Best-Kept Secret - 2010
Free Big Cypress tours
There's a great South Florida wonder between Miami and Naples, and we're not talking about the skunk ape. He's gotta be somewhere in Big Cypress National Preserve, that great, big national park in Miami's back yard. Every year from late November to April, the national park service offers ranger-guided tours through a variety of wilderness activities in the area. And they're all free. Our favorite is the wet and wild swamp walk, a muddy trek through sometimes waist-deep gator water. You'll get mud-soaked and wet just like the early Floridians exploring the amazing diversity of plant and animal life. Also awesome is the guided canoe trip. You'll fly through a mangrove tunnel, propelling your vessel via monkey-bar arm swings through the low branches. All equipment is provided; you just have to make a reservation by phone or in person at the Oasis Visitors Center, 50 miles west of Miami on the Tamiami Trail.