracks can be found along the longer trail. Don't forget to look up to catch a glimpse of a Red-shoulder Hawk, Swallow-tailed Kite or Osprey. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to observe wildlife.

Learn more here.

Tin City, Naples, FL

Tin City. In 1887, a group of wealthy Kentuckians built a pier 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Soon after, Naples, FL became a winter playground for industrialists and celebrities including Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper and Hedy Lamarr. In the 1920s Tin City’s tin roofed buildings were the hub of economic development and in the 1970s, seven of Tin City’s sturdy old buildings were transformed to become “The Old Marine Marketplace at Tin City”, a colorful maritime-mix of shops and eateries. Today, Tin City still holds its historic, old Florida charm, and is home to over thirty unique boutiques, two waterfront restaurants and a variety of water and boating adventures that are fun for all ages!

Learn more here.

Everglades Excursions, Naples, FL

The eastern edge of Naples butts up against the Everglades. Everything you think you know about the Everglades—that it's hot, swampy, buggy and snaky—is true. But it’s also one of the most amazing natural areas on the planet. Everglades Excursions takes you on a tour of Big Cypress National  Preserve on a high-speed airboat ride or try one of the slower and more intimate jungle cruises through Everglades National Park. This is a good way to find out why Florida conservationists are so passionate about preserving it from the encroachment of subdivisions and foreign invaders like melaleuca and giant anacondas.

Learn more here.

The Railroad Museum of South Florida, Ft. Myers, FL

The Railroad Museum of South Florida operates the Lakes Park and Gulf Railroad and Railroad Museum in south Ft Myers Florida. The property was originally an old rock quarry which has been  transformed into a waterfront wonderland. This 1/8th scale railroad travels through the North end of Lakes Park into areas only accessible by rail. Pass villages, towns, scenes, lakes, woods, and go over bridges and through tunnels along a 1 1/2 mile track. At the North end of the park, you'll find a 3200 sq. ft. museum that houses many artifacts, pictures, model railroads, books, and items from past Florida railroads.

Learn more here.

Gulf Coast Model Railroad

Gulf Coast Model Railroad is a 40'-by-40' model train display in the shape of the state of Florida, which was originally built at Shell Point by a small group of residents who enjoyed model railroads as a hobby and wanted to share their interest with others. If you love train displays this is the place to go. General layout upgrades have been completed on the train room exhibit, making it bigger and better than ever. These improvements include the addition of new trains as well as extensive build-out of the Panama City downtown area. The Gulf Coast Railroad is open to visitors Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1:30 to 3:30 PM. 

Learn more here.

Ann Dever Memorial Regional Park, Englewood, FL

Ann Dever Memorial Regional Park in Englewood, just an hour south of Bradenton, is a sanctuary of old growth pines, scrub habitat and mature pine flatwoods with mangrove fringe along Oyster Creek.  An observation platform and the boardwalk crossing Oyster Creek is a good place to view the variety of birds that utilize Oyster Creek and the surrounding mangroves.  There are many available activities including, a basketball court, canoe and kayak launch site, birding, diving well, fishing, nature trails, picnic tables and shelters, BBQ grills, tennis courts, skate park, football field swimming pool and beach and dog park.

Learn more here.

Kissimmee Preserve State Park

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park protects one of the largest remaining stretches of Florida dry prairie, home to an array of endangered plants and animals near Okeechobee. While driving the five-mile-long road into the preserve, visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of grasslands reminiscent of the Great Plains of the Midwest. The preserve offers excellent seasonal birding opportunities and is home to the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, as well as the Crested Caracara and Burrowing Owl. More than 100 miles of dirt roads allow hikers, bicyclists and equestrians to explore prairies, wetlands and shady hammocks. November through March, ranger-led prairie buggy tours allow visitors to see remote areas of the preserve. Kissimmee Prairie’s remoteness makes it one of Florida’s premier locations for stargazing. For overnight stays, the preserve has two full facility campground loops: family and an equestrian campground with paddocks.

Learn more here.

Barefoot Beach Preserve Park, Bonita Beach, FL

Barefoot Beach Preserve Park in Bonita Beach has a one-mile nature trail, showers, picnic area and a concession are where equipment may be rented and food and drink is available for purchase. The preserve also offers handicapped beach wheelchair access. The 342 acres of natural land, one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida's southwest coast is popular for its gorgeous, plush surroundings and its opportunities for avid fisherman who can catch many species of fish. Parks Rangers offer programs including lectures and interpretive commentary. Subjects include a guided walk through the preserve, where visitors learn about the many habitats in the preserve as well as flora and fauna.

Learn more here.

Highlands Hammock State Park, FL

Highlands Hammock State Park is one of Florida´s oldest parks located near Sebring about an hour and a half east of Bradenton.  During the Great Depression, just prior to World War II, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed additional park facilities and the beginnings of a botanical garden. Many visitors enjoy biking the scenic 3-mile loop drive or hiking along the park´s nine trails. An elevated boardwalk traverses an old-growth cypress swamp. Picnicking is another popular activity as are ranger-guided tours of the park. Highlands Hammock offers a full-facility campground, as well as a youth/group tent campground.  A recreation hall is available for rental, as are several picnic pavilions. 

Learn more here.

Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. The migration of birds creates a perfect time to get in on the birding (formerly called bird-watching) trend! Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies, and lucky for us, Florida has a ton of birding spots.   No matter where you live in Florida, the Great Florida Birding and Wildfire Trail has got you covered. It’s a self-guided 2,000-mile highway trail that connects 515 birding and wildlife viewing sites throughout the state.  The trail is broken up into four sections. Panhandle Section, West Section, South and East.

Learn more here.  

Circus Sarasota, Sarasota, FL

Known as the “Circus Capital of the World,” Sarasota, Florida claims its own resident hometown circus. The Circus Sarasota Winter show is so exciting, the Big Top is being moved to a new location for this season – Nathan Benderson Park (across from University Town Center). The Big Top is complete with new and more comfortable seating, as Circus Sarasota presents a world-class professional performance packed with circus arts entertainment like no other. The Winter Show features King of the Highwire, Nik Wallenda and many other incredibly awe-inspiring acts. 

Learn more here.

iFly, Orlando, FL

iFLY is an indoor skydiving experience that creates true free fall conditions, just like skydiving, without having to jump out of an airplane. iFLY’s vertical wind tunnel generates a wall-to-wall cushion of air, on which you safely float. There’s no parachute, no jumping, and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you and the air, and it’s the most incredible adrenaline rush. No experience is necessary. Just about anyone can fly, including those with physical disabilities. Children as young as three, to adults as young as 103 have flown with us.  iFLY’s first-time flyer experience will have you grinning from ear to ear the moment you step into the flight chamber and lift off. It’s an incredibly safe, realistic and unique experience, fully supervised by certified instructors.

Learn more here.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa, FL

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is the crown jewel of the city's urban parks and is the centerpiece of the Tampa Riverwalk. The park integrates the Riverwalk with the Glazer Children's Museum, the Tampa Museum of Art and downtown. Overlooking the Hillsborough River, the park, with its sloping great lawn, features two splash-zones, a high-tech children's playground, public boat docks, a dog park, seating terraces and food and drink vendors.

Learn more here.  

WonderWorks, Orlando, FL

WonderWorks, located in Orlando, is an amusement park for the mind with over 100 interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Experience the trembling of a 5.3 earthquake, be blown away by 74mph hurricane force winds, land the shuttle, fly a fighter jet, lie on a bed of nails, design and ride your own roller coaster, play virtual sports, plus much more! Special features of the attraction include a 4D extreme motion ride, 3 story indoor ropes challenge course, lazer-tag and a nightly magic comedy dinner show. WonderWorks is an amusement park for the mind with 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment”. The attraction combines education and entertainment with more than 100 hands on exhibits that challenge the mind and spark the imagination. 

Learn more here.

Flyboarding

Flyboarding is a new and exiting extreme sport. The Flyboard attaches to a Jet Ski which provides propulsion through the air and water. The propulsion is re-routed from the back of the Jet Ski through an hose to the Flyboard. Wakeboard bindings are mounted on the deck of the Flyboard which are worn like shoes. The instructor carefully controls the throttle on the Jet Ski to provide a comfortable amount of propulsion to levitate beginners to a sensation of walking on water, flying like Iron Man, and diving like a dolphin. Most beginners learn how to steer and maneuver the Flyboard in the first 2 – 5 minutes and are in full control of their altitude through hand signals to the instructor throughout their flight session.

Learn more here.

Orlando Watersports Complex, Orlando, FL

The Orlando Watersports Complex is a unique watersports park designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating, wakesurfing, kneeboarding and waterskiing. It’s a great place to learn how to wakeboard because it is set up with two full size cable systems, a two-tower system and a boat lake. The two-tower system is great for teaching new riders the basics while our beginner full size cable provides them the tools to create a solid wakeboarding foundation. For the advanced riders, there is the advanced cable, which offers experienced riders many different advanced features.

Learn more here.

Blue Springs State Park, FL

Join the group at Blue Springs State Park and paddle to the entrance to the spring run, park the kayaks, then walk the entire length of the spring run for a guided walk with plenty of time for photographs. Afterwards paddle towards the snake river and Hontoon Island. This area of river is packed with manatee, otter, and sun worshipping gators. Overhead bald eagle, osprey, and red shoulder hawks scan the water and marshes for their next meal. On the river bank people will spot large wading birds, coots, morehens, and the occasional wild hog. The park is also famous for its large owl population and extensive Indian artifacts including the state’s largest totem pole. 

Learn more here.

Lake Eola, Orlando, FL

Lake Eola Park is located the heart of Downtown Orlando. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting swan-shaped paddle boats, feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at Relax Grill on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. Enjoy the huge fountain in the middle of the lake. At night the fountain comes alive with a choreographed show set to music. The colors of the water and the musical themes change with the season. Shows run nightly at approximately 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. lasting about 6 minutes.

Learn more here.

Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL

Explore Leu Gardens, an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The Leu House Museum located in the heart of the gardens reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once called this home. The gardens and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961.

Learn more here.

Exotic Animal Experince, Orlando, FL

Exotic Animal Experience is one of the most unique, hands on, interactive animal encounters in Florida! The animals have been brought up from infancy as pets, have lived in the house in diapers and been socialized for months and years. These are animals you will normally only see behind bars and fences in zoos, but not here! They not only love the interaction, but look forward to it! The animals are native to a number of different countries, but since they have been brought up as siblings, this makes no difference to them. They would never come into contact with each other in the wild, but here, they are family, and enjoy each other’s company, but also enjoy your company. Here’s an experience you will not soon forget!

Learn more here.

Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa, FL

The Tampa Riverwalk connects Tampa's dynamic cultural venues and family oriented parks creating connectivity in the nearly two mile long stroll.  Locals and visitors alike gather in parks and state-of-the-art facilities to enjoy special events and ongoing exhibitions as they meander along the historic Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel. Walk, stop-in or just view interesting sites such as The Florida Aquarium, American Victory Ship, Channelside Bay Plaza, Yacht StarShip, Tampa Bay History Center, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children's Museum, Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Learn more here.  

Sarasota Polo Club, Sarasota, FL

Since 1991, the Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch has been providing polo matches. Every Sunday afternoon during season, the public is invited to bring out their picnic baskets and enjoy the thrill of the “fastest game on four feet”. With pony and Clydesdale wagon rides, exciting action, tailgating, half-time entertainment, divot stomping and plenty of fresh air, Sunday polo is the perfect place for a family outing; dogs are even welcome on a leash. With 130 acres of perfectly manicured grounds, the Sarasota Polo Club boasts nine world-class polo fields and a regulation size arena.

Learn more here.

Kissimmee Lakefront Park, Kissimmee, FL

Kissimmee Lakefront Park in downtown Kissimmee along the shores of scenic Lake Tohopekaliga offers a three-mile paved trail for walkers and joggers, basketball court, BBQ grills, boating, fishing pier, horseshoe pits, picnic areas with a pavilion, playground and volleyball court.  The park also has a boat launch ramp, and Lighthouse Point and docks for recreational fishing. The bait shop rents fishing tackle.

Learn more here.

Disney Wilderness Preserve,

At The Disney Wilderness Preserve, visitors can hike, bird watch, and enjoy old Florida’s natural beauty. See the bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, wood stork, sandhill crane, northern harrier and crested caracara. The preserve is also home to the southeastern big-eared bat, Sherman’s fox squirrel, eastern indigo snake and gopher tortoise. The Florida panther has even been documented crossing the site!  There is a cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, scrub, flatwoods and oak hammocks and a rejuvenated longleaf pine forest.  Key flowers include the fall-flowering ixia, Catesby’s lily and terrestrial orchids. There is no fee to visit, although donations are appreciated.

Learn more here.

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Park

Upper Tampa Bay Park is an hour north of Bradenton.  Here visitors may see gopher tortoises and even bobcats. Shallow fresh water ponds provide habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Live oaks and other hardwood trees grow near these wetlands, where bald eagles are sometimes seen. Closer to the shoreline, visitors may see roseate spoonbills, ospreys, otters, bottle nosed dolphins and manatees. Picnic shelters adjoin an open playfield with a sand volleyball court. The playground is centrally located, and nature trails and boardwalks provide access to undeveloped areas. A canoe/kayak launch provides access to the creek and bay, excellent places for game fish. The nature center houses interpretive exhibits that describe the park environment, history and geology. Live animal displays include fish, snakes and turtles. 

Learn more here. 

Veteran's Memorial Park, Zephyrhills, FL

Veteran's Memorial Park, about an hour northeast of Bradenton, is a ten (10) acre, open, passive park that features an unsupervised BMX track, open play area, two-thousand (2,000) linear foot asphalt bicycle / pedestrian path complete with trees and benches. This is the perfect place to inline skate, ride a bicycle or just sit and relax under the Elm trees. This park was dedicated in 2001 to the past, present, and future Veterans of the United States Armed Forces. 

Learn more here. 

Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre

Yes, you can still find a drive-in movie theatre in Florida! The Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre in Lakeland has two movie screens that show popular new releases. Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre opened on April 14, 1948. It charges $5 for ages 10+ and $1 for children ages 4-9. On “Bargain Thursdays” ages 10+ pay $4. All in all, these ticket prices are a steal compared to big box movie theaters. Get there early for a good spot as the parking lot fills up. Bring mosquito repellent then visit the concession stand where a large popcorn (that includes refills) is $4.75, cotton candy made right there is $2.00, bottle of water $1.50. As the movie starts tune into the drive-in’s radio station to hear the audio or if you really want to go old school, Silver Moon has a limited supply of the speakers that attach to your car.

Learn more here. 

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River, FL

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is the last unspoiled and undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River and it is critical for protection of the West Indian Manatee. The springs in the bay, with their constant 72 degree Fahrenheit water, provide essential warm water refuge for the manatees that congregate there in the winter months. There are about 30 known springs in all of Kings Bay. The primary springs within the wildlife refuge are Idiots Delight, Three Sisters, and the King Springs group, which includes Tarpon Hole, Mullet’s Gullet, and Little Hidden springs. Three Sisters springs is the only one accessible by land; all of the others are boat accessible only. There is no fee to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, boating, fishing, manatee and other wildlife viewing and the picnic area. 

Learn more here.

Ravine Gardens State Park

Ravine Gardens State Park has two ravines up to 120 feet deep with steep banks at 45 degree angles. Unlike common gullies, trenches or sinkholes caused by temporary flooding, the steephead ravine is a permanent feature with a spring-fed creek that never dries up, called Whitewater Branch. Over thousands of years the ravine has widened and deepened to what you see today. In 1933, this ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden by the federal Works Progress Administration. Much of the original landscaping still exists as formal gardens and an extensive trail system. A 1.8-mile paved road winds around the ravine, offering motorists and bicyclists a view of the gardens. The garden's peak flowering period is azalea season, late January to April. Numerous picnic sites, equipped with tables and grills, are available to visitors.

