Southern Florida (mainland) is like visiting a different world where you don’t belong. Nature takes over, and you become an alien on Earth. You can’t imagine it until you experience it.

In early to mid-2022, we spent a few weeks exploring Florida. Particularly the Southern and wild parts of the state. Here is our list of places we will continue going back to.

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Pond with RV sites at Midway Campground in Big Cypress National Preserve.
1. Midway Campground

This campground has both RV and tent sites. All the RV sites face a pond in the middle – in a horseshoe shape. Signs warn of alligators, and they aren’t lying. We saw multiple. One under our neighbor’s RV. This was our introduction to the area, and we loved it. We called this campground home base for about a week while we explored the area.

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Little alligators on our bike ride along the tram trail at Shark Valley Visitor Center in Everglades NP.
2. Shark Valley Visitor Center

The visitor center is not the main attraction here. It’s the 15-mile tram trail that takes you into the wild. 1/2 way through is a tower you can walk to the top of and look out over the wilderness. We rode our bikes, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The trail is mainly flat, but it is hot and humid. There is also a tram you may buy tickets for. We were passed by many of those. We saw many different birds and had little alligators sitting on the trail. Such a neat experience.

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Alligator seen from the boardwalk and next to the road.
3. Oasis Visitor Center

I am confused about whether or not the visitor center/gift shop is still open. We were told the day we were there was its last day, but Google Maps says it is open. Who knows! Either way, it is worth a stop. We saw wild alligators up close. Lots of alligators. It’s located on what they call alligator alley, and if you keep your eyes peeled while driving you will see why. There is a boardwalk above the canal full of alligators. We were there in dry season (April) and saw 20+ alligators along with gar and cichlids. That’s where we learned about cichlid farms and the displacement of fish into the wild in hurricanes.

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M talking to Don, the Post Master, at the smallest Post Office in the United States.
4. Nathaniel P Reed Visitor Center & Smallest USPS Office in US

There’s a boardwalk behind this visitor center where you may see alligators. If you are lucky, you might see an alligator. When we were at the visitor center, they had a photo from a few months earlier when an alligator ate a giant python right behind the visitor center. We didn’t see a single alligator there. We did buy a postcard so we could send it from the smallest USPS office in the US. Don – whose name we discovered because we were reppin’ our favorite Don’s Country Kitchen in Oceanside, CA, and he said he liked our hat – has worked there for years, was super-friendly, and full of knowledge about the smallest post office.

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2 Osprey in a nest. One of these 2 was the one who didn’t want to flee the nest.
5. Flamingo

This is the southernmost area of the Florida Mainland. You have the gorgeous Caribbean-colored water on one side and crocodile-infested canals on the other. We watched as an osprey family encouraged the last little to flee the nest. We even did a little cheering and uplifting ourselves. We kayaked in the canals, passing many crocodiles. We even came upon a mama and baby manatee who hung out with us for a bit before we moved on.

There is so much to see and do in Florida. It is hard to choose just 5 places to share because there are so many cool ones.

Where would you add to this list? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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