There are lots of reasons to live in the Sunshine State. Thanks to mild winters, people have plenty of outdoor activities to choose from year-round. Here are some of the best places to live in Florida for nature lovers.
Lakeland, a sleepy little town nestled in the heart of central Florida, is home to over 35 lakes and ponds. These bodies of water host otters, swans, bald eagles, anhingas, and wood storks. Some tours will take you to areas where you can view alligators from a safe distance. Nearby you’ll also find zebras, water buffalo, and ostriches inside the Safari Wilderness where you can tour most days of the year.
2. Bonita Springs
Fort Myers Beach is popular amongst tourists and residents alike. If you’re looking for a coastal community that’s just as beautiful but less crowded, try Bonita Springs. You can spend every day kayaking and fishing or just hanging out in your backyard watching migratory birds. Day trips are also available. By car, visit the Everglades or take a ferry to Key West.
3. Marco Island
Travel further south and discover Marco Island, another hidden gem. This secluded community welcomes you and your boats, canoes, and kayaks. You can also spend days observing wildlife near Ten Thousand Islands or a section of the Everglades and never see the same scenes twice.
4. St. Petersburg
This friendly and welcoming community is close to Tampa and Clearwater, but it boasts miles and miles of beautiful—and less crowded—white sandy beaches. You can go parasailing, boating, or scuba diving every day of the year. Outdoor dining, world-class museums, and camping sites are all a part of St. Petersburg’s charm. If you’re interested in jet or water skiing, you can also find plenty of vendors to teach you the ropes.
Ocala is a small, rural town without a major beach but still has plenty to do. Nearby is Ocala National Forest, with dozens of places to swim in cool spring water, hike, camp, hunt, and fish. It’s quiet and gives you plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife you won’t see anywhere else.
6. Cedar Key
Cedar Key is another sleepy island town where you can fish amidst peaceful gulf breezes. Largely ignored by tourists, enjoy outdoor activities all year without crowds of people. This includes kayaking, bird and wildlife watching, and boating.
7. Panama City Beach
In the Panhandle, this popular resort town is popular with tourists mostly for water activities. Nature lovers also know it’s a great place to learn more about and see the bottlenose dolphin. You’ll also see plenty of native seabirds such as piping plovers, gulls, and least terns. You don’t have to be near the beach to enjoy miles of trails for hiking. Nearby at Conservation Park, you can spot alligators, turtles, and snakes underneath the bridges.
8. Florida Keys
This community is an archipelago made up of approximately 1,700 islands. If you’re traveling by car, there’s only one road to take, the Overseas Highway, where you’ll find plenty of inns, restaurants, and the best Key Lime pie you’ve ever tasted. The Keys are famous for fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, or cycling. Key West, the most popular of the Keys, has yearly festivals and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a huge hit with campers. It’s part of the Everglades, as well as the last remaining section of Florida’s dry prairie. You can find and observe many rare and endangered species while relaxing here.
10. Everglades City
Everglades National Park is bigger than most people realize. At over a million and a half acres, the park was created to nurture wild and diverse animal and plant species. Home to alligators, sawgrass, and Florida Panthers, people are amazed at how important this land is to the rest of the United States. You can observe birds, take rides in and around the swamps, hunt pythons, and learn how mangroves turn water into the land. Then, stand in awe as flocks of roseate spoonbills fly overhead.
In short, these are the best places to visit in Florida for nature lovers. When you fall in love with all Florida has to offer and want to move within the Sunshine State, use Moving Squad to help you relocate.