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By John Robson

South Florida
Bounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and split up the middle by Lake Okeechobee and the river of grass known as the Everglades, South Florida offers a flat, wet landscape ideal for outdoor exploration. Just a few degrees of global warming shy of being permanently underwater, this semi-tropical environment offers many adventures that put water into play in one form or another. Fortunately, these waters are most conducive to fun, with Caribbean clarity, therapeutic warmth, and abundant wildlife. Furthermore, you can take your pick of venue, from open ocean, protected bays, and large lakes to primeval mangrove trails, bonefishing flats, and spooky Everglades swamps.

But don't think the cool stuff is Florida's only offering. Miles of flat terrain and preserved land serve up opportunities for the rest of us as well. Hike the trails of the famed Everglades one day and paddle whitewater the next. Though not without its share of development, the southern peninsula's environment remains relatively clean, with few of the pollution problems that plague many coastal regions with metropolitan centers dotting its shores. Even the heavily populated, gleaming population centers of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach host inviting networks for hiking, biking, paddling, and open water for diving, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and SCUBA diving. Though often plagued by tourists, the vast majority of South Florida's vacationers head for the excitement of Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West—with perhaps an obligatory drive to see the Everglades—leaving most of the natural wonders of the area for the rest of us to enjoy. And enjoy we do. Whether you're deep in the 'Glades or gliding past high-rises and mansions, there's adventure to be found at every turn.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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