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1. Dolphins
Captain Jesse Baughman is an expert at spotting dolphins and can manoeuvre her catamaran just metres away from a pod, so have your camera ready to catch one leaping out of the water. Daily excursions depart from the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and sail down the Gulf of Mexico to the southernmost tip of the island. (Non-guests of the resort are also welcome.) If you’re travelling in October and November, be on the lookout for newborns trailing closely behind their mothers.

2. Alligators
Take the Tamiami Trail south from Naples down to the Everglades for an airboat ride through Florida’s famous reptilian wetlands. Led by a guide from Everglades Tours, you’ll swerve through sawgrass marshes along narrow canals lined with gators, some of which measure up to 4.5 metres long. You’ll also spot the occasional python and lizard camouflaged against the cypress trees.

3. Manatees
Manatees’ massive bodies and herbivore diets have earned them the nickname “sea cows.” Locals will tell you that they’re especially fond of the warm, shallow waters surrounding the Port of the Islands Marina in Naples, so rent a boat and ride out slowly (to avoid accidental collisions). Another option is to reserve your spot on a tour boat. Some charters, like Captains Barry and Carol’s Manatee Sightseeing Adventure, even guarantee that you’ll spot one of their whiskered faces poking up from the water’s surface.

4. Exotic Birds
Catch bald eagles tending to their nests, great blue herons perched among trees and pink roseate spoonbills scooping up fish with their wide-tipped beaks as you speed around the Ten Thousand Islands on the back of a WaveRunner. Between ripping through the waves at 90 kilometres an hour, you’ll also learn about the area’s estuaries (which make up the largest red mangrove jungle in the world), thanks to an expert guide from Marco Island Water Sports.

5. Forest Animals
At the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, north of Naples, river otters, white-tailed deer, red-bellied turtles and armadillos can be spotted from the four-kilometre boardwalk that leads visitors through the green haven. Protected by the Audubon Society since the 1950s – a time when Florida’s forests were being razed for timber – the five-hectare wetland has since become a favourite of nature photographers. Though you’re unlikely to spot the endangered Florida panther or black bear off in the distance, if you do, don’t fret; they’re known to stay clear of the pedestrian path.

Tags

EVERGLADES     FLORIDA     MARCO ISLAND     NAPLES     ONAIR     OUTDOOR TRAVEL    

Getting There

Air Canada offers year-round nonstop flights from Toronto to Fort Myers, as well as seasonal nonstop service from Montreal (until April 27, 2014), with convenient connections from the rest of Canada. With 14 hotels, lots of options on car rentals, as well as activities and excursions, create your perfect getaway with Air Canada Vacations.

Comments… or add another

Lisa Smith

Tuesday, April 8th 2014 09:39
Good day,

Would really like a non-stop flight from Halifax to Ft Myers... any possibility?

Robert White

Tuesday, April 8th 2014 15:16
There are no crocodiles in Florida, only alligators
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