Learn more here.

Myakka River Ranch, Myakka, FL

Myakka River Ranch is private Myakka City` Horseback Riding facility for individuals, families and group outings.  From the urbanized beginners to the experienced cowboys, there are horses, trails, and staff to ensure that you have a safe and memorable experience. Take the reins of your very own steed through 40 plus acres of picturesque fields. Our horse guides have years of experience training horses and working with riders. Most horses have been rescued from unfortunate situations, re-trained and put back to work and are well cared for. 

Learn more here.

Southwest Florida Therapy Animals

Southwest Florida Therapy Animals is busy socializing the animals at Lakewood Ranch. These animals can provide therapeutic value to various organizations whose members will benefit from the love and affection of a therapy animal. There are horses, dogs, goats, teacup pigs, bunnies, ducks & chickens. The Ranch is available for field trips. Kids can have a picnic lunch under a canopy of oak trees, and walk the beautiful trails through out 9 acres of trees and creeks. Then they will learn about the animals and see some animal behavior such as a 7 to 10 minute education on horses or some dog agility demonstrations.

Learn more here.

Green Mountain Scenic Byway

Cyclists and runners alike regularly visit the Green Mountain Scenic Byway area to enjoy the rural country scenery of Central Florida, while challenging themselves on this winding road. This byway has become one of the most popular cycling routes in Florida as it’s the perfect setting for training. The Green Mountain Scenic Byway is located in east Lake County and west Orange County in Central Florida, along the western and southern shores of Lake Apopka. While competitors come to the byway for the challenge, others come to enjoy the scenery, culture and history of the area. It’s the perfect blend for motorcyclists and car enthusiasts alike. If you’re looking for a place to stop then head east on the byway to Winter Garden where you can take in unique shops and have a bite to eat at one of their many restaurants. 

Learn more here.

American Victory Ship, Tampa, FL

The American Victory Ship is one of only 4 fully-operational WWII ships in the country. Come aboard and witness virtually the entire ship including cavernous three-level cargo holds, radio and gyro rooms, hospital, galley, weaponry, steering stations, flying bridge, signaling equipment, wheelhouse, mess halls, crew cabins, lifeboats, the Captain's quarters, cargo equipment and the engine. Enjoy rare artifacts, exciting exhibits, uniforms, medals, documents and photographs. It's all right here throughout nine decks and our 455'x109' cargo vessel. The American Victory Ship Mariners Museum endeavors to serve the community by preserving and interpreting maritime culture, folkways and the legacy of maritime industry. The ship is located on Channelside Drive, Tampa.

Learn more here.

Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa, FL

The Tampa Bay History Center ncludes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history. The History Center features a museum store, the Witt Research Center, a map gallery, event hall, and the Columbia Café, a branch of the historic Columbia Restaurant. One of Tampa’s premier cultural venues, the History Center features cutting-edge interactive exhibits and provides a unique educational experience for all ages and is located along the Riverwalk in Tampa’s Channel District.

Learn more here

Electric Boat Rental, Tampa, FL

Forget the destination and enjoy the ride in an Electric Boat, virtually silent, easy to operate, environmentally friendly, comfortable and a unique way to enjoy Tampa. From the Tampa Convention Center Docks there are a number of things to see and do on Tampa waterways.  Travel along the river, channels, islands and a bay to explore the breathtaking Tampa skyline.  Lighted bridges add charm and interest to whichever route you choose. The boats are easy to operate and a brief safety orientation is provided to make sure you are comfortable.  Guests have described it “like driving a golf cart on the water.” A boating license is not required. 

Learn more here.

FLORIDA MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS, Tampa, FL

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is located in Rivergate’s Cube, a soaring, five-story atrium recognized as one of the most impressive interior spaces in Tampa. Photographic works include Harold Edgerton's landmark works using his invention, the strobe light. Also in the collection are Len Prince's celebrity portraits, a notable Dorothea Lange, a portrait of Ansel Adams by Judy Dater, scenes of Pittsburgh by Charles "Teenie" Harris. More historical moments are found in a collection of panoramic  photographs taken in the early 20th century, including views of the construction of the Panama Canal and of early Tampa history. 

Learn more here

I-Drive 360, Orlando, FL

ICON Park is Orlando’s new $200 million entertainment destination. The Orlando Eye’s 400 foot iconic observation wheel is the centerpiece of this complex featuring attractions, restaurants, clubs and shops.  Joining the Orlando Eye are world-famous Madame Tussaud’s, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Skeletons all in air conditioned comfort.  Restaurants feature a variety of dining options from full service to fast casual and quick serve. Visitors can park free in ICON Park's seven story covered parking structure and in minutes find themselves sitting in an open air courtyard featuring a $1.5 million dollar water show set to music and color-changing lights, enjoying their favorite refreshment.

Learn more here.

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, FL

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a one-way, 11-mile route that begins at Lust Road and ends on Jones Road in Orange County, Fl. The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays between sunrise and sunset. The entrance gate closes approximately one hour prior to sunset to allow visitors to complete the drive and exit the property prior to sunset. Several “pull over” areas are provided along the drive. Bird diversity is extraordinary in this area, and the bird list continues to grow. That list, as of late 2014, includes 362 species, 16 of which are exotics. Other wildlife includes alligators, turtles, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Recreational activities include Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing, boating and canoeing opportunities are available on Lake Apopka.

Learn more here.

Ybor City, FL

Explore the historic streets of Ybor City on a walking tour back in time.  The tour includes a walk down “La Septima Avenida” (Seventh Avenue) or “Broadway,” as residents know it. Seventh Avenue is not just a street but the heart of a special community, and has been designated one of the Great Streets in America for its history and character. Learn how the orders for the Cuban uprising against Spain were smuggled from Ybor City to Havana. Learn about the game of Bolita and the fascinating history of how organized crime controlled Tampa for decades. Learn where the best restaurants, bars and entertainment venues are found.

Learn more here.

DeBary Hall, FL

DeBary Hall was the winter retreat of a European-born wine merchant who chose the St. Johns River country for his hunting estate. But above all, this Florida estate became a center of sport hunting and hospitality. Entertainment,” said one relative, “was a very simple matter at DeBary Hall. Most guests were asked because they enjoyed the out of doors, with swimming, hunting, and fishing.”  Today’s historic site includes the 8,000-square-foot main house, stables and other structures, plus artifacts from a kind of working farm, even if the crops were bobwhite quail. Visit the DeBary Hall historic Site. You’ll find remarkable buildings, a treasure trove of historical images, and many good stories. It’s a place worth exploring. 

Learn more here.

St Johns River Eco Tours

St Johns River Eco Tours operates an eco-friendly sightseeing boat cruise on the St. Johns River.  Several boat tours daily exploring the river start in Debary, FL, observing the wild life and experiencing a section of the St. Johns that is little changed from the days when early explorers visited these enchanting waters. Located about 40 minutes from Daytona and Orlando, these boat tours are a refreshing change from the usual tourist paths. So whether you're a birdwatcher, a fan of alligators or manatees, a nature photographer or are just looking for something a little different, our St. Johns river boat tours maybe just what you are looking for! 

Learn more here.

Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, FL

Nathan Benderson Park is a community park providing the public access to a picturesque 500-acre lake and a world of recreational pursuits. Visitors can get on the water in a kayak, rowboat or stand up paddle board, find a scenic spot to enjoy an afternoon picnic, or walk, run or bike our peaceful, neatly manicured trails encircling the lake. The park is home to a range of international championships as well as a host of recreational activities for anyone who enjoys the outdoors – from dragon boat, canoe and kayak races to triathlon and cross-country events, 5- and 10k runs, wakeboarding and more. The community park is also conveniently located immediately adjacent to University Town Center – Southwest Florida’s newest shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

Learn more here.

