Best Florida Wildlife Viewing

Quintessential Florida Wildlife and the Best Place to Find it

This list has been assembled from years of exploring Florida and with the help of the people listed at the end. It is intended on list only the best location for viewing a particular animal. There are, of course, countless places to see an alligator in Florida.  If there is an animal you would like to see listed, or you disagree with a "best" location, please email me or comment. This is meant to be collaborative and I love to learn about new locations.

Regardless, if you visit these places, I guarantee you will have a unique, beautiful, and quintessentially Floridian adventure.

Likelihood indicates how likely you are to actually see the target animal
Difficulty indicates how hard it is to travel/hike/kayak/swim to the location
Question marks obviously mean I need help!

ManateeCrystal RiverWinterHighEasy
Black BearSeminole State Forest-south gateYear-roundLowEasy
Key DeerNo Name Key, Florida KeysYear-roundHighEasy
Florida PantherFlorida Panther National Wildlife RefugeYear-roundLow?
DolphinCedar KeySummer/FallMediumMedium
River OttersWekiva RiverYear-roundMediumMedium
Gopher TortoisesEgmont Key, St PetersburgNon-winterHighEasy
Sea TurtlesJohn Pennekamp State ParkYear-roundLowMedium
AlligatorsAlachua Sink, GainesvilleYear-roundHighEasy
Roseate SpoonbillsJN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge?MediumEasy
LimpkinRainbow River, Dunnellon?MediumMedium
Burrowing OwlsFAU Campus, Boca RatonYear-roundHighEasy
Florida Scrub JayOscar Scherer State Park, OspreyYear-roundHighEasy
Migratory Sandhill CranesPaynes Prairie, GainesvilleWinterHighEasy
Red-Cockaded WoodpeckersBlack Water State Forest???
Sooty and Noddy TernsDry Tortugas National ParkNon-winterHighMedium
Wood StorkCorkscrew Swamp Sanctuary?MediumEasy
Swallow-tailed KitePerdido River WMA
or Lake Okeechobee
Liguus Tree SnailsClyde Butcher GalleryYear-roundHighEasy
JunoniaSanibel IslandYear-roundLowMedium
Queen ConchJohn Pennekamp State ParkYear-roundMediumMedium
Gopher FrogsArchbold Biological StationSummer/FallLowMedium
MuskmareBig Scