Set in a 60-acre cypress dome on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum of Seminole culture provides an introduction to the tropical outdoors of natural South Florida’s swamps in which the Seminole Tribe has lived for more than a century.
A go-to location for spotting manatees at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Bairs Cove off Haulover Canal is also a launch point for bioluminescence
History and natural beauty meet under a dense oak canopy at the ruins of one of Florida’s oldest sugar mills
A popular destination for sun worshipers, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is an easy getaway for most folks in the Miami area, with a long strand of beachfront complimenting trails along Biscayne Bay and a historic lighthouse at the point.
The only remaining 17th century fortress in North America, the Castillo de San Marcos defended the Spanish colony of St. Augustine from two British sieges in the 1700s.
A museum started by seashell collector St. Clair Whitman also honors the legacy of John Muir’s travels through Florida on foot at Cedar Key Museum Historic State Park. In 1867, naturalist John Muir followed the path of the Florida Railroad on his Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf of Mexico, ending at the Cedar Keys.
It was meant to be a national park, the largest natural hammock of royal palms in the United States, set aside by developer Barron Collier during his push to create the Tamiami Trail across the Everglades. The Federal government wasn’t interested, so the state of Florida stepped in and created Collier-Seminole State Park, which opened in 1947.
The Second Seminole War began amid the longleaf pines at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, where on December 25, 1835, Major Francis Dade left Fort Brooke – located in what would become Tampa -and led his troops north on the military road to Fort King, Ocala.
Walk a gentle loop through the longleaf pine forest that saw one of the bloodiest moments in Florida history, the Dade Massacre that sparked the Second Seminole War on December 28, 1835.
Protecting nearly 4,400 acres where the Econfina River snakes its way to the Gulf of Mexico through the vast marshes of the Big Bend, Econfina River State Park is well off the beaten path.
In Tampa Bay, Egmont Key, an island that was once a Civil War refugee camp, is now a bird rookery and historic site, with trails accessible only by boat.
A dip into Florida’s only show cave at Florida Caverns State Park brings on an instant sense of cool. Opened in Marianna in the 1930s by the hardworking Civilian Conservation Corps, the tour route wraps through more than a dozen rooms with their own distinct and colorful landscapes.