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The Port’s Picks

Check out our monthly blog for our favorite local finds and the best area events, attractions and in-the-know ideas. 

  • florida everglades sunset

    Explore Wildlife and Peaceful Surroundings Off the Briggs Boardwalk

    Thanks to our close proximity to the Everglades, we’re no stranger to the beautiful, natural surroundings that South Florida has to offer.

    If you’re looking for another opportunity to soak up the scenic views, look no further than the Briggs Nature Center. Nearby on Marco Island, the Briggs center offers peaceful nature paths and the opportunity to appreciate wildlife in their natural habitat off Shell Island Road and the Briggs Boardwalk. Catch sight of gorgeous nighthawks, American alligators, tortoises, and much more as you make your way through the various habitats. The center has a number of volunteers close by, ready and willing to answer any wildlife questions you may have. Choose going on foot or remaining in your car down the main road, however you want to explore, you’ll surely enjoy the rewards of spending time in nature. Just a step away from civilization, the Briggs Boardwalk is exactly what South Florida is supposed to be—peaceful, diverse, and completely unique.

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  • stone crab claws

    Seafood and Music Festival

    The 2020 Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival is almost here! On Friday, March 20th through Sunday, March 22nd, visitors and locals alike will get to enjoy some of the freshest seafood and delicious, local specialties all while grooving to an incredible lineup of great live music.

    You will get to fill your plate with shrimp, crawdads, stone crab claws, grouper and more that's full of flavor you can’t find anywhere else but sunny South Florida. Arts and craft vendors will be out showing off a unique selection of items that will be hard to resist purchasing too! And the little ones will have fun as well, jumping in the bounce house and on the trampoline, as well as reaching new heights on the rock-climbing wall. Overall, it’s going to be a fantastic weekend and is conveniently just down the road from Port of the Islands.

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  • naples botanical gardens

    Music in the Garden

    Drop by the Naples Botanical Garden on Sunday, February 16th, for what is sure to be one of the best performances of the season – Music in the Garden.

    Among the backdrop of gorgeous plants and trees, you and your family will enjoy a beautiful performance by Kelly & Mason Duo from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Admission to the concert is included with the price of admission to the Naples Botanical Garden. General admission for adults is $19.95, children from ages 4 to 14 are admitted for $9.95, and children 3 years of age and under may visit for free. While no outside food or drink is allowed, the Fogg Café will be serving up delectable bites and refreshing drinks for purchase. Don’t miss out on your chance to maximize your visit to the gardens by pairing it with a soulful musical experience this February!

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  • flowers and photographs on display at arts and crafts show

    Art Fest Naples

    See what the best artists have to offer at Art Fest Naples at Fleischmann Park on Saturday, January 18th and Sunday, January 19th.

    Locals and visitors of beautiful South Florida are welcome to enjoy two full days of enjoying a lovely park setting and incredible pieces created by artists from all over. You and your family will observe art ranging from several mediums, including drawings, wearable fiber, jewelry, photography, paintings, sculptures, and much more.

    Art Fest has been a part of the Naples community since 1998 and was put together to benefit children with special needs, and their charitable work has continued ever since. This year’s show will help The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Naples’ Meals on Wheels program to provide nutritious meals to those in need. This organization has been providing up to 250 lunches every day for more than 20 years. So stop by during your stay at Port of the Islands and be a part of this great event.

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  • christmas boat parade

    Christmas Boat Parade

    It’s that time of year again—to watch in wonder as the Christmas Boat Parade sets sails on December 14th at 6:15 p.m.!

    At Naples Bay, just a short trip away from your accommodations at the Port of the Islands, you’ll find a family-friendly, free event like no other. Boats will travel along the bay decked out in their finest holiday décor, featuring this year’s theme—great Christmas movies! You and your family will be delighted and dazzled by the spectacular bobbles, garlands, and of course, intricate lighting displays that adorn each watercraft that passes through. It’s a unique way to spend the holidays in true Floridian style and a wonderful tradition to begin every year you come to visit. The boats will be judged based on their displays and several prizes will be given out in different categories. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds that are donated to the event will be given to the Ricky King Children’s Fund, so you can have a good time while giving back.

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  • sand sculpture

    Spectacular Sand Sculptures

    If you’re looking for a uniquely Florida event this season, then you’re in luck! The 33rd Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship and Beach Festival starts November 22nd right here on Fort Myers Beach. 

    These spectacular sand creations will inspire and delight you and the whole family. From amateurs to World-Class Master Sculptors, you’ll see a variety of sculptures as well as many demonstrations. There will even be a Quick Sand Speed Sculpting event, a kid’s activity area, live music, and a vendor village for you to purchase arts and crafts.

