Florida: From The Everglades To The Keys
When you think of Florida, the first thing that comes to mind is likely the beach. And that’s a totally valid response—the state has hundreds of miles of some of the best beaches in the U.S., which attract tens of millions of visitors every year. But just as there’s more to Orlando than the theme parks, there’s so much more to Florida than white sand and surf.
We discovered this last month on a trip through the diverse landscapes and sites of South Florida. In Everglades National Park, we joined a ranger on hikes through what is one of the most significant wetlands in the world and the Western Hemisphere’s largest mangrove ecosystem. As many as 350 species of birds, dozens of reptiles including the U.S. crocodile, and mammals such as the manatee all make their home in and are protected by the park.
Heading south, the land thins into tiny ribbons, taking shape as the Florida Keys and the 110-mile Overseas Highway (Highway 1) that connects them. It’s all about the water here, with options from stand-up paddle boarding, to fishing, to strapping on a water-powered jetpack and cruising above the waves—and we did them all.
Just because the road ends at Key West doesn’t mean the journey has to. From here, we hopped a boat (or you can take a seaplane) about 70 miles west to Dry Tortugas National Park. In addition to preserving Fort Jefferson, a mid-19th-century US masonry fortress, the park is a sanctuary for tropical birds and other marine life. Scuba diving, kayaking, and camping are just some of the activities on offer, a perfect way to end a trip of discovery to this far corner of the United States.
–Filmmakers and Outdoor Enthusiasts Corey Warren and Will Drake