Florida: Visit the wild side of the Gulf Coast

Florida possesses two incredible features, which are Florida Keys and Everglades. They are the wild side of Florida. The first one is at sea, whereas the second one is in the lands. Visiting those places is definitely something to do if you plan on visiting this state of the U.S.


Wild Florida at sea: the world-famous Keys presents an exciting diving museum and Marathon hosts a real turtle hospital. The Overseas Highway leaves Marathon via the famous 7-Mile Bridge, flying over the waters during Since 1938, the “highway over the sea” seas Highway) spans the straits that separate the 43 main islands of the Keys, with the Atlantic on the left and the Gulf of Mexico on the right.

What to do in Florida Keys?

About 250 km further, the expedition ends at Key West, the southernmost point in the United States. Calmer and more authentic, the other islands have retained the ambiance of the 1960s television series, Flipper the dolphin. The Keys are ideal for diving and snorkeling, sea kayaking, and bird watching. Indeed, swimming is very pleasant, especially in summer, when the water exceeds … 30 ° C!

Diving on the 3rd largest coral reef in the world

diver with palms surrounded by fishes
Picture from @jaystray

On the diving side, the Keys, resting on the 3rd largest coral reef in the world, reveal a true underwater paradise, with nearly 500 wrecks that dot the coral reef. Key Largo especially attracts lovers of the seabed. Its protected park completes the immense Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary which extends further south to the Dry Tortugas, encompassing more than 7,500 square meters seabed. Islamorada, a big fishing spot 11 km to the Lower Keys, which offers the more natural face of the archipelago.

Video from @borntosea

If you are lucky enough, you may see eagle rays.

eagle ray swimming in a coral reef
An eagle ray swimming in Florida Keys. Picture from @jaystray

The legendary Key West is the best place to finish your Keys trip. Everywhere, centuries-old trees, gardens teeming with hibiscus, bougainvillea, palm trees, and other tulip trees … The streets are lined with Caribbean-style wooden houses. white, pink, sky blue, or mint green in the water, having sometimes belonged to illustrious characters like Tennessee Williams, President Truman, and especially Hemingway, historic figure of the island with its house-museum and its two favorite bars! Notice to moviegoers John Huston’s 1948 film, Key Largo, performed by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, was actually shot … in Hollywood. Consolation prize: you can see on the harbor the African Queen, the famous boat of the homonymous film (a carcass with a boiler), which brought together, in 1951, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, also in a John Huston film! Restored, it offers walks on the I channels! surrounding.

Video from @borntosea


Wild Florida ashore: The Everglades Everglades means “grassy water” in the language of the Seminole Indians. They once occupied this part of Florida. It is a gigantic marsh, 6,000 to 8,000 years old, covering all of South Florida. It’s 200 km long, 80 km wide, and surrounded by mangroves on all of its littoral portions. This ecosystem, unique in the world, was partially classified as a national park in 1947. More recently, it was classified a biosphere reserve, by the international community, as well as Unesco World Heritage, just like Yosemite and Kilimanjaro. There is particularly dense vegetation of mangroves, cypresses, pines, etc. Besides the alligators, emblematic animals of the park, the Everglades are populated by a very diverse fauna: birds (ibis, pelicans, pink spoonbills, ospreys), mammals (rare Florida panthers, raccoons, lynx, manatees), numerous species fish.

Florida everglades
Florida Everglades. Picture from @kimdelmonico

In Gulf Coast, the “region of ten thousand islands”, you only circulate by boat (with an airplane propeller!). Green flora is reflected in the water for miles. In this tangle of trees and roots, you can see alligators, turtles, birds, even manatees, and dolphins …

Bonus: what’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

The head of the alligator is U-shaped, wider, and shorter than the crocodile one. And then the gator has only 92 teeth, when the crocodile has 120, some of which remain visible at the top and bottom, even when its jaw is closed (in the alligator, only the upper ones are). Finally, the alligator has the reputation of being less dangerous for humans. We haven’t checked!

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