With so much green land and its typically sunny weather, Florida is full of good options for traveling and enjoying the great outdoors. Through my own experiences going up, down and around the south Florida region, I know there are a lot of things to do to and places to see to appreciate Mother Nature.
Keeping them clean is a major responsibility for the maintenance rangers and the people.
The beaches are some of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. Near many of them you'll find a marina where you can pay to go parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, or even a short paddle boat ride, canoeing or whitewater rafting! Many activities are at your fingertips, thanks to Florida's proximity to water.
Almost all the beaches in south Florida will have at least one volleyball net. The numerous boardwalks make exercise like rollerblading, skateboarding and biking possible and also make Florida a great state for environmentalists. A simple walk down a dirt path, like the one pictured above, alongside Dania Beach can create a mindful relaxing state of mind.
One of the more secluded options is St. Petersburg Beach, known for its sense of quiet.
A more well-known, somewhat busy option is the stretch of beach from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. Go down a little further for the topless area at Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach offers bars and a restaurant with a comforting, outdoor lounge surrounded in white cotton linens. At night it transforms into a hot nightlife spot, Club Pearl which is on the second level and full of DJs and diverse music.
Why spend money on an Orlando theme park when the majority of the naturally gorgeous regions are in south Florida? Enjoy the sunny, beautiful areas that south Florida has to offer. After all, Ponce de Leon didn't originally name it "La Florida," the land of flowers, for nothing!
There are plenty of theme parks and recreational sites to enjoy in Florida, but I want to share opportunities that you may never see again or at least an experience for gaining new knowledge.
Photo: Rose Aviles
• A good time to visit south Florida is summertime, during the months of June and July, when turtle season occurs. The Museum of Discovery and Science offers a turtle tour that begins at the museum and leads participants to Fort Lauderdale Beach around 9 p.m. to look for the endangered nesting turtles. The museum also offers great information about other endangered species. They offer another tour that focuses on endangered turtles, such as loggerheads and leatherbacks. If you can't take a museum tour, take a late night walk on the beach and you are likely to encounter a nest of sea turtles.
• Another option is whale watching. South Florida has many boats available for this excursion.
• Want to see other animals? At SeaWorld or Miami Seaquarium you can interact with animals in their own safe habitats. But if you would rather see them in the wild, visit Manatee Park where they allow not only feeding but also donations for saving the mammals. The Palm Beach Zoo is also a great site, deep in a jungle-like scene, surrounded by an enormous number of huge green trees and birds flocking the area. Here you can feed particular animals. Donations are also accepted.
Exposure to the cultural world of South Florida, Little Havana has a blend of cultivating belly-filling meals, to educational monuments all throughout the little city. Side bilingual streets filled with memories of the refugee history, and Cuban legends who led throughout the struggles also surround the town. Little Havana can be greatly compared to the real town of Havana, Cuba, only as a miniature, more Americanized version. According to the Travel Channel, it is one of the top five places to visit in south Florida, and has a lot to offer for the young and the old.
Domino Park in little Havana is where the elders get together to compete in numerous ongoing domino games -- where the competition is fierce. Among the many rules, the most important is that you must be over the age of 55. When I last visited Little Havana in March, Iw was introduced to a melting pot of Latin cultures -- 23 blocks filled with the culture's diversity, foods, music -- and, of course, Cuban cigars -- plus some of the strongest coffee your tastebuds will ever be exposed to!
Mounts Botanical Garden is another place I would recommend. I've had hands-on experience in this 13-acre spacious botanical garden. The air is so clean and refreshing! It's a fresh escape. Unimaginable flowers exist in this great sea of blossoms.
This site in West Palm Beach is sure to be accompanied by the most outrageously beautiful flying insects: butterflies. Designed to be a resource for gardeners, this garden attracts all green lovers. The best day to go is Sunday, when you can get a free tour of the garden. Because admission is free, the garden welcomes donations. You can help protect this gorgeous botanical garden.
Photos: Rose Aviles