Florida and Everglades National Park

Florida, though densely populated, has some very interesting places for nature photographers and people who are more interested in wildlife and nature than Disney World and Epcot Center. Even some of the beaches of Florida are among the best beaches in the US. My favourite beach is Canaveral Seashore, which is large and pretty empty compared to the pristine beaches at the West coast like Turner beach, Captiva Island, Fort de Soto North Beach and Honeymoon island. In addition to that you can see the impressive space shuttle launch pads (and even the space shuttle itself) from the dunes at Canaveral Seashore.

For Nature Photographers Florida is unique. Coming from Europe its is really fascinating how close you can get to wild living birds, that are very shy in most of the parts of Europe. Especially the famous Anhinga Trail in the Everglades National park - a boardwalk through an area with some ponds and populated by hundredths of different birds and reptiles including Anhingas, White Egrets, Snow Egrets, Blue Heron, Ospreys, etc. and lots of Alligators - will give you an inside view of the behaviour of wild animals more than every zoo in the world.

Here are some recommendations for photographers:

- visit Everglades NP with the famous Anhinga Trail and Mahagoni Hammock

- Take a walk along the trail at Shark Valley at the Tiamani Trail (on the way from East to West coast of Florida), but please be careful not to step onto one of the countless Alligator ... ;-)

- At Everglades City make a boat tour through Ten Thousand Island at Sunset. The 25 bugs are worth of it!

- The boardwalk trail through Cork Screw Swamp Sanctuary will beam you to an age where North America had not been populated already. One of the last Cypress forests of North America will show you how important it is to preserve nature. Many birds like woodpeckers, Egrets, Wood Storks and Ibis can be watched from close distance! Really a highlight of every Florida visit.

- Sansibel Island with the famous Ding Darling Wildlife Refugee and its wildlife drive should also be on every itinerary, although from my point of view there are better places for birding. Visit that place only at Sunrise

- Fort de Soto Beach Park may be visited by countless tourists, but the North Beach of one of America's most beautiful and clean beaches and you can watch Ospreys and other seabirds.

- Cape Canaveral is not only worth a visit because of the Kennedy Space Center, a must see regardless if you are interested in space flight or not. Canaveral Seashore is lonely and vast and the Atlantic Ocean is from my point of view more fascinating than the shores of the Gulf of Mexico because of its roughness. Last but not least Merrit Island Wildlife Refuge is the best place to watch seabirds at the whole East coast. Especially the wildlife drive right beneath the Ranger station gives you all the opportunities that you have probably missed on Sansibel island.

- Some miles south of Cape Canaveral a small place called Viera Wildlife Refugee is a nice place to spot many kinds of birds from very close distance right out of your car. However, as that are some artificial ponds it is not that fascinating as Merrit Island.

- If you have enough time, at least a whole day, a trip to Key West is recommendable. Watch the sunset from the Harbour!