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Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park & Boardwalk
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Florida Everglades Swamp Walking Eco-Tour
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Copeland
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: At more than 85,000 acres, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is Florida's largest state park. More native orchid species, including the rare Ghost Orchid,grow in this wilderness than anywhere else in the United States. The park's wildlife is as diverse as its flora. Rare species such as the American crocodile and West Indian manatee live in the waterways to the south, while Florida black bears, Everglades mink and endangered Florida panthers inhabit orther regions of the park. For many, the most memorable introduction to this wilderness is a swamp walk. strolling through the slow moving slough waters with a Friends of Fakahatchee naturalist.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 26, 2012

Oh my goodness! You ventured out in the swamp to see the real Florida, but the road was too rough? I say bring on the heavy equipment and redo that darned road! No matter that it will traumatize every living creature in the south half of Florida. My recommendation would be that you stay on Highway 41. If you're not prepared and willing to be off the main road, don't get off the main road! The road is very rough with many deep potholes, but we just had the rainiest summer in recent memory -- record rainfall in some areas. Paved roads were washed away in many areas and there hasn't been time to make a dent in repairing them. Go slowly and enjoy what you're seeing.

Visited October 2012
3 Thank thewinner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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197 reviews from our community

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English first
Orlando, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
154 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
“Jane’s Memorial Scenic Drive (Warning)”
Reviewed November 25, 2012

Trip Advisor doesn’t have a specific category for Jane’s Scenic Drive, but as it travels across the Fakahatchee Strand starting in Copeland, I feel someone needs to let everyone know what to expect.

This 11 mile road is noted on various websites as a wonderful place for photography with its isolated location, Wild Orchids, Bromeliads’ and wildlife. What these articles don’t mention is the condition of this road which has a direct affect on your enjoyment of the area.

We were in the area last year on a photo shoot and made a feeble attempt to navigate across the road in a car (remember, no article mentions the road condition ). My guess is we made it about one mile into the attempt and turned around as it was too rough for the vehicle. This past weekend, we were in the area again on a photo shoot but this time brought the truck, so confidently up the road we went. The first couple of miles were fine for a dirt road but after this point is where the fun begins. This road is NOT maintained (Shame on the State of Florida) which is too bad as the surrounding territory is very interesting.

We traveled across in late November which is the dry season and found the potholes so numerous that I was spending all my time trying to avoid them. Many of these holes are more like craters as they are easily 12” to 16” deep. During the wet season it is apparent that these fill with water making the road impassable except maybe for a tracked vehicle or someone on foot. I estimate that the water would be at least 16” deep or more in some of these areas. Trust me, I’m no prude when it comes to backwater roads, but I found myself focusing full time trying to navigate around these holes and very little time enjoying what should have been an interesting area. It took us hours to cross stopping occasionally for photos.

For some reason, none of the articles I read mention this problem. Or the fact that this road is not maintained. For this reason, I do not recommend you spend any time on this trail unless you’re in a tank. I did make it across but was never so happy when we made it out the other side.

Don’t waste your time. You've been warned.

Visited November 2012
35 Thank runner24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Macon, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Lots of wildlife”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

We walked on the boardwalk, which was a nice little hike. There is a 20 year old nest of an bald eagle pair which is possibly 15*8*8 feet big. There is a pond before the entrance to the boardwalk, and we saw a great blue heron, an egret, and two turkey vultures hanging around near the gift shop. We also took the 22 mile (round trip) dirt road driving trail and saw an alligator eating a turtle!

Visited November 2012
2 Thank Cx007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
94 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Good for a short visit”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

Had passed through this park on Tamiami Trail many times, but this time we decided to stop and take a look. It was on a Sunday afternoon and we went through the town of Copeland (which is a couple of roads and trailers)to make it to the ranger station. No one there and not much to see either. There is a road, Janes Scenic Drive, that starts here and ends at the Picayune Strand State Forest, that might be a good choice for a future visit. Most visitors to this preserve make it to the boardwalk which is off Tamiami Trail. It's a short hike with a small boardwalk that takes you through the swamp and forest. You'll get to see a sampling of the rest of the park which is really hard to access without the proper vehicles. Didn't get to see the famous "largest strand of royal palms" and still have no idea where it is.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank Foodiemia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Short Drive From Marco Island. Bring Mosquito Spray!”
Reviewed July 21, 2012

If you're staying on Marco Island, this is a great diversion. The drive is about 20 minutes. I think the boardwalk is a great way to experience the everglades. The walk is not too long and not too short. Just use mosquito spray or you'll regret it. There is a nice gift shop at the trail head which probably has some for sale, but I don't know for sure. We saw our first alligator just a few feet from where we parked our car! And we saw a couple more baby alligators along the trail. After the boardwalk, we drove a few more miles down the road to Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, there's not much to see there. Just some mildly interesting old buildings and a view of the bay but that's about it. I wouldn't recommend it.

Visited April 2012
4 Thank CactusGary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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