Andersen RacePark, Palmetto, Fl

Andersen RacePark offers high-performance vehicles and close competition at relatively low costs. The goal is the development and training of race car drivers. It doesn't matter whether your goal is to become a professional driver or you just want to compete locally for fun.  With the proper training anyone can learn to be a race car driver, even kids as young as five! For adults, the cheapest and easiest way to get started is in one of the Rock Karts. A number of programs don't require you to own any equipment, just bring yourself and everything else is provided. These programs will allow you to start learning and having fun without any capital expense.

Learn more here.

Venice, FL

Venice is a friendly and attractive city nestled between Sarasota and Fort Myers, directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Crossing one of Venice's bridges to the historic downtown area, known as "The Island of Venice", instantly transports you to a place of charm where palm tree lined avenues host an array of exciting things to do and see. Be sure to see the cute and colorful full size ceramic pigs along the downtown sidewalk each designed and painted by local artists. There are many sidewalk cafes and several picturesque waterfront restaurants.

Learn more here. 

Wagon Wheel Flea Market, Pinellas Park, FL

Wagon Wheel Flea Market was born in 1966 in Pinellas Park just 40 minutes north of Bradenton. After 55 years of service, the Wagon Wheel and Mustang Flea Markets are closing their doors for good.  "Thank all of you for your patronage and support. This has been the most difficult decision we have ever made as a family. We wish you all the best. It is with tears and fond memories that we say goodbye and thank you,"

Learn more here.

Oldsmar Flea Market, Oldsmar, FL

The Oldsmar Flea Market has been a shopper’s mecca on 20 acres for more than 30 years in Oldsmar an hour north of Bradenton. With more than 450 vendors selling every item you can imagine, you could browse all day and still not see everything the Oldsmar Flea Market has to offer.  Slip into some comfortable shoes and put your explorer’s hat on, and embark on an adventure. Antiques, jewelry, parrots, scooters, furniture, watches, sun glasses, luggage, paintings, kayaks, golf clubs, coins and stamps, toys, DVDs, collectibles etc.  Admission and parking are free.

Learn more here.

Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa, FL

Channelside Bay Plaza is a great entertainment destination to enjoy Tampa’s urban waterfront. Here’s a list of what’s happening in Channelside.  See the fireworks or enjoy a range of entertainment options to suit any taste.  The variety of shopping experiences at Channelside Bay Plaza goes far beyond a stroll in a mall. With an unparalleled water view and eclectic mix of retailers, you’ll love shopping! If you are looking for a casual or fine dining experience, you’ll find a restaurant to satisfy your cravings.

Learn more here.

Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, FL

Jannus Live is a one of a kind concert experience for 2,000 people. In addition to a new multi-color scheme, there’s a full patio bar augmented by several mobile bar stations throughout the venue.  There’s a balcony that can accommodate more than 200 fans and includes private VIP suites with an excellent sound system, completely enclosed with access to VIP suites and fully air-conditioned. The upstairs area includes a separate bar and plush restrooms plus an enlarged party deck in the back.

Learn more here.

Florida Paddling - By Kayak or Canoe

Florida Paddling - By Kayak or Canoe. With more than 1,700 miles of rivers, streams and creeks, many formed by Florida's more than 700 natural springs plus the temperate climate that allows for paddling year-round, Florida is a paddling paradise and how better to appreciate Florida's natural beauty than at eye level from a kayak or canoe! Here is a list of Florida paddling destinations which are organized by region: Panhandle, North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, and the Keys. 

Learn more here.

Bearadise Ranch, FL

Bearadise Ranch is home of the famous Welde Bears. The bears appear in all types of venues from nightclubs and theme parks to circus and on to the big screen. When the bears are not working on a project they live at the Bearadise Ranch, a natural habitat facility the bears call home. Here they swim, climb trees, and enjoy life in Florida while keeping in tune with nature. Private bear viewing tours are offered by reservation only. Educational presentations are part of the tour as well as plenty of photographic opportunities for the nature lover or bear enthusiast.  

Learn more here.

Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery, FL

Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery focuses on “green” operations with handcrafted wines that are unfiltered, never blended, and fermented with the skin of the grape.  Pride is taken on using 100 percent recycled wine bottles, natural corks, and origami gift wrapping.  All 10 of their wines are aged in a “wine cave” in complete darkness and at the appropriate temperature. Fresh Whole Fruit wines are also available.  They are about an hour east of Bradenton and open daily and offer free vineyard tours and wine tastings.

Learn more here. 

Duette Preserve, FL

At over 21,000 acres, the Duette Preserve is the largest Preserve in Manatee County. The area is rich in both cultural, historic, and natural resources, including a mound site called Carruthers Mound. Many diverse species of game and non-game animals can be found in the preserve. There are many recreational uses on the property, including hiking and nature trails, environmental education, fishing, hunting, picnic areas and pavilions, horseback riding trails, non-motorized bicycle trails and primitive camping all available about an hour east of Bradenton. 

Learn more here.

Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures, Sarasota, FL

Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures is a kayaking eco tour in Siesta Key, Anna Maria Island, Lido Key, Longboat Key, Myakka, and Sarasota. Kayak eco tours are available that allow you to observe and interact with wildlife in non-threatening environments. Adventures are customized for all ages, physical conditions and interests. The tours are family-friendly, safe, educational and most importantly, fun! Investigate lush ecosystems, explore pristine waterways, and get up close and personal with nature. Experience Florida’s untouched beauty, exquisite landscapes and unspoiled waterways than by kayaking.

Learn more here.

Florida Ecotours

Florida Ecotours offers sustainable, curated, all-inclusive ecotours that showcase Gulf Coast Florida’s stunning natural diversity and fascinating cultural heritage, combining exploration, education, and relaxation while living up to stringent standards of environmental stewardship. ((ecko)) nonprofit ecotours will take you from internationally renowned beaches to backwoods bike trails and historically significant monuments and mansions, with behind-the-scenes visits led by local experts who know the region thoroughly.

Learn more here.

Lemon Bay Conservancy Wildflower Preserve

Lemon Bay Conservancy Wildflower Preserve is an 80-acre preserve located in Englewood about an hour south of Bradenton.  It contains a variety of upland habitats along with several fresh water ponds that feed into salt-water Lemon Creek. Lemon Bay Conservancy’s primary purpose for Wildflower is to protect and enhance the habitats within the preserve in order to provide a refuge for wildlife and opportunities for environmental education and scientific research.  Wildflower Preserve is open to the general public as part of regularly scheduled nature tours and events.  Learn more about the Lemon Bay Conservancy here. 

Learn more here.

Riverview Pointe Preserve, Bradenton, FL

Riverview Pointe Preserve is an 11-acre site located in northwest Bradenton. It is adjacent to the DeSoto National Memorial. Although small in acreage, the preserve is home to a variety of wildlife. Uplands and coastal habitats including the rare scrub ecosystem, oak hammock, and mangrove forest can be found here. This location is also home to a thriving gopher tortoise colony. Riverview Pointe is part of a large prehistoric coastal village once inhabited by Florida Indians.  Recreational activities include: hiking and nature trails, dog-walking and wildlife viewing. Most of the trails are packed shell through the preserve but look out for poison ivy. 

Learn more here.

Cracker Country, FL

Discover Cracker Country, a rural Florida outdoor living history museum, and experience how the daily lives of early Florida settlers revolved around chores, seasons, family, and community.  From the rustic cypress log corn crib to the grand old two-story Carlton house, Cracker Country features thirteen original buildings dating from 1870 to 1912.  Demonstrations include blacksmithing, spinning, making traditional "Florida Cracker" Cow Whips, woodcarving, open fire cooking, storytelling, sewing, soap making and old tool demonstrations just as was done 100 years ago.  Open to the public for select events. Please check their website for specific dates.

Learn more here.

Disney Springs, FL

At Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney whether you’re craving world-class cuisine, a breezy lunch or a just a light bite, there’s always something here for you to savor.  Day or night, an eclectic mix of fun awaits you. Uncover a wide variety of exciting possibilities from unique specialty acts and live music to inspiring shows. Disney Springs is a fun-filled escape, brimming with unique boutiques, culinary surprises and lively entertainment. Your journey through a collection of shops takes you from well-known brands to Disney-centric boutiques. There’s so much for you to explore. 

Learn more here.

Micanopy, FL

The Town of Micanopy, about two hours northeast of Bradenton is the antiques capital of Florida. Dedicated on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, Cholokka Boulevard, is Micanopy's main street, famous for its antique shops. Micanopy's eclectic mix of authentic rustic storefronts lure casual shoppers, and Hollywood film makers.  Charming diners and the nationally lauded Greek revival mansion, the Herlong Mansion Historic Inn (1845), provide Southern hospitality as a bed and breakfast. A two-story brick schoolhouse (1895) the Town Hall. Across the street, the wood-planked Thrasher Warehouse (1890)  and old cracker houses add to the picturesque warmth of "the town that time forgot."

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Mount Dora, FL

The City of Mount Dora about two hours northeast of Bradenton truly is 'Someplace Special,' a charming, one-hundred plus year old historic village in the heart of Central Florida on the shores of Lake Dora in the Harris Chain of Lakes. Visit for one of the nationally known annual festivals, go to one of the heritage museums or take a nostalgic train ride on the Orange Blossom Cannonball or go fishing in the "Bass Capital of the World," or simply relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Bring the entire family and enjoy and old-fashioned, small town celebration. 

Learn more here.

Fresh from Florida Produce

Fresh is best. Consumers around the world look for and value the “Fresh From Florida” label. Knowing when items are in season is the key to knowing what to look for when shopping. You’ll find charts indicating what Florida seafood, fruits and vegetables are in season at this Florida Department of Agriculture site.  The grid shows when most major crops are typically harvested in Florida throughout the year. The blue shaded areas represent months of availability.

Learn more here. 

Family Heritage House Museum, Tampa, FL

Family Heritage House Museum is a gallery and resource center for the study of African-American achievements.  The National Park Service has noted the Family Heritage House Museum as “making a significant contribution to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history” and it is included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Learn more here.  

Florida Maritime Museum, Cortez, FL displays

The Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez is a modern museum housed in a historic 1912 Schoolhouse in the Cortez Nature Preserve.  Exhibits focus on the maritime heritage of Florida’s Gulf Coast. See the boat shop where historic vessels are restored and recreated. View a collection tools, apparel, equipment, traditional watercraft, and other historically significant material relating to the maritime culture, and history, of Cortez a working commercial fishing village.  Tour the boat shop, school house and waterfront store. 

Learn more here.

Arcadia, FL

Arcadia is a small quaint town home to one of the largest antique shopping districts in the area. It’s located an hour southeast of Bradenton and has quite a few antique shops where one can browse seemingly forever exploring really old furniture, fixtures, tools, you name it! Spend the day or weekend. Just park your car and walk to all the shops and restaurants on Oak Street.  

Learn more here.

Sarasota Culinary Tour, Sarasota, FL

Key Culinary Tour. Sarasota is a city defined by its climate, culture and, increasingly, its food.  Inspired by the beauty of the area, the sophisticated diners who live and visit Sarasota, and the beautiful fresh produce and seafood, an array of chefs, many with international influences, are staking their claim in Sarasota.  In fact, within a 20 mile radius of downtown Sarasota, there are more Florida Trend and Zagat top-scoring restaurants than any other place in the state. Sarasota Culinary Tours explore historic downtown Sarasota on foot and stop at 4 restaurants.  The food on your tour will include a variety of dishes that highlight favorite locally owned restaurants and the best food Sarasota has to offer! 

Learn more here.

Cathleen D Catamaran, Anna Maria Island, FL

Go Catamaran sailing on the Cathleen D and swim, snorkel, go shelling, kayak & explore isolated Egmont Key. Egmont divides Tampa Bay from the Gulf. It’s uninhabited except for some ranger’s quarters and bunk houses for the ship pilots on the north end, the southern end is off limits to people (and is a fine birding location). Go ashore and see the lighthouse, visit the turtles, snorkel around the old Fort's ruins, swim and shell along the pristine beach! Dolphin watch and sunset sailing is also available. 

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Downtown Winter Garden, FL

Visit Downtown Winter Garden to enjoy its quaintness and small town charm. There’s Ms. Bees Gourmet Popcorn & Candy Shoppe. Stepping into Ms. Bees is like stepping into an old-fashioned candy store where you can find lots of candy options you simply can’t find in a grocery store and over 70 gourmet flavors of popcorn, like buffalo wings, cheese, bubble-gum and a delicious turtle popcorn (think chocolate and caramel). A stroll through the indoor Plant Street Market reveals everything from an oxygen bar to arts and crafts to lots of great food (including gourmet popsicles). There’s also a brewery and wine bar onsite. The Garden Theatre certainly contributes to the ambience of downtown Winter Garden with its 1930s-style marquee and prominent architecture. 

Learn more here.

Cedar Key Museum State Park, Cedar Key, FL

Cedar Key, on Florida's Gulf Coast, was a thriving port city and railroad connection during the 19th century. The Cedar Key museum contains exhibits that depict its colorful history during that era. Part of the collection is sea shells and Indian artifacts collected by Saint Clair Whitman, the founder of the first museum in Cedar Key. Whitman's house is located at the park and has been restored to reflect life in the 1920s. A short nature trail gives visitors the opportunity to see wildlife and birds, as well as native vegetation. Small gray squirrels, gopher tortoises, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers, and green tree frogs can be seen on the museum grounds and along the walking trail.  

Learn more here.

St. Johns River Water Management, FL

St. Johns River Water Management District purchases and manages tracts of land that are important in protecting water resources, keeping the land in its natural state. So what can you do on District lands? Take a hike. Ramble your way through miles of trails and you’re bound to spot some of the abundant wildlife that thrives on these protected lands. Some district properties offer opportunities for canoeing, air boating and boating, and a few even have boat ramps or launches. District land is home to some great fishing. Some properties include handicapped-accessible fishing platforms. The majority of district lands provide trails that are suitable for cycling or horseback riding. Sleep out and experience a crackling campfire under the stars or go hunting. So pack up your water, snacks and bug repellent and head out to enjoy a bit of wild Florida. 

Learn more here.

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River, FL

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the endangered Florida Manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian Manatee.  This unique refuge preserves the last unspoiled and undeveloped spring habitat in Kings Bay, which forms the headwaters of the Crystal River.  The refuge preserves the most important aquifer fed spring havens in Kings Bay which provide critical habitat for the nearly 600 manatees that migrate here each winter. 

Learn more here.

Crystal River Archaeological State Park

Crystal River Archaeological State Park is a National Historic Landmark, this 61-acre, Native American site has burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area and a substantial midden. The six-mound complex is one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida. For 1,600 years the site served as an imposing ceremonial center for Native Americans. People traveled to the complex from great distances to bury their dead and conduct trade. Although primarily an archaeological site, the park sits on the edge of an expansive coastal marsh. Anglers may catch saltwater and freshwater fish. As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, the park offers bird-watchers the chance to observe a variety of birds. 

Learn more here

Crystal River Preserve State Park, Crystal River, FL

Crystal River Preserve State Park is a place of exceptional natural beauty, the undisturbed islands, inlets, backwaters and forests of this Preserve are especially enjoyed by nature lovers and photographers. The park borders 20 miles of the northern Gulf Coast between the two cities of Yankeetown and Homosassa. Visitors can hike or bicycle along seven miles of trails or study the native wildlife and plants on the two mile interpretive trail. Anglers can walk down a short path to the Mullet Hole for a relaxing afternoon of fishing. Paddlers can launch a kayak or canoe into the waters of the scenic Crystal River to see the park from the water.  

Learn more here.

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, FL

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. The refuge, located approximately 65 miles north of St. Petersburg, FL, was established primarily to protect waterfowl habitat and is home to over 250 species of birds, over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals, including the endangered West Indian Manatee. 

Learn more here. 

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park, FL

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park was once part of a thriving sugar plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. Yulee was a member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate after Florida statehood. The park contains the remnants of the once-thriving 5,100-acre sugar plantation: a forty-foot limestone masonry chimney, iron gears, and a cane press. The steam-driven mill operated from 1851 to 1864 and served as a supplier of sugar products for southern troops during the Civil War. 

