Think West Palm Beach and what’s likely to come to mind are fine dining, plush hotels and languorous beaches, beaches where the wait staff refreshes your drink when you curl your little finger. Less posh, but perhaps more spiritually potent, is that Palm Beach is a take-off point for some fascinating eco-tourism.
The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau offers up these suggestions for discovering the truly wild side of this salient of south Florida:
– Embark on a Nature Nightwalk through the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary at the Loxahatchee River District. See animals in their natural habitat, at night. Experience Mother Nature in a whole new way – and then gather around the campfire for some S’mores. These nocturnal explorations run from 7 p.m. till 9 p.m. all the way through Jan. 25.
– Too tame for you? Cypress Airboats will take you into the Everglades for safe up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the critters which inhabit the great southern swamp. Cypress says the Florida Everglades comprise North America’s oldest ecosystem, home to more than 500 flora and fauna discovered nowhere else.
– How ‘bout a deeper dive (figuratively anyway) into the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge? Bring along a pair of really good binoculars and bird watch as you’ve never done before. Paddle a canoe down a specially designated 5.5-mile water trail. Make time to stop by the visitors’ center and take a virtual airboat tour, reveling in the night sounds only the Everglades vast sea of grass can engender.
– Retrace the warpaths of the Second Seminole War in Riverbend Park. Hike the park, bike the park – or get a good horse. Riverbend sports ten miles of hiking and biking trails, seven miles of equestrian paths and a full five miles of places to paddle kayak or canoe.
(Featured image: USFWS Headquarters)