Best Wildlife Photography in Florida
Florida is definitely not all about Disney and the world-class beaches. The Sunshine State is full of natural surprises and diversity that bring a wealth of opportunities for animal lovers. Nicely tucked away from the crowded city life, the remote islands, wildlife refuges, and national parks will not disappoint the wildlife photographers. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best places for wildlife photography in Florida.
12 Best Places in Florida for Wildlife Photography
- Everglades National Park: Home to innumerable rare and endangered species, including the elusive Florida panther, American crocodile, and manatee, the Everglades is not just an American treasure but a World Heritage Site. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country and an international biosphere reserve. An ultimate potpourri of wildlife, water, and wonder – the 2,500 sq. mile swampland lures you into the mysterious mangroves.
- Loggerhead Marinelife Center: A sea turtle research, education, conservation, rehabilitation center, Loggerhead Marinelife Center or LMC is a unique nonprofit cultural center focused on ocean and sea turtle conservation. The Center was established in 1983 to protect and promote ocean ecosystems. You may marvel at marine-themed interactive exhibits, get some snaps of the artifacts, tropical fish, and shells.
- J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge: Sanibel Island is majorly thronged by adventure lovers and nature seekers. These days, wildlife photographers are heading to the island to adorn their Instagram page with Roseate Spoonbills, herons, cuckoos, ospreys, and other colorful birds. Spend an entire day roaming around the 6,300-acre refuge, hike and bike through the trails, and take unique snaps of the crocs before returning to Sanibel Island vacation condos.
- Ocala National Forest: If you happen to be in central Florida, make the most of your stay by heading to the Ocala National Forest. Peppered with cypress trees, pine forests, and gum swamps, the national forest boasts 100 miles of natural dwelling where white-tailed deer, gopher tortoise, wild boar, alligators, and other species live in harmony. It has 360,000 acres of hiking trails to cool you off. The natural trails escape you to natural springs, such as Silver Glen Springs, Alexander Springs, and Juniper Springs.
- Three Sisters Springs: A natural inlet on the east side of Kings Bay, Three Sisters Springs in Citrus Country is a 57-acre oasis on Crystal River known for being an important manatee viewing area. Embark on a boat ride and capture close shots of manatees. Take some rest or swim, canoe, and kayak after getting the shot you wanted.
- Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge: Part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, the 900-acre Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect the Loggerhead and Green sea turtles. On a guided tour, you will be blessed with the rare views of the rare leatherback turtles and endangered green turtles on this 20-mile long refuge. The refuge can be accessed from Melbourne Beach.
- Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge: Thousands of water birds, during the summer, roost on the coastal islands. Manatees feed within the refuge and are provided shelter from the cold winter months. Cuckoos can be heard calling from the mangroves as they reach their natural habitat. Rare reptiles, including diamondback terrapin, can also be taken into consideration for your photo session. The refuge is in southwest Florida between Everglades City and Marco Island.
- Shell Island: Obviously, you wouldn’t want to take pictures of animals confined to an artificial aquarium. When you reach Shell Island, you will be awe-struck to find dolphins in their natural surroundings. Take a boat and sail into the water or you may opt for snorkeling as bottlenose dolphins are often spotted interacting with snorkelers.
- Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: A short drive from your Merritt Island vacation rentals is located Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Covering a massive area of 140,000 acres, the wildlife refuge on the Atlantic coast is home to 1,000 species of plants, 68 amphibians and reptiles, 31 mammal species, 330 birds, 117 fish species, and 21 endangered species. Drive along the seven-mile Black Point Wildlife Drive, hike through the picturesque footpaths, or rent a kayak to take pictures of alligators, bald eagles, and bobcats.
- Paynes Prairie Preserve: As you bike or hike through the untouched wilderness, you have an opportunity to spot wild bison and horses roaming freely. The Preserve encompasses an area of 21,000 acres savanna in Micanopy and its expansive wetlands, scenic lake areas, and forest trails never leave any stone unturned to keep the visitors fully engrossed. It is the state’s first preserve – geologically, biologically, and historically unique.
- Dry Tortugas National Park: Accessible only by seaplane or boat, Dry Tortugas National Park is home to a myriad of attractions including marine life and coral reefs, the regal Fort Jefferson, crystal clear blue waters, and diverse bird life. A family-friendly destination in Florida, the 100-square-mile national park lies 70 miles west of Key West and offers extensive photography opportunities to budding wildlife photographers. Bird watching, snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving are the popular activities to get engaged in this archipelago of seven reef islands.
- Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge: Here, you get to see endangered and threatened wild species and have a concern for them. Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge occupies 1,091 acres of the area where 40 species of animals dwell in peace. Travelers can take part in various activities such as wildlife viewing & photography, fishing, etc.
Did you manage to get your perfect shot? If no, why not stay one more day extra and complete the task? To stay in the Sunshine State, browse Search Florida Rentals for the best Florida vacation rentals. Be it east, west, south, or north, SFR has got the best place for you. If you are looking for more photography spot outside wildlife check out the best places for photography in Florida.