As one of the first national preserves established in 1974, this 720,000 acre wet cypress preserve is teeming with a diverse array of plants and animals. Depending on how adventurous you feel, you may opt to schedule an airboat tour or to hike on your own.
If you visit during the dry, winter months, you may be able to catch a ranger-led hike. You'll catch some endangered species, such as the Eastern Indigo Snake, West Indian Manatee, and the Florida Sandhill Crane. Other aspects of the indigenous population require you to exercise caution and pre-hiking preparation. The ever-present alligators mingle with venomous snakes, a large variety of shorebirds, Florida panthers and black bears among the mangroves and orchids.