Wildlife Refuge & Reserves In Florida – Best Western Hotels

  

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Wildlife Refuge & Reserves in Florida

With such diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife, Florida is swarming with wildlife refuges & reserves in every region.  One of South Florida's natural treasures, Everglades National Park is home to 1.5 million acres of swamps, prairies, and jungles, where rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian Manatee live.   Explore the marshes and swamplands by airboat or canoe, or hike miles of trails scenic landscapes and unspoiled habitats.

Spanning 5,200 acres, the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southwest Florida Gulf Coast near Fort Myers. Named for the conservation-heavy cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling – or Ding Darling – the refuge features bird watching, nature viewing, and education center, and the Wildlife Drive, all on Sanibel Island.

Covering over 140,000 acres, the Merritt Island National Refuge is a major wintering area for migratory birds. Originally established as a buffer zone for the John F. Kennedy Space Center, this refuge features seven distinct habitat types lying on the east central Florida coast. Catch glimpses of over 500 wildlife species at this Titusville refuge, including bald eagle nests, osprey nests, up to 400 manatees, and the elusive Florida scrub jay.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Covering over 140,000 acres, the Merritt Island National Refuge is a major wintering area for migratory birds.

Originally established as a buffer zone for the John F. Kennedy Space Center, this refuge features seven distinct habitat types lying on the east central Florida coast.

Catch glimpses of over 500 wildlife species at this Titusville refuge, including bald eagle nests, osprey nests, up to 400 manatees, and the elusive Florida scrub jay.

Hop on Black Point Wildlife Drive for a 7-mile auto tour, and don't miss stopping at the Manatee Observation Deck.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1931, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 68,000 acres on the northwestern Florida coast. Set on the Gulf of Mexico near Crawfordville, the site is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge features bird watching and nature viewing, plus nature trails, cycling, hunting, and more. While there, be sure to see the Historic St. Marks Lighthouse.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Spanning 5,200 acres, the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on the southwest Florida Gulf Coast near Fort Myers. The site was established in 1976 as a member of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System.

Named for the conservation-heavy cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling – or Ding Darling – the refuge features bird watching, nature viewing, and education center, and the Wildlife Drive, all on Sanibel Island.

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge

An undeveloped barrier island which helps protect Apalachicola from the Gulf of Mexico’s occasionally stormy waters, St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge offers Florida Panhandle guests ten habitat types to explore. You can see tidal marshlands, freshwater lakes, scrub oaks, and dunes.

Abundant native wildlife can be found everywhere and the refuge is also a haven for migratory birds and other traveling species. Human visitors are welcome to enjoy everything from bird watching to kayaking in the bay. Make the most of your next visit to Apalachicola with a tour of the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge.

Rookery Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve

Sporting a 16,500 square-foot visitors center, the Rookery Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve seeks to empower and educate visitors on the latest research and preservation efforts of Rookery Bay and the wildlife around Naples and the southwest Florida Gulf Coast.

Explore a variety of hands-on experiences when visiting, including taking in a 2,300-gallon aquarium and seeing interactive exhibits. Classes are also freely available and are held in the four research laboratories and 140-seat auditorium.