    The event lasts through December 1st and tickets for ages 5 and up are $8, while kids ages 4 and under get in for free. Family pack options are available as well, and the final Saturday of the festival’s “Sand Under the Stars” will admit guests for just $5 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for the last viewing of the displays.

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  • airboat in the florida everglades

    A Wild Ride

    Explore and experience the beauty of the Everglades in a whole new way when you book an airboat ride through our hotel’s connections.

    The professional airboat guide will have you cruising in comfort across the Everglades to see all of the beautiful wildlife and gorgeous, untamed landscape. You will go deep into the 200-acres of preserve land, and given the nature of the vehicle, you and your family will be able to not only travel on waterways but also over marshlands and paths as well. All passengers are given life jackets and noise-canceling headphones are available upon request to quiet the roar of the engine and propeller. The seats are cushioned and the vessel is state-of-the-art, so you are sure to have a comfortable and thrilling experience. Your family will conclude this tour not just as happy vacationers but also as experienced adventurers! Book today by calling (239) 389-7433.

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  • everglades national park florida

    Walking Eco-Tours

    Get a look at the incredible Florida Everglades with your own eyes. You and your family don’t have to rely on pictures and videos; you can take your own on Port of the Islands’ exclusive walking eco-tours! 

    Choose a dry or wet tour and let our experienced naturalist take you on a three-hour-long walk to discover the beauty of this wild location. You will learn about the area as it was when the tram roads were built and cypress was being logged, as well as the wildlife and plants that surround you as you walk along. The dry tour is considered an easy walk and the wet tour is considered moderate in difficulty, but either way, you are sure to have a memorable time. Conveniently, you don’t have to search for a tour group. We have all the information you need right where you’re staying at Port of the Islands.

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  • friends dining

    Satisfy Your Appetite

    After a long day out on the water kayaking and fishing with your family, only a fabulous dinner could make it even better.

    Conveniently, the Port of the Islands Resort is home to Angler’s Cove—the top choice for lunch or dinner for not only guests but locals as well. You won’t find a fresher Gulf shrimp cocktail or a more tender and flavorful roasted pork loin anywhere else. Angler’s Cove offers a diverse menu, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re in need of a quick Cuban sandwich or a relaxing steak dinner complete with cocktails. Happy Hour specials are available to kick-off your night, and on Saturdays, we liven things up with karaoke, so be sure to join us soon! We have just the right recipe for a fantastic night, just steps away from your accommodations at the Port of the Islands Resort.

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  • fourth of july sparklers

    Celebrate Independence Day on Marco Island

    There’s nothing quite like celebrating Independence Day in Southwest Florida. The impeccable waters, warm weather, and sunny sands are just a few things that make the Sunshine State such a dreamy place to be during the summer months.

    Now throw in fun festivities for the Fourth of July and you’ve got yourself the perfect vacation! On our nation’s Independence Day, head over to nearby Marco Island for a day of Floridian hospitality, great food and drinks, and a spectacular fireworks show to end the day. Show up with your best red, white, and blue attire and join the celebrations. No matter what you and the rest of your party have planned, just make sure you’re near the water by 9 p.m.—the island’s famous fireworks fly through the sky from a barge anchored in the Gulf of Mexico, with bright colors and patterns that are simply magical and authentically American.

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  • skeet shooting

    Try Something New at Gulf Coast Clays

    A fun day awaits at Gulf Coast Clay’s at the Port of the Islands. What’s in store, you ask? Clay shooting!

    This clay shooting range has been a popular destination for the area for the past 50 years and for good reason—the range offers trap, skeet, and sporting clays available for solo shooting or with friends. This exciting afternoon excursion is open to the public in off-season hours of Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.—the last call for sporting clays is at 2:30. Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned pro, you can still have an amazing time thanks to their experienced instructors, available for trap, skeet, and sporting lessons, depending on what you choose. Port of the Islands is an idyllic retreat to nature and a day spent at Gulf Coast Clay’s is the thrilling excursion you and your family will love!

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  • mother and daughter at museum

    Discover the History of the Everglades at the Museum

    While we serve as the gateway to the incredible Everglades of Florida, there’s so much more history to uncover at the nearby Museum of the Everglades.

