Taking a tropical vacation is probably one of the top things on most American’s bucket lists. Who doesn’t want to escape from it all and enjoy the rejuvenating powers of seeing something truly amazing? But sadly, for most of us, that trip to Bali or Tahiti or the Amazon will remain a dreamed of adventure that goes unrealized. The distance and cost involved simply sometimes make such exotic trips more and more out of reach for the average family. But few realize that they have options much closer to home. The southern Gulf Coast of Florida offers a great opportunity to take a trip to the tropics without needing to obtain a passport and expensive flight or cruise to the more commonly fantasized destinations. The 10,000 Islands area of Florida is an exotic and mesmerizing tropical ecosystem that lets vacation seekers take a fantasy trip to paradise without having to spend a small fortune or journey thousands of miles around the Earth to get there.
Consisting of hundreds of small isles and islets extending in a 100 mile long chain through a densely thicketed mangrove maze of waterways, the 10,000 islands area of Florida’s southern Gulf coast region is a rarely explored gem where you can have a truly exotic tropical adventure of a lifetime. The islands are small, and with the exception of Chokoloskee Island’s 400 or so permanent residents, uninhabited chunks of elevated land from the uniquely submergent ecosystem produced by rising sea levels around Florida. Since its discovery by Europeans, it has been and remained a natural jewel for those seeking to get away from all of it. Pirate thieves looking for a place to get lost, reclusive hermits hiding from urban life, drug smugglers from Central America, those running from something and those rare wanderers who are looking for something they can’t name have been some of the privileged few that have experienced these waters.
Home to over 200 species of fish, the region attracts sport anglers in search of Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout and more. Manatees, loggerhead sea turtles and pods of dolphins are common in the 10,000 Islands, as are alligators, raccoons, river otters and over 189 species of birds which can be seen within the kaleidoscopic labyrinth of mangroves.
Despite its remoteness, the 10,000 Islands region has no shortage of guided trip options for those brave enough to want to get lost for just a day, or for those desiring extended multiday excursions that traverse the entire region. Boats that can be chartered range from airboats, large fishing boats and sailboats to kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Smaller paddle powered water craft are ever increasing in popularity for exploring. Eco wanderers traveling via kayak can journey into mangrove tunnels too small for powerboats, and their noiseless operation increases opportunities to get up close views of some of the area’s myriad fauna.
Do you dream of an exotic tropical vacation in a place of such remote wilderness beauty that it will recharge your soul and body? Do you want to experience a place that might convince you, even if for a moment, that mermaids really might exist? Then be one of the real top 1%… be one of the lucky few to have taken a trip to the 10,000 Islands of Florida.