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“Terrific place for wildlife”

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park & Boardwalk
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Florida Everglades Swamp Walking Eco-Tour
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Copeland
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: At more than 85,000 acres, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is Florida's largest state park. More native orchid species, including the rare Ghost Orchid,grow in this wilderness than anywhere else in the United States. The park's wildlife is as diverse as its flora. Rare species such as the American crocodile and West Indian manatee live in the waterways to the south, while Florida black bears, Everglades mink and endangered Florida panthers inhabit orther regions of the park. For many, the most memorable introduction to this wilderness is a swamp walk. strolling through the slow moving slough waters with a Friends of Fakahatchee naturalist.
Martinsburg, West Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
65 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Terrific place for wildlife”
Reviewed 21 March 2014

This park is on the right (north) side of Rt.41 a few miles east of the Rt. 29 intersection. You have to park and walk the path and boardwalk about a quarter of a mile to a large gator hole. I have visited this park numerous time and each visit is different.

Late winter and early spring seems to be a good time to see lots of birds and a couple of gators. This trip I made two visits and each was different. First time there were a lot more birds including several wood storks, blue and night herons and more. Second trip there were mostly Ibis and a few Egrets. Along the boardwalk there is an active eagles nest with on fledgling. We were able to watch it as it spread id wings practicing to leave the nest. We also saw the parents bringing food to the nest.

Definitely worth the visit but don't be too disappointed if you get there and there aren't many birds. Try going back at another time of day.

Janes scenic drive is in another area several miles away. It is a crap shoot for wildlife long, sandy, bumpy road.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank Richard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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197 reviews from our community

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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
125 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Nice boardwalk over nature preserve, eagle nest, large gators,”
Reviewed 20 March 2014

I see confusing reviews posted. I don't know what road or scenic drive the other reviewers are writing about. I never saw that part. I think we saw the best part of the park. We entered on Highway 41, sign says "Indian Village". We parked on the highway, walked toward the park entrance and saw a 6-7 foot gator lying in the roadside ditch. It was rolling and eating fish and was entertaining if you like gators. Because it was just 5 feet from my entire family, I was scared of it, but everyone else was standing near it taking photos.
We walked on the boardwalk. It is behind the gift shop at the indian village. It was very informative. I believe this is natural florida everglades at its best. The foliage is very dense, signs on the boardwalk tell about some of the more interesting plants and animals. We saw an eagles nest in the top of an old Cypress, no eagle in it at that moment, but still cool to see.
At the end of the boardwalk is a pond of sorts containing 2 VERY large alligators. They are only 20-30 feet from the viewing platform. We watched them for a while as they ate fish and tried to catch a bird. The admission to the boardwalk is free but suggested donation is 3 dollars per person.

Visited March 2014
Thank emomshart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
160 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“What "Old Florida" looked like”
Reviewed 19 March 2014

I didn't get a lot out of my drive through Fakahatchee Strand Preserve SP & Boardwalk. In fact, I never found the boardwalk? I also didn't find a lot to see. There were a few birds - Wood Stork, some Egrets, a Heron, and Black Vultures. But, most of the ride was along a rather bumpy, sometimes with large potholes, dirt road with dense foliage on both sides. Unlike some of the other reviews, I never saw an alligator. The one interesting thing I saw was, as I was leaving, a group of vultures enjoying a dead raccoon. I doubt I'll put this on my "return to" list.

Visited March 2014
Thank gdadtraveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Back again”
Reviewed 18 March 2014 via mobile

The Big Cypress Bend boardwalk never fails to deliver. My wife, two teenage daughters and I always enjoy the walk back to the alligator hole. Saw four alligators, three turtles, a pileated woodpecker and a juvenile and adult bald eagle at the nest. Also saw multi other birds. Absolutely with the walk.

1 Thank judgejim09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nice drive if you have the right information”
Reviewed 18 March 2014

Janes scenic drive includes some nice forest and swamp country. We did not see much wildlife but I think we were unlucky.
The BIG BUT is that the road is as bad as some of the other reports and trying to get out at the top of the trail is very risky even with Sat-Nav as there are numerous closures.
Take the trail if you have an SUV but turn roundabout half way when the road bends North - after that the road gets even worse and there is less to see.

Visited March 2014
Thank david537
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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