    An easy 20-minute drive from our property, the museum is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the education and preservation of the Everglades and the surrounding area. Here you’ll find permanent exhibits that have a wealth of knowledge of the local history of the area. Learn about the explorers and adventurers dedicated to persevere and thrive in Florida’s “Last Frontier.” Everything from early Native American times to the present is covered in the museum, making for an educational, fun, and interesting stop during your visit to the famous Everglades. Even more so, you’ll find you’ll have a greater appreciation for the Everglades, and Florida in general, after an afternoon at the museum

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  • friends at food festivaljpg

    Celebrate Like a Local at the Annual Taste of Marco

    Kick your spring celebrations into high gear at the annual, and ever-popular, Taste of Marco!

    April 28 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., join in on the fun on Marco Island as the Esplanade bursts with energy from the island’s top restaurants and chefs, live music from local artists, and bubbling atmosphere. Relax with cool drinks including beer and wine, and bite into the flavorful dishes prepared by the area’s very best. Awards will be handed out, like the popular People’s Choice award, Best Theme, and more. This community event has been a favorite for years and all proceeds benefit the Marco YMCA Scholarship Fund. Take part in activities including kids games, giveaways, raffle prizes, and live entertainment to make your visit to this Marco Island tradition one for the books.
    Individual tickets: $8, Children under 12: Free. Food, drink, and game tickets: $1 increments

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  • lilly pads on pond

    Escape Into the Tranquil Land of the Naples Botanical Garden

    Less than a thirty-minute drive from our property is an opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and step into peaceful tranquility.

    At the Naples Botanical Garden, we love taking time for ourselves by touring the garden’s expansive grounds. Covering 170 acres, the Botanical Garden features elaborate gardens, seven different natural habitats and ecosystems, and over 1000 species of plants and flora to fawn over. It also happens to be the youngest garden in history to receive the prestigious American Public Garden award for Garden Excellence. And while you’re making your way through tranquil gardens like the Lea Asian and Water gardens, it’ll be all too easy to feel peacefully lost in paradise among the culture and history of the tropic flora surrounding you. Traveling with your little ones? Stop into the café on the property to refuel.

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  • grilled shrimp

    Feast Your Way Through the Annual Seafood Festival

    Foodie travelers can enjoy just that at the 48th annual Seafood Festival in the Everglades City on February 8, 9, and 10.

    With spring on the horizon comes great opportunities to dig into what Florida does best: food fests! Foodie travelers can enjoy just that at the 48th annual Seafood Festival in the Everglades City on February 8, 9, and 10. With the historic City Hall as the backdrop, visitors will experience three fun-filled days of live music, carnival rides, entertainment, and, of course, a whole lot of seafood. Feast on selections of stone crab, fried gator, fresh gulf shrimp, and more cooked to perfection by the region’s very best. Love a little history with your festivities? Everglades City is like stepping back in time. The area was settled in the 1870s and quickly became a destination for sports fishermen and farmers. While you’re in the area, set out and explore the many Olde Florida homes restored to their historic glory.

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  • music festival daytime

    Celebrate Everglades Culture at the Everglades Root Festival

    Explore an unseen side of the Everglades at the annual Everglades Root Festival!

    Held every year at the Trails Lake Campground in Ochopee, the festival is a celebration of the roots and culture of the Florida Everglades. Experience the beauty and serenity of the land with blues, bluegrass, and folk-rooted music in the heart of Big Cypress Swamp. A truly magical festival, visitors can listen to amazing live music and check out artwork inspired by the stunning surroundings of the Everglades. While a visit to the park can leave you with a thousand cherished memories, attending this festival sheds a light on a side of the Everglades—and the community—that you may not always get to see. With our close proximity to the park, we know how special a visit can be, so this celebration is definitely not to be missed!

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  • Admire the Lights at the Marco Island Holiday Boat Parade

    In between your seafood-filled dinners and beach walks, you won’t want to miss out on Marco Island’s Holiday Boat Parade!

    Joining us during the holiday season? We’re looking forward to being a part of your special time with family and friends. In between your seafood-filled dinners and beach walks, you won’t want to miss out on Marco Island’s Holiday Boat Parade! On December 8, stake out a great spot on the Marco River and Collier Bay from 6-8 p.m. As the event takes-off, watch as decorated boats cruise bay, decked out in tons of colorful lights and holiday displays. The boat parade is a fun tradition that both locals and visitors look forward to each year to show how Marco Island does holidays! Grab your loved ones, pick your favorite decorated boat, and admire all of the amazing lights. Not only will it be a thrilling evening out, but the memory will carry on the holiday spirit throughout the rest of the month.

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  • Crab Claws and Great Company at the Stone Crab Fest!

    Just because the fall season has begun doesn’t mean the summer festivities have to end!

