Florida is known for its alligators for a reason. There are over a million wild alligators in Florida, and they can be found all over the state. Golf courses, retention ponds and even swimming pools have become homes to curious gators. Find out where you can see alligators in the wild when you visit Florida.
Hillsborough River State Park
Photo credit: Walter via flickr
Just outside of Tampa, Hillsborough River State Park is a wild escape from city life. The clean and well-maintained park is a haven for campers, hikers and kayakers. Rent a bike, or rent a kayak to explore the wild twists and turns along the river. You're bound to see a gator, even if you take a short boardwalk stroll. Bring your camera, and never feed wild gators.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Wild alligators don't care if they live just a few miles from a NASA launch site. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and nearby Kennedy Space Center are home to wild gators that sunbathe by trails and roads. Take a wildlife driving tour to see gators and dozens of species of wild birds from the comfort (and safety) of your car.
Photo credit: Todd Vision via flickr
Home to over a dozen lakes as well as springs and rivers, Ocala National Forest is a treasure trove of alligator habitats. Located in Central Florida, it's an expansive park with campsites geared toward more-experienced hikers and campers. Take a day trip into the forest unless you're used to staying in isolated, primitive areas.
Everglades National Park
Due to the subtropical climate, Everglades National Park is an excellent place to spot gators year-round. Gators love warm weather and warm water, and they can frequently be found lounging alongside the boardwalk of the popular Anhinga Trail. Less than a mile long, this boardwalk trail is family-friendly and big on wildlife. Stay and play in Miami, and take a day trip out into the Everglades for gators galore.
Myakka River State Park
Just outside of Sarasota, Myakka River State Park wows visitors with untouched Florida landscape. A kayaker's paradise, it is a beautiful place to see alligators in the wild. While you're there, do not miss the canopy walkway, where a massive tower gives visitors a birds-eye view of the park.
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