The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offer 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, including a 1500-ft. boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. You will be stepping over and around alligators at times so it’s a little scary. But for a wildlife photographer, it’s worth it! This trail has only been open since 2011 and is not well travelled. There is an abundance of wildlife and exotic birds.
The Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is a swamp forest about 20 miles long by five miles wide. The Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk is a 1.2-mile boardwalk into the forest. You won’t have much chance for landscape photography in this heavily wooded area. However, you are sure to see alligators, wading birds, snakes, turtles and maybe even deer, wild turkeys and black bears.
Everglades City takes you back in time. Once the county seat of Collier County, the town itself is adorable, with a few historic buildings to photograph. Take a peek inside the Rod and Gun Club to see this historic fishing club that has been open since the late 1800s. You can eat lunch here, but only if you have cash. Credit cards are not accepted.
Collier-Seminole State Park is a 7,271-acre park within one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. There are several hiking trails, or you can rent a canoe to float along the Blackwater River, where you will be sure to see alligators, raptors, wading birds and possibly manatees.
Smallwood Store opened in 1906 and is now a perfectly restored museum. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the early days of Collier County and a fun place to photograph. There isn’t much in Chokoloskee, but you can charter a boat to take you around Chokoloskee Bay to see mangrove islands, spoonbills, dolphins, eagles and pelicans. On your way back, have lunch at the Havana Cafe then walk around the side to see an old gravesite.