Learn more here. 

Cross Florida Greenway - Withlacoochee Bay Trail, FL

Cross Florida Greenway's Withlacoochee Bay Trail stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River. This 110-mile corridor encompasses a variety of natural habitats and offers an array of trails and recreation areas where visitors can experience Florida's premier greenway. The Withlacoochee Bay Trail runs 5 miles west from the Felburn Park Trailhead to the Gulf of Mexico, along the southern side of the former Cross Florida Barge Canal. Bicycling, walking or inline skating on the paved trail provide numerous opportunities to observe wildlife along the route.  

Learn more here.

  Croom Motorcycle Area at Withlacoochee State Forest, FL

Croom Motorcycle Area at Withlacoochee State Forest offers something for every rider in the family, including a training area and young riders. Spend the day or stay in the campground for longer stays. With the acquisition of two dozer units in 2012 to groom and grade trails entry-level riding will be more enjoyable. But don’t worry, miles and miles of natural rough terrain throughout the park will be left for those who like a challenge. For wildlife watchers, Croom is home to a population of white piebald deer (sometimes called the ghost deer). Other wildlife species to look for include wild turkey, bobcat, gopher tortoise, coyote, bald eagle, hawk, falcon, owl, raccoon, Virginia opossum and white-tailed deer.  

Learn more here.

Churchhouse Hammock Trail, Crystal River, FL

On the Churchhouse Hammock Trail in Crystal River, you can immerse in the beauty of a palm and cedar hammock right across the street from the Crystal River Mall. A wooden boardwalk leads into jungle-like cabbage palm flatwoods, with a staircase to access the natural portion of the trail that meanders through a bottomland hardwood forest with surface limestone out to a boardwalk into the estuary that borders Crystal River. While the most obvious and accessible, Churchhouse Hammock is just one of many trails found in Crystal River Preserve State Park. 

Learn more here. 

Sarasota Patriot Plaza, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota Patriot Plaza. Our nation's national cemeteries are the final resting places for men and women who served our country with unmatched valor and dedication. Since the 1860s, these shrines to America’s heroes have offered places of peace and reflection for military families and visitors. Today, the same is offered through Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery that honors veterans, inspires patriotism and embraces freedom.  Patriot Plaza is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free. 

Learn more here. 

Dunedin Historical Museum, Dunedin, FL

A new exhibit is at the Dunedin Historical Museum called Pieces of the Past: Dunedin’s History in Objects.  The Museum into three sections, each representing a collection of decades. The 1880s–1900s section discusses the history of the Orange Belt Railroad, Dunedin’s first general stores.  The 1910s–1930s section includes artifacts from the citrus industry, as well as from Main Street’s businesses.  The third section gives visitors a look into the 1940s–1960s in Dunedin. See a diorama of the old Chamber of Commerce building, the only surviving wooden pram sailboat, and items from the original Bank of Dunedin’s time capsule that was buried in the 1960s.

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Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin, FL

The Dunedin Fine Art Center has been offering exciting art opportunities in a most welcoming kind of way for almost four decades.  Tampa Bay Times writer Lennie Bennett says that DFAC is “the artistic equivalent of a village square,” offering quality experiences to people of all ages. The art center offers year-round exhibitions in five galleries featuring national, regional and local artists. Classes for students 4 yrs. to 97 yrs. fill 15 studio classrooms and a changing yearly theme makes the Children’s Art Museum a hands-on experience. Take some time to enjoy a lunch or gourmet coffee in the Palm Café, or search out one-of-a-kind gifts in the Gallery Gift Shop.

Learn more here

Pinellas Trail, Dunedin, FL

The Pinellas Trail is a linear park and recreation trail currently extending from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and is a multi-use trail everyone can enjoy. The Trail, created along an abandoned railroad corridor, provides a unique, protected greenspace
for walking, jogging, skating and biking.  It passes through the towns of Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, South Pasadena, and Gulfport. The main trail currently covers 38.2 miles Pinellas County Parks & Conservation Resources is responsible for the Trails maintenance.  

Learn more here.

Adventure Coast, Brooksville, Fl.

Brooksville and Weeki Wachee offer authentic experiences of the Sunshine State at its natural best. This is Florida’s Adventure Coast, a wonderland of outdoor amenities, active family fun, centuries of history, Southern hospitality, and vibrant local color. Enjoy water adventures, land adventures, attractions, parks and more. Paddle scenic springs, follow historic streets to experience the charm of the past, reel in the memories with inshore and saltwater fishing, hike or bike along vast networks of trails. And meet mermaids and manatees up close.

Learn more here.  

Linda Pedersen Park

Linda Pedersen Park If you like fishing off a bank and enjoying nature, then spend time at this 135-acre park connected by an aluminum boardwalk to Jenkins Creek Park, across the street. Try climbing the forty-foot-high observation tower for a panoramic view of the marsh and look out over the Gulf of Mexico. Relax and sit on the bank where you can fish while the kids play on the playground. Chances are good you will be able to catch a glimpse of manatees here. If you are looking for a great place for a family reunion, this is the place to go. The park has grills, picnic tables, pavilion, swimming area, playground, community building, showers, and restrooms.  

Learn more here.

SunWest Park, Hudson, FL

SunWest Park is a new recreational waterfront facility in northwest Pasco County about an hour and a half north of Bradenton. The park has been developed around a former limestone mine. On the shores of the 70 acre spring-fed lake you will find beautiful white sand that creates an unparalleled beach atmosphere. Enjoy paddle boarding and kayaking. The Aqua Park is an inflatable obstacle course on the water, a very popular attraction. There is a new Sesitec System 2.0 for wakeboarding, with plans to be a premier wakeboard facility. It’s fun in the sun for the whole family! 

Learn more here.

Fred Howard Park, Tarpon Springs, Fl

Fred Howard Park consists of 155 acres and is located on the Gulf of Mexico in Tarpon Springs. Almost 2 million visitors enjoy the park annually. The white sandy beach is a very popular swim area and provides a perfect location for visitors to enjoy spectacular sunsets. Nesting ospreys and eagles, dolphins, and occasionally manatees, are seen in the area. There are picnic shelters, restrooms, 2 playgrounds, ball field, wind surfing area, launching area for canoeing & kayaking, fishing and beach showers. 

Learn more here.

A.L. Anderson Park, Tarpon Springs, FL

A.L. Anderson Park in Tarpon Spings is characterized by hilly terrain, wooded areas and beautiful vistas overlooking Salmon Bay and Lake Tarpon.  Boating, scenic views and access to Lake Tarpon are highlights of this park. Play in wooded areas, hike boardwalk and nature trails, have a picnic, romp on the playground or play in the dog park. A public boat ramp and fishing piers make this a favorite destination for bass fishing.  Restrooms are available.  

Learn more here.

Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretumm St. Petersburg, FL

The Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg allows visitors to study and enjoy many exotic and native Florida palms in one convenient setting. It contains some large palms which are too big for most private yards and introduces some new and exotic palms which may be grown in small yards. The park offers a unique educational experience while at the same time providing a peaceful setting to relax and enjoy nature. Drinking fountains, a gazebo, conversation corners with wooden benches and red brick paving were installed in a graceful circle winding through the palms. All facilities were designed to meet the needs of the handicapped.  

Learn more here.

Sand Key Park, Clearwater Beach, FL

Sand Key Park in Clearwater Beach has two distinct areas—a beach and a park. In the park proper are two picnic shelters with grills, a playground, restroom and a dog park. Grills, picnic tables, and water fountains are but a few amenities. A salt marsh with viewing benches further enhances the park, where heron, roseate spoonbill, great horned owl, anhinga, and common moorhen nest and feed. Amenities include a concession, boardwalk, nature trail, 2 beach wheel-chairs, outdoor showers, 2 bath houses with separate changing stalls and restrooms, a dog park, swimming, umbrella/cabana rentals, kayak and bicycle rentals. 

