Florida Preserves

Over a thousand acres in Florida are protected for the purposes of keeping ecological systems as they are and untouched by humans. Florida’s preserves include aquatic preserves, national estuarine research reserves, national marine sanctuaries, coral reef conservations and much, much more.

Big Talbot Island State park is a beautiful preserve that allows its visitors to take in the nature that surrounds them. The park is open from 8 in the morning until sundown every single day of the year. The boat ramp is available 24 hours a day, so guests can come here to take their boats out on the water. The remarkable thing about this state park is the Boneyard Beach. The trunks and twisted limbs of fallen trees are a beautiful sight and is quite the spot for photography practice. Guests can also fish, ride their bicycle, bird-watch, go hiking, picnicking, and pick up sea shells along the beaches waves. 

This three thousand acre site preserves the largest amount of standing scrub in all of St Lucie County, and it holds more than twenty miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You can spot wildlife in the observation deck, like hogs, alligators, red-shoulder hawks, and meadowlarks. Some of the natural views found here are the bay-gall swamps, scrubby and pine flatwoods, as well as prairie hammocks. It was primarily used as a hunting retreat back in the 30's, and now, Bluefield Ranch Preserve is a wonderful experience for those looking to enjoy nature.

A 470-acre forest that was the first property ever bought by the Brevard County EEL program as part of a sanctuary network to preserve a diversity of habitats. Wildlife observation, nature photography, and hiking across several miles of trails are among the popular activities that visitors can partake in their visit at Brevard County Enchanted Forest Sanctuary. 

What is essentially a series of islands in the South Eastern region of Tampa Bay, Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park does not actually have cockroaches on the property. What early Spanish explorers called "cockroaches" were nothing more than horseshoe crabs, and at one point, there was an abundance of these little sea critters. While the islands are 617 acres, about 500 of those acres are mangrove swamp, which makes it the perfect place for fisherman and/or birdwatchers. Keep in mind the islands are only accessible by watercraft so there are no actual facilities on them. In two small creeks along the shores, canoeing and kayaking is allowed. 

Some of the activities that can be done at Crystal River Preserve State Park include bicycling, fishing, hiking, walking, and running. There are also boat tours available to take visitors through the rarity that is the spring-fed body of water that is the Crystal River to see how it supports the sea and wildlife with it being both fresh and salt water. Boat tours are about one and half hours long for those who are interested. There is a seven-mile loop trail that is away from the simpler trails of the state park that's perfect for those who love to go off the beaten path. 

If you're interested in learning more about Port St Lucie's history, The Spruce Bluff Preserve is a great place to experience it! There are two trails detailing the early pioneer settlement along the St. Lucie River. Significant sites are the Native American mound and pioneer cemetery along your trail. There is a lot to observe, and hiking and canoeing is available to those interested in the natural experience!

St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge is a part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. Established in 1971, it is a 6,255 acre piece if land that was set aside to protect the dusky seaside sparrow. Unfortunately, the species was declared extinct in 1990, but the area is still filled with other sorts of birds and animals such as the indigo snake, American alligator, and crested caracara. Make sure to call before taking a trip to St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge because the land is sometimes closed off to the public for a variety of reasons. 

One of the last coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast. Discover years of human history and experience the beauty of salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks in a beautiful historical Florida setting. The Timucuan Preserve includes Fort Caroline and the Kingsley Plantation.

There aren't too many salt water marshes on the Gulf of Mexico, but at Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, there are a lot of natural habitats on display. Swamps, hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, and scrub are just a few of the nature scenes that await the studier of nature and/or photographer. It's also a great place for wildlife observation since the area is completely natural. Hikers and off-road bicyclists will also enjoy their time here with the miles of trails that wind through the park. In certain areas of the park, the shallow waters of the creeks make for the perfect canoeing and kayaking waters, and rentals of these items are near the city of Cedar Key if you don't have your own.

Salt water marsh

Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary is a 44 acre preserve that protects marshes and wildlife. There is a one mile hiking trail that circles the sanctuary for people who wish to explore the premise. 

Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary