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. 

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. 

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