Wakodahatchee Wetland

Top choice

Easily overlooked because it's man made, this incredible collection of ecosystems is spanned by a sturdy boardwalk, bringing you right next to (and in some cases over!) birds, hammocks, turtles, gators and more. The best thing is that unlike most birding areas, here the wildlife is totally unafraid as people cannot leave the boardwalk. It means photographers (or kiddos!) can get remarkably close to birds who simply couldn't care less. Nesting behaviors, in season, are particularly fascinating.

The 30- to 45-minute loop takes you through a variety of ecosystems, all freshwater, most of them actual swamp. Here and there the trail ducks into forest and at one point goes over a small pond (look for gators!) before coming back to the shallow swampiness that at one time was all of Florida. Despite the compact size, it's got a huge range of birds and wildlife, and is a particularly fun spot for kids or for the elderly who may have mobility issues or need to remain in a wheelchair.

It's located about 20 mins drive from West Palm Beach, in Delray Beach.

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