Enjoy the wildlife on your Florida holidays in 2014

Most Britons booking Florida holidays for 2014 will be taking the kids to the Disney theme parks. This part of the USA gets a lot wilder beyond Orlando's Disney compounds though. Heading for the Everglades will allow the family experiences that may be far more vivid and memorable than anything Mickey or Donald can offer.

Everglades thrills

Florida doesn't have to mean Orlando and the D word, however much the kids pester. For many adults the appeal of the Disney parks begins to pall after a day or two, and they yearn to see a different aspect of Florida.

Choosing a fly drive for your Florida holidays in 2014 can offer a decent compromise. After ticking off the Orlando theme parks, there should still be time to head out into the wilds.

The Everglades are the obvious starting point. These famous wetlands, covering 2,357 square miles, form a National Park in South Florida, 45 miles west of Miami, but also within easy reach of Orlando. Essentially the Everglades are formed by a shallow, sluggish river, 50 miles wide at some points.

The region is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Among the creatures living in the area are manatees, leatherback turtles, salt and freshwater fish, a wide variety of wading birds and, of course, the infamous alligators.

There are several ways to explore the Everglades. One of the most popular is the airboat ride. These noisy but agile craft can explore the depths of mangrove swamps, inlets and bayous and get up close to wildlife. Guides usually know the best places to spot alligators.

Kayaking is another popular way to float around in the Everglades. Guided eco tours and even night fishing trips are available, ideal for soaking up the atmosphere of this part of Florida.

Take care out on the water

Be aware that the Everglades have a sub-tropical climate. You don't want to ruin your Florida holidays in 2014 through over-exposure to the sun or insect bites. Ask local drug stores for advice on the best sunscreen and repellents for a day in the Everglades. Be aware that mosquito bites in Florida can carry the West Nile virus, although this is rare.

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