Explore the real Florida with the help of the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve

T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve. Photo by Kimberley Spinney
T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve. Photo by Kimberley Spinney /

When it comes to visiting Florida, you might think beaches, Disney, and Miami. But there is so much more to this state than you could ever imagine. And that includes plenty of state parks, national parks, and reserves, where you can experience nature the way Florida intended us to.

For nature lovers, a state park or a national park can be the perfect getaway whether you are doing a staycation or a vacation. And in Florida, there are plenty of state parks to explore, camp out in, and so much more.

From biking trails and hiking trails to campgrounds and everything in between, there are plenty of places in southern Florida that will allow you to get the real Florida experience. At the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve, not only can you experience real Florida, (which means getting to hike and bike, as well as canoeing and kayaking) but you also get a sense of nature thanks to their primitive camping sites. While the camping is limited here, it is still something to explore if you are in the Sarasota County area.

The real Florida is so much more than just beaches

Near Venice, Florida, this state park is a small bit of beauty just outside of a city setting. You find yourself immersed in nature in a way that is hard to resist. Not only can you see a wide variety of birds while hiking through this park, but there are also plenty of trees and greens for those of us who are looking for some thing just a bit more. This may not be a beach, but for park lovers this is a chance to get lost among the trees.

An added bonus of this park is the fact that there are plenty of opportunities for learning as well. Thanks to the park putting up plaques and signs about the different birds, trees, and animals, as well as history lessons and more, we get a better sense of what Florida is like without people. This is not what one would call a destination per se, but rather a chance to reconnect with nature and one’s self.

Just browsing the website for the Reserve gives you a glimpse into everything they have to offer, which includes geocaching, equestrian use, and so much more. If you want a place off the beaten path, this is it. And it is beautiful.

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If you are looking for something different during a trip to the South Western Florida region, you definitely want to take the chance to visit this park. And even if you do not camp out at one of their primitive campsites, it is still worth taking a bike ride or a hike through this beautiful piece of nature. As an added bonus, depending on when you head here, you may not even have to deal with a lot of people during your exploration.