Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island

“Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Tropical Delights

The Darling of Sanibel Island: This wildlife refuge is a prime place for bird watching and occupies one-third of Sanibel Island. Choose from many activities: a wildlife drive, tram tour, kayaking, fishing, beaches and picnic benches. There is a free scavenger hunt game and wildlife spotting app for a self-guided experience.

Everglades National Park

Florida’s Big Daddy

Diversity is the name of the game here: In two hours, Pyramid guests arrive at the Shark Valley Visitor’s Center, one of five official entry points in the 1.5 million acre park. Established in 1934, Everglades National Park is a tropical and subtropical habitat with one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The park is also designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and a World Heritage Site. The closest access for Pyramid guests is the Shark Valley Visitor’s Center on Highway 75.
Emerald Coast

The Panhandle

The Quiet Side

So many parks, so little time: The “Emerald Coast” along the warm Florida Panhandle is the quieter side with many state parks offering pristine white beaches, dunes and abundant wildlife including TH Stone Memorial, St Joseph Peninsula State Park, Henderson Beach State Park, St George Island State Park, St. Andrews State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore to name our top picks.
Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service
Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service
Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service
Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service Silver Glen Springs © Susan Blake, US Forest Service

Ocala National Forest

Magical Healing Springs

This giant forest is one of Florida’s most important natural treasures. It’s the oldest of its kind east of the Mississippi River and the most southerly national forest in the continental US. It’s a massive ecological web with 219 miles of hiking trails, crystalline swimming springs, scenic car drives and hundreds places to swim, hike, bike, horseback ride and canoe to your heart’s content.

The Florida Keys

Shipwrecks and Flying Fish

This is where the serious snorkelers and divers go. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is an underwater state park with nice beaches and nature trails. Indian Key Historic State Park is a quiet ghost town that was once a thriving city — 30 minutes by kayak to get there. Dry Tortugas National Park is America’s most remote national park only reached by boat or seaplane, offering amazing coral reef snorkeling. Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key offers one of the best natural stretches of sand in the Keys.
Lovers Key State Park

Lover’s Key State Park

Romantic Beaches and Serene Lagoons

Lovers Key State Park has protected beaches and mangrove forests for all to enjoy. Paddle a kayak or lounge under a beach umbrella. Explore serene canals and lagoons that are grazing spots for manatees and shorebirds. A lovely location with a pristine 2-mile beach.

Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park

Mangrove Forests and Manatees

Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park is the third largest Florida State Park located 40 minutes north of Fort Myers in Punta Gorda where visitors can hike, fish, paddle, and observe wildlife in the park’s diverse natural mangrove forests, marshes, scrub habitats and pine woods offering up close views of wading birds, manatees, dolphins and other wildlife. The park is best seen by kayak or canoe. Portions of two paddle trail systems wind through the park. Hikers and birdwatchers have access to three marked trails.
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park © David Shindle for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida
UU-Fotografie / www.uu-fotografie.com

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

Rare species and lush wildlife

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is the largest Florida State park and just over an hour’s drive from Fort Myers. It’s home to a variety of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the US. The park is divided into four main areas: Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, the East River, the Jones Grade Lakes, and Janes Memorial Scenic Drive which is the main access point to most of the park’s hiking and biking trails. All of the park trails are cleared logging roads from the 1940s through the 1960s.