Learn more here

Sawgrass Lake Park, St. Petersburg, FL

Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, allows people to walk through one of the largest maple swamps on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The park’s mile-long boardwalk and half-mile dirt trail provide opportunities to see birds, butterflies, plants and animals in their natural settings within the most densely populated county in Florida. Herons, egrets, ibis, wood storks, alligators and turtles can be seen along the canals and lakes. Thousands of birds migrate through the park during the fall and spring, attracting birders and eco-tourists from all over the country.  Sawgrass Lake Park is mentioned by the Great Florida Birding Trail and the National Audubon Society as one of the premier birding sites in Florida. 

Learn more here. 

War Veterans' Memorial Park, St. Petersburg, FL

At War Veterans' Memorial Park honoring military veterans is the focal point at this park with a landscaped Memorial Center featuring five plaques with official armed forces flags that commemorates each of the military branches of the United States.  Featured at the Memorial Center is an equatorial sundial. It was engineered exactly for the latitude and longitude of this site. The dial is made of granite and the gnomon is made of stainless steel. The sundial is actually a miniature earth.  Cruise the boardwalk and nature trail for great views and educational information, do a little fishing, romp at the playground or launch a canoe.  

Learn more here.

Celebration, FL

In Celebration, FL it's impossible not to have a good time. Celebration offers the best of small-town America with a modern twist. It has charming homes, lush, green parks and a relaxing lakefront. Some of the country's best architects designed community buildings, welcome center and more than 2,500 homes. Try the walking tour, available online or at the visitor's center to learn about Market Street's stucco buildings. Verandas and arcades call to mind the breezy Caribbean. Clusters of columns give the stately, Philip Johnson-designed Town Hall a postmodern feel, while the Googie cinema has the Jetsons-style architecture of the 1950s. Colonial, Folk Victorian and Mediterranean-style homes blend together along residential streets to create walkable postcards.

Learn more here. 

Kissimmee Lakefront Park, Kissimmee, FL

The Kissimmee lakefront waterfront park along the shores of scenic Lake Tohopekaliga offers expansive walkways for walkers and joggers, rentable pavilions, BBQ grills, boating, fishing piers, event and civic lawns that accommodate large outdoor festivals and events, an outdoor open stage, playgrounds, interpretive signage, a state of the art splash pad and a concession stand that sells food, beverages and snacks. The park is also designated as a State of Florida Birding Trail. 

Learn more here

Kissimmee Area Lakes, Kissimmee, FL

Kissimmee Area Lakes. It's tough to drive a few miles in Kissimmee and Osceola County without hitting water. Even better, the water is full of fish. For bass fishermen all over the world, few places compare to the bountiful water near Orlando. Anglers from around the world come to compete in tournaments, or make it a family vacation to remember. Even if trophy bass aren't your goal, the lakes around Kissimmee are also home to a healthy population of bluegill, crappie and catfish. From Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Rosalie and Tiger Lake to East and West Lake Toho, Big Toho Marina and East Lake Fish Camp, a day on the water here is a day you’ll enjoy. Even if your interests don't include fishing, you can still experience a day boating on the water or camping next to it. 

Learn more here.

The Florida Trail Map

The Florida Trail has more than 1,000 miles of scenic paths. The section of the trail that passes through central Florida and Kissimmee takes serious hikers into the heart of Florida's cattle country and the Kissimmee River floodplain. Pick up the trail at one of 12 trailheads that access 100 miles of natural beauty. At Yates Marsh, stroll through pine forests and open prairie, thickets of palm and open cattle ranches. Hit the trail at the Chandler Slough trailhead and walk under a canopy of live oaks and weave in and out of wetlands. The trail also follows the route of the Kissimmee River and heads through numerous area lakes. 

Learn more here.

Great Florida Birding Trail Map

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is a network of 510 premier wildlife viewing sites across the state. When you want to know where to go in Florida to see native birds, butterflies and more, head for the Trail. Florida's vast areas of undeveloped land, its multiple habitats and location along many migratory routes make it an ideal location for birding year-round. See nesting wood storks and migratory songbirds seasonally. Herons and wading birds flourish in the wetlands. Graceful whooping cranes and sandhill cranes always stop visitors in their tracks. Bald eagles and wild turkeys are prolific in the area as well. 

Learn more here.

Metals and Nature, Plant City, FL

At Metals and Nature wrought iron garden in Plant City, Florida you’ll will find wrought iron pieces throughout two acres of tall oak trees, statues and a variety of animals and various iron garden decor.  Choose your favorite wrought iron work and take it home, or be inspired to create your own. Take a stroll by the koi fish pond, have a chat with the parrots, and watch the peacocks strut their feathers all while surrounded by handmade iron creations. It’s as much a garden as a store. People come to relax, take pictures, paint, or just eat lunch on the picnic tables. There’s never a need to buy anything, just enjoy the seamless blend of art and nature. 

Learn more here.

Flatwoods Park, Tampa, FL

Flatwoods Park is best known for its seven-mile paved loop road, which serves as a multiuse trail and provides a welcome getaway from Tampa’s developed landscape. The Morris Bridge well field is located within the park, and well houses can be observed along the trail. A two-mile paved extension connects Bruce B. Downs Boulevard with the loop road. Flatwoods Park Trail is a paved 1-mile connection between Morris Bridge Road and the loop road. Picnic shelters, grills and tables available at several well houses. 

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Morris Bridge Park, Tampa, FL

Morris Bridge Park located on the Hillsborough River, is best known for its river fishing. Alligators, turtles, water snakes, frogs, fish, hawks and wading birds are commonly seen on this property.  A boat ramp, canoe launch, boat dock and trailer parking is available on north side of park.  This section of the Hillsborough River Canoe Trail immerses one in a native habitat rich with wildlife and large bald cypress trees.  A boardwalk under Morris Bridge Road along Hillsborough River connects two sides
of park and provides access for fishing and a primitive fishing trail runs south of park along river. 

Learn more here

Brownsville Park, Arcadia, FL

Brownville Park is located on the Peace River near Arcadia and offers a convenient boat ramp to launch your kayak, canoe, or boat.  Many kayakers and canoeists paddle north, up the picturesque Peace River, then turn around for a lazy tranquil float back.  You are welcome to bring your camp gear and spend the night at one of the campsites.  The next day, head downstream for more exploration of this timeless place. Hikers are welcome to explore this beautiful 75 acre park.  A simple loop nature trail, perfect for small children, can be found on the south side of the park.  Many visitors arrive with their families ready to picnic in a gorgeous natural setting.

Learn more here.  

Gilchrist Park, Punta Gorda, FL

Gilchrist Park in Punta Gorda contains 11 acres stretched along the waterfront between the downtown and Fishermen’s Village and provides sweeping views of the Charlotte Harbor.  Park amenities include a large playground; basketball, tennis and pickleball courts; fishing pier, gazebo, picnic pavilions, and lots of open green space. Smaller events including craft shows and impromptu concerts known as Guitar Army every Tuesday and Thursday evening are held in the park as well. 

Learn more here

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, Punta Gorda, FL

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary provides a healthy recovery and living environment for abandoned and abused exotic wildlife.  Since the mid 1970's, Octagon has been rescuing and rehabilitating exotic wildlife.  Unpaid volunteers care for the animals and the sanctuary grounds. Families, seniors, individuals  - pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at Octagon which is wheelchair accessible and beverages are available for purchase.  There are multiple areas to sit, eat, relax, or cool off at the misting stations. 

Learn more here.

Punta Gorda Nature Park, Punta Gorda, FL

At Punta Gorda Nature Park there is a 1 mile shell trail that connects the eastern and western parking lots so visitors can walk or jog a measured mile from both parking lots and back again. Along the trail, visitors can stop and read the signs, posted every 25 to 30 feet, that describes the plants and animals they may see, or they may just relax on a park bench and do some bird watching. The shell trail crosses 2 wooden bridges from which fish, crabs and small wading birds may be observed searching for and catching food.  There is a comfort area, fishing pier, picnic areas with tables, water access, trails and wildlife observation areas.  

Learn more here.

McKee Botanical Garden, Venice, FL

McKee Botanical Garden, near Vero Beach is where native plants and exotic botanicals combine with Old Florida charm. Follow the Garden's pathways through a grove of majestic palms; past tranquil streams accented with colorful waterlilies. Explore 18 acres of natural landscape preserved and restored to the vision of its founders. In addition to horticultural beauty, McKee Botanical Garden is a valued resource for cultural enrichment, hosting a variety of programs each season including world-class art exhibits, educational offerings and special events. The Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been endorsed by The Garden Conservancy as a project of National Significance.

Learn more here

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FL

At Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the greatest responsibility is to conserve Florida’s fish and wildlife resources.  Florida has a diverse and growing human population as well as prolific fish and wildlife resources. Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World,” a prime boating locale and leading hunting and wildlife viewing destination. Locations in Florida earned the top four spots, as well as nine additional ones, on the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing 2016 list of the “Top 100 Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat in the U.S.”  Clicking on this link will take you to a one stop shopping page for enjoying many the outdoor activities available in Florida.  

Learn more here.

Peace River Canoe Trail, Bartow, fl

The Peace River Canoe Trail begins in Bartow, it ends in Arcadia. This is wilderness paddling at its best. As you float downstream in your canoe, kayak or standup paddle board you will pass through some of the most beautiful parts of Florida. Moss draped oak trees, cypress and cabbage palms line the banks. Wildlife is abundant with deer, river otters, bald eagles, ospreys and alligator frequently seen along the banks. Fishing is great on the river as well, with largemouth bass, cat fish and the occasional snook caught by avid fisherman. Camping is a popular activity along the Peace River also. With numerous places to wilderness camp along the way, the paddler has many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and solitude of the great outdoors. 

Learn more here.

Airboat Nature Tour, Kissimmee River, FL

On an Airboat Nature Tour take a trip up the Kissimmee River, then out around the marsh of Lake Hatchineha gliding thru the grasses and wetlands in search of rarely seen wildlife, such as Large ALLIGATORS in their natural habitat, endangered species of birds such as Bald Eagles, Hawks, egrets, cranes, and much more and it’s all an hour and a half east of Bradenton.  Take a spin back in time on an airboat tour, as you head through the Dead River, and explore the Swamp, where century old cypress trees grow, and get a taste of the "Real Florida" as it was in the past.  Dinner, sunset and night trips are available.     

Learn more herel

Savannas Preserve State Park, FL

At Savannas Preserve State Park see freshwater marshes, or 'savannas,' which once extended all along Florida's southeast coast. A good place for visitors to start is the Environmental Education Center, where one can learn about the importance of this unique and endangered natural system. Picnic tables are available near the center. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in the wetlands are popular activities. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers can enjoy the diversity of habitats this undisturbed area offers. Over eight miles of multi-use trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Guided walks and canoe trips are available by reservation.

Learn more here

Pelican Island, FL

Pelican Island near the Atlantic coastal community of Sebastian is in the Indian River Lagoon, a dot on the map really but with a very large international footprint. Pelican Island and its surrounding 5400+ acres of protected waters and lands are known as the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge holds the distinction of being our nation’s first national wildlife Refuge. It provides a natural home for fish and wildlife. Through the creation of 563 refuges throughout the nation since its designation in 1903, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge has stood as a testament to our nation’s commitment to the conservation of natural lands.

Learn more here.

Spruce Bluff Preserve, FL

Spruce Bluff Preserve has two self-guiding interpretive trails at this 97-acre site. One loop trail describes the site of the 1891 pioneer settlement and cemetery along the banks of the St. Lucie River. Another trail describes the significance of an early Native American mound and historic uses of native plants found along the trail. Birding, canoe access, hiking trails, observation areas are available and a prehistoric Indian mound is located on the southern end of the preserve.

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Paleo Hammock Preserve, FL

Paleo Hammock Preserve is a 120-acre site that preserves a unique hammock with archaeological significance. A one-mile self-guided interpretive trail leads through a very old forest of elms, oaks and palms. An elevated observation deck overlooks a marsh.  Birding, hiking trails and observation areas are available when walking through a mix of several habitats including: Hammock with some very old Hickory, Florida Elm, Sugarberry, Live Oak, Laurel Oak, Depression Marsh and basin swamp.  Commonly seen wildlife include: Deer, turkey, ibis, heron, barred owl, cardinal, mockingbird, catbird and flycatcher. 

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Bluefield Ranch Preserve, FL

Bluefield Ranch Preserve was an active cattle ranch for many years, the 3,285-acre site preserves the largest stand of scrub in St. Lucie County. There are more than 20 miles of hiking, mountain bike and horse trails, an elevated wildlife observation deck, wildlife blind, primitive hike-in camping and primitive horseback camping.  Much of the site is an improved pasture. The largest amount of protected scrub in the County is found here, along with Bay-gall swamps, pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and prairie hammock.  Commonly seen wildlife: Hog, turkey, alligator, quail, red-shoulder hawk, bald eagle, swallow-tailed kite, sandhill crane, and meadowlark.

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Art Center Manatee, Bradenton, FL

ArtCenter Manatee is located in downtown Bradenton and is the premier center for art, art education and unique gifts in Manatee County. The nearly 10,000 sq. ft. building features three galleries with exhibits that change monthly, five classrooms that hold over 3,000 students every year, an Artists’ Market gift shop and an art library featuring over 3,000 art volumes. Over 350 day, evening and weekend art classes and workshops for adults are offered year round in painting, drawing, pastels, pottery, jewelry design, photography and more. Our KidsArt Summer Camps and After School Programs give students 4-15 the opportunity to express their creativity while they learn valuable skills, have fun and make new friends. 

Learn more here.

Map of Downtown Bradenton, FL

WalkBradenton.com is a user-friendly app that takes you on a digital view of downtown Bradenton that you can then physically follow up on as the user discovers there is a lot more to Bradenton than even longtime residents may realize. The site highlights the city’s unique offerings, from where to grab a bite to eat or drink, its historical buildings, where to stay the night or where to view 58 pieces of public art. There are 145 local businesses and restaurants highlighted on the website within a few blocks of one another, as well as the public art pieces. Want to know which restaurants are offering specials, or more about the artists? Simply touch what’s highlighted and all of the information pops up. The website can be accessed from any smart phone, tablet or computer. 

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African American Museum of the Arts, Deland, FL

The African American Museum of the Arts in Deland is a unique and vital resource. It is the only museum in the area devoted primarily to African American cultures and art.  The museum houses a revolving gallery where visitors will find works of both established and emerging artists.  The museum is also the home to a permanent collection of more than 150 artifacts, including sculptures and masks from countries of Africa.  In addition to the visual arts, the museum founded the Little Theater of DeLand in 1999 to afford children and adults an opportunity to develop their dramatic abilities. 

Learn more here.

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, FL

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (open on weekends only) is a one-way, 11-mile drive meandering through the eastern portion of the property.  The Lake Apopka Loop Trail covers more than 20 miles and provides hiking and biking opportunities across the property. Much of the Loop Trail is on the lake’s edge and is expected to circumnavigate Lake Apopka in the future. Currently, it is an out-and-back trail traversing the northern half of the lake. The property also has a marked white trail suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding (6-mile loop) on Clay Island, with four observation towers, including one overlooking the west shoreline of Lake Apopka. 

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Manatee Observation and Education Center, Ft. Pierce, FL

Visit the Manatee Observation and Education Center to learn about manatees and other wild animals, Florida's diverse habitats and much more. Explore hands-on exhibits and informational displays that are both fun and educational. Stand along the covered observation walkway or climb the second story observation tower for your chance to see Florida's "Gentle Giants" resting or playing in Moore's Creek. You may also see a variety of other wildlife including the Bottlenose Dolphin, Mullet, Brown Pelicans, and Terns. Stroll through the Center's gardens where red, yellow, and purple flowers abound. 

Learn more here.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 05/29/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 05/29/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Stellar MLS (last updated Sun 05/29/2022 12:03:06 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Wagner Realty may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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