Watchable Wildlife

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A guide to viewing wildlife and wildlands in Collier County

A picture that people going field trip in a forest

Click on location names to view websites

Barefoot Beach Park This Beach Park features a nature trail through a beach dune system. There is a nature center at the park that provides a guide to the trail. The park contains one of Collier County's highest densities of Gopher Tortoises.
Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk A 2000-foot boardwalk through a swamp forest ending at an observation deck looking over a gator hole
Big Cypress National Preserve This 729,000 acre National Preserve can be visited from the Loop Road and Turner River Road off US 41. Canoeing is available through The Halfway Creek Canoe Trail
Briggs Nature Center Located within Rookery Bay. A boardwalk leads through upland and marsh habitats to an observation deck
Clam Pass Park This Beach Park features a long boardwalk through a mangrove forest.
Collier Seminole State Park This park contains tropical hammocks dominated by trees that are characteristic of coastal forests of the West Indies and Yucatan. A canoe trail down the Blackwater River is also available
Corkscrew Swamp This old growth cypress forest features a two mile boardwalk through the cypress forest. There is a nature center featuring books, gifts, and educational materials. The website contains species lists and wildlife information.
Delnor-Wiggins State Recreation Park Consistently ranked as one of North Americas best beaches
Eagle Lakes Park A manmade wetland. The website includes educational displays on local bird species, a bird checklist, and educational materials for school field trips.
Everglades National Park The park is known for its rich bird life, particularly large wading birds, such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great blue heron and a variety of egrets
Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve From November through February rangers lead a "swamp walk" the third Saturday of the month (weather permitting) beginning at 10 a.m. See website for details.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge The refuge, not yet open to the public, will have a wildlife interpretive trail opening in 2003. During the second week on each October the refuge hosts an Open House for National WIldlife Refuge Week with swamp buggy tours and nature walks. During these tours, one can hopefully see deer, wild turkey, and other birds on the refuge
Picayune Strand State Forest The forest can be accessed on Everglades Boulevard from the north or Janes Scenic Drive from the east. The Sable Palm Hiking Trail, Jointly owned with Collier County, traverses a dwarf cypress forest and is located off Sable Palm Drive.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Rookery Bay provides visitors opportunities to observe coastal wildlife, explore natural habitats and learn about estuaries. Visitors can hike or canoe along self-guided trails, enjoy boating, fishing, birdwatching, or nature photography. A new Environmental Learning Center is scheduled to open in 2003
Ten Thousand Island
National Wildlife Refuge
The pristine islands and beaches of the refuge are accessible by boat year round from areas such as the Faka Union Canal, Goodland, Everglades City, and the Blackwater River. One can expect to see osprey, manatees, and dolphins throughout the refuge. A primitive trail/road off of US 41 known as the Oil Pad Road (it's not marked) lies approximately 2.5 mi. west of the port of the islands on US41 in east Collier County. On this road, one can see wading birds year-round.
Tigertail Beach / Sand Dollar Island One of North America's premier shorebirding locations.
Conservation Collier Preserves The citizens of Collier County, through the Conservation Collier Program, own more than 4,000 acres in 19 different locations. Six of the seven locations listed on the linked page are currently open to the public. All preserve lands will ultimately be accessible to the public. Conservation Collier is an integral component of the community planning and growth management strategies working in Collier County to preserve native habitat and species and to protect quality of life for citizens and visitors.


Content updated  February 11, 2011