Down Under in Florida - Page 2

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Florida Wetlands
Here There Be 'Gators: Florida's Wetlands  (PhotoDisc)

Day 2: Everglades Park to Collier-Seminole National Park (20 Miles)
Head to Everglades City, the western access to Everglades National Park, via Highway 41 and Route 29. Stop at the Visitor Center (239.695.3311) and sign up for the daily 90-minute naturalist-narrated boat tour through mangrove forest, or, with older kids, do the four-hour ranger-guided canoe tour, offered three days weekly.

After lunch at the historic Rod & Gun Club in Everglades City (239.695.2101) head to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (239.695.4593; www.floridastateparks.org/fakahatcheestrand), known for its wild orchids. Either drive along W.J. Janes Memorial Scenic Drive, a 11-mile (one way) dirt road through royal palms and wading birds with hiking trails spurring off of it, or walk the 2,000-foot boardwalk at Big Cypress Bend. Spend the night camping at nearby Collier-Seminole State Park (239.642.8898; www.floridastateparks.org/collier-seminole), which provides full facilities, including a washer and dryer. Hike, bike, or canoe the trails.

Day 3: Collier-Seminole Park to Homestead (95 Miles)
Drive back east across Highway 41 and follow Route 997 south to Homestead. Get down under with an afternoon snorkeling excursion out of Biscayne National Park (305.230.7275; www.nps.gov/bisc). Spend the night at one the inexpensive chains in the Homestead/Florida City area. Downtown Homestead is known for its authentic Hispanic cuisine; try El Toro Taco (305.245.8182).

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