Florida’s varied landscapes are split by two distinct climates – the temperate north and the subtropical south. The result is a fascinating mix of scenery, with coastal areas, forests, and swamps. The animal and plant life are similarly diverse, and migratory birds flock here in the winter.
t The American white ibis with its beautiful white feathers and red bill
We rightly associate this habitat with the Everglades, but swamps can be found all over Florida, including Big Cypress National Preserve. Bobcats and white ibises are among the local wildlife that can be spotted around the swamplands, as well as small anole lizards and beautiful flowering water lilies. A trip to the wild and wonderful Everglades National Park is an essential Florida experience, whether you take to the water or hike the trails.
Myakka River State Park is a classic example of this common Floridian landscape. Around half of the state is covered in these areas of tall pine trees towering over plants and shrubs. White-tailed deer can be spotted in pine flatwood areas (if you’re lucky), as well as pygmy rattlesnakes and red-bellied woodpeckers.
The verdant regions of forests around Florida are locally known as “hammocks.” There are some quirky North American animals to be spotted in these environments, such as wild turkeys, armadillos, and opossums. Florida’s State Forests, such as Blackwater River State are typically well-maintained with easy-to-follow trails and recreational activities on offer.
Florida’s coastal regions can be exposed to extremes of weather, but this doesn’t diminish the richness of landscapes and the truly beautiful scenery. Wading birds are a familiar sight along the sand dunes and lagoons around the coast, but look up to catch bald eagles, particularly around Cape Canaveral. Horseshoe crabs are among the more unusual local shellfish, emerging from the ocean to breed in the springtime around the Nature Coast of Florida, south from the Panhandle.
The best time to visit the Everglades National Park is in the dry season, from December through April. There are various park entrances with visitor centers where you can pick up infor-mation about hiking trails or boat trips.