    You can enjoy the best of weather and seafood at the annual Stone Crab Festival all weekend long October 26-28. Taking place at several locations throughout the Old Naples Waterfront (including Tin City, Bayfront, Port of Naples Marina and Experience Naples), the crab fest is our invitation to you to say goodbye to your diet and indulge in some delicious bites. Throughout the entire weekend, you can enjoy cool activities, art booths, live music, and the freshest stone crab claws you can get your hands on! Round up your family, grab some great food, and soak up the great weather and company Friday, Saturday, or Sunday afternoon. You’ll love the food, but you’ll love the fun atmosphere and community even more.

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  • Open-AIr, Waterfront Shopping at The Esplanade

    We’ve talked about the fun festivals and tourist stops at nearby Marco Island, but we’ve yet to share one of our favorite places for when you’re in desperate need of some retail therapy: The Esplanade Shoppes.

    Located on the stunning Smokehouse bay, the coastal village-style shopping is home to small boutiques, popular high-end retailers, and fine dining restaurants. Perfect for an afternoon or special evening out with your significant other, The Esplanade Shoppes provides the ideal setting for a waterfront stroll—complete with the best shops to peruse and sift through. Admire the detailed architecture and lush landscape of bright florals, plants, and fountains, the Esplanade Shoppes are like your very own tropical oasis, tucked away. Whether you plan on arriving by foot, car, or boat (yes, it’s possible!), you’ll love the relaxed feeling of an elegant stroll in coastal Italy, right here in Florida.

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  • Start Your Day at the Open Air Farmers Market

    Nothing says ‘good morning’ like fresh produce and community spirit. Every Saturday morning beginning at 7:30 you have the chance to start your day right at the Naples Open Air Farmers Market.

    A popular weekly event for both locals and visitors, you can find all of the fresh produce, baked goods and artisanal products you ever need right in one place. Consider your morning breakfast taken care of with a fresh, juicy piece of fruit, or gather your favorite items to bring back for a night in. While one of the best parts of vacation is discovering all the amazing dining options available, sometimes there’s nothing better than a whole meal to wind down an amazing day. Located in the 3rd Street South area, the Open Air Farmers Market is perfect to stroll with friends, family, or solo to experience a fun Naples weekly tradition.

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  • Enjoy Live Music and Breathtaking Views of the Gulf

    The Gulf’s summer festivities go far beyond the 4th of July.

    Throughout our summer months—and really, they last nearly all year—you can experience beach fun by day and great jazz music by night. Summer Jazz on the Gulf is Naples’ concert series where you can catch live jazz music while soaking in the dreamy views of the Gulf of Mexico. With a variety of jazz performers, there’s always a little something for everyone during the concert series, and attendees will love the gorgeous sunset start to the evening. Grab your friends and family, or travel solo, and relax in lawn chairs on the green at 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. Once the evening wraps up, grab an ice cream on your way back to our grounds and unwind as you head back to our hidden oasis—we’ll be waiting for you!

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  • Summer at the Everglades

    Joining us in June? You’ve come at the right time. Visiting the Everglades in the summer months may lend for higher temps and tropical rain, but it also means fewer crowds on your trip.

    At times, it even feels like you have the place to yourself. The official end to the dry season is Memorial Day weekend, and after that, you can immerse yourself into a unique time at the Everglades. The summer months are when the wetland prepares to create a new thriving habitat for the wildlife. And while spring is saved for alligator mating season, in August you may even hear the cries of new baby alligators first starting to explore their home. Come prepared with a hat, plenty of water and SPF, and you’ll be able to experience the Everglades in a way not most get to see. Whether you’re on foot or boat tour, summer is a wonderful time to explore the national park.

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  • StayInMay Brings the World of Art to Naples

    Travel the art-globe without leaving Naples as the StayInMay Festival continues on with fun, artistic events through May 12. Every year, StayInMay—originally known as the ArtsNaples World Festival—brings the very best of the cultural arts to our very own Naples.

    With artists from Russia, Latin America, Italy, France, and more, the festival gives audiences a glimpse into the vibrant art created and performed all over the world. Although the celebration officially started at the end of April, May is continuing strong with events including performances by Seraphic Fire (Florida’s Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble) and an Organ Tour with Pipedreams Talk-Show Host Michael Barone, the Art Deco Meet, and a Mind & Music event with Angela Sanders and Glen Estrin. Each event is held at a different location, so it’s also a fun way for you to tour all of Naples most popular spots. Purchase tickets ahead of time here.

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  • Nearby Boat Tours to Take You Through the Everglades

    What’s the best part about being the gateway to the famous Everglades? In addition to the breathtaking views, it’s our close proximity to a number of boat tours that can take you on a ride right through the national preserve.

    If you’re planning an Everglades afternoon—and we highly suggest you do!—consider a few of these nearby companies:

    Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides: Cruise through the scenic waterways of the expansive preserve for a chance to spot alligators, turtles, osprey, and more.

    Double R’s Fishing and Tours: The fully narrated tour boasts a knowledgeable guide and the possibility of spotting popular wildlife including alligators, dolphins, and even the American Bald Eagle.

    See Manatees: Run by Captains Barry and Carol, Manatees are the main focus on these tours, though tours also offer guests a view of other wildlife in their natural habitat.

    *tours cannot guarantee any wildlife sightings

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  • Dig Into Great Food and Music at the Marco Island Seafood + Music Festival

    The 2018 Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival March 23-March 25, will have you living on island time with great music, food, and drink to enjoy. 

    Looking to spend your time here the laid-back Floridian way? There’s no better way to live like a local than to eat like one. And you’ll have the chance to do so this March, when Marco Island will host the 2018 Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival March 23-March 25. Join in on the weekend’s full schedule of fun live music and great food and drink. Participating vendors will be cooking up some of the freshest seafood around including crab, lobster, and shrimp, while beer and wine vendors will bring their favorites to wash it all down. Bring the young ones to the kid’s zone with a bounce house, rock climbing wall and trampoline, and be sure to check out all of the arts and crafts booth. And while we boast incredible weather year round, there’s nothing quite like an island spring day enjoying good sunshine, food, music and company.

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  • Your Perfect Day Trip to Marco Island

    Just a 20-minute drive from our grounds is the beautiful Marco Island with of miles of sandy beaches, sunny marinas, and plenty of  activities for the whole family. 

    Just a 20-minute drive from our grounds is the beautiful Marco Island. A barrier isle situated in the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is a retreat of miles of sandy beaches, sunny marinas, and plenty of recreational activities for the whole family. Here are a few of our favorite stops on the island:

    The Rookery Bay Reserve is the home of over 100,000 acres of coastal estuaries and provides visitors with an opportunity to kayak off the reserve for a peaceful ride through nature’s beauty.

    Frank E. Mackle Community Park is your ideal picnic spot with plenty of space to spread out and get comfortable. The park has a playground for the young ones, as well as shuffleboard, bocce, and sport courts to pass the time together.

    Tigertail Beach is a must-see. This white-sand sanctuary has a tidal lagoon, a bathhouse, and colorful seashells to sift through along the shoreline.

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  • Port of the Islands Marina: A Boater's Dream

    With direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Ten Thousand Islands—the backside of our famous Everglades—the Port of the Islands Marina is a boater’s dream, and also one of the largest live aboard marinas in the state.

    One of the things we love most about the Port of the Islands is how close we are to so many tropical destinations. Through us, you can truly make the most of your retreat with a new adventure each day. And the Port of the Islands Marina will make sure that’s exactly what happens. With direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Ten Thousand Islands—the backside of our famous Everglades—the marina is a boater’s dream, and also one of the largest live aboard marinas in the state. Vacation rentals and boat slip rentals are available, but they also offer live shrimp and fishing charter services, and fun manatee and eco tours too. Get a rental for the afternoon and soak up the sun while cruising up the coast of Naples. Whatever has you yearning for a day on the boat, the Marina will help make that dream a reality. 

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  • Expedition Everglades

    With so much to do, a day spent at the Everglades is simply an unforgettable trip. Beautiful coastal mangroves, marshes, and pine flatwoods will create the perfect backdrop for whatever outdoor activities are in store. 

    With so much to do, a day spent at the Everglades is simply an unforgettable trip. This U.S. National Park protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades and provides ample outdoor activities to partake in while exploring over the 1.5 million-acre wetlands. Beautiful coastal mangroves, marshes, and pine flatwoods will create the perfect backdrop for whatever fun activities your family will get up to. Hop on a few bikes to check out Shark Valley, Snake Bight Trail, and the Long Pine Key Nature Trail. Or, sign up for a guided boat tour through the water to spot alligators and other wild wonders in their natural habitat. If you forget your "sea" legs, some of southern Florida's most beautiful and diverse landscape is best seen on your own two feet. Go for a leisurely walk on trails like the Flamingo, Pine Island, and more. No matter what you do, the Everglades are bound to be a beautiful, sunny--so don't forget that sunscreen!--and memorable adventure. 

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