Florida is almost as well known for its golf courses as it is for its theme parks and enthusiasts will not be disappointed along the Gulf Coast – Florida boasts over 1,000 courses and there are over 80 in the Naples area alone. Many hotels have their own courses and there are numerous golf communities where you will find private villas for rent. The courses are open all year round, but are quieter during the summer months, from May to October.
The beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are known as the “Shad Capital of the World” and fishermen flock here each spring to fish Boca Grande Pass. However, the name of the game is “Catch and Release” as there is a $ 50 state permit fee to kill a Tarpon. For those interested in sea fishing, there are many excursions and fishing trips for all levels of anglers; These are available throughout the coast including Marco Island, Sarasota, Fort Myers Beach, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs. Try to fish for shark, barracuda, black fin tuna, and Spanish and king mackerel. There are also miles of shoreline, countless oyster bars, and acres of seagrass beds that attract an abundance of saltwater fish. For the freshwater angler, Rotonda has miles of canals and numerous golf course lakes offering excellent sea bass and catfish. Other popular areas include the freshwater canals in Cape Coral and the Caloosahatchee River. Local freshwater fish include sea bass, crappie, blue gill, and catfish. If you don’t feel like floating on the water, there are ample fishing opportunities from the piers and bridges. Popular spots in the St. Petersburg / Clearwater area include Long Pier at Redington Beach, Pier60, St Petersburg Pier, Fort De Soto Park, and The Friendship Trail Park at Gandy Bridge for Spanish mackerel, red drum, speckled trout, and bass.
Many enthusiasts head to the Rookery Bay Estuarine National Research Reserve, which spans 110,000 acres of highlands, islands, and estuaries from Gordon Pass in Naples to Everglades National Park. There is a visitor center between Marco and Naples, south of US 41 on Tower Road. Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel are also known for their good kayaking – paddle through Pine Island’s water reserves to get a good look at the local birdlife.
Boca Ciega Millennium Park in Seminole, Pinellas County, has nature trails as well as pedestrian and bike trails. Sanibel Island offers 17 miles of protected bike lanes, ideal for families. Local businesses rent a variety of bikes including tandems and accessories for children. Fort de Soto Park on the Pinellas Peninsula has a 7-mile recreational trail where visitors can run, bike, skate, or walk.The Pinellas Trail is a unique linear park that covers 50 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Spring with bike and hike trails Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva offers a 10-mile winding mountain bike trail over rolling terrain with the opportunity to spot wild boar, deer, and tortoise turtles. Bicycle rental is available in the park. Myakka River is one of the largest state parks in Florida with extensive walking and biking facilities. There are seven miles of flat, paved bike paths, as well as country dirt roads (depending on the weather). Bicycles can be rented in the park. Many of the parks that offer bike paths have daylight hours and regulations that include wearing a helmet, so it’s always worth checking local restrictions at park information centers or bike rental shops. before leaving.
Florida [http://www.carhire3000.com/Worldwide/TravelInfo/USA – Florida] attracts “twitchers” from around the world, drawn by the wide variety of migratory and resident birds. The South West Florida Birding Festival takes place January 19-21, 2007 and provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the rich bird life of this region. . There will be guided tours and expert presentations. Full details can be found on the Rookery Bay website (see below). Estuaries, inlets, backwaters, and rural parks provide many birdwatching opportunities along the Gulf Coast. Some of the most popular locations are listed here. The Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary in Sarasota is one of the largest Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centers in the US and is home to more than 70 species of native and migratory Florida birds. The Rookery Bay mangrove estuary, south of Naples, is home to more than 150 species of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, black skimmers, and small terns. The Sanibel Lighthouse, on the eastern tip of the island, is a prime spot to watch, especially during the October migration. Birds seen here include warblers and peregrine falcons. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve near Fort Myers has a boardwalk trail and viewing platforms for visitors, where you can spy on wild turkeys, blue jays, herons, and woodpeckers, as well as a variety of other wildlife.
Other visitors include wildcats, raccoons, deer, and squirrels. The “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is a hotspot for migratory bird populations and serves as a stopover for several species, including egrets and night herons. On the banks of the river in Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva is home to blue egrets and blue herons, as well as a wide variety of other species of local plants and wildlife. The Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area, Dunedin has an Osprey Trail to catch a glimpse of these magnificent birds in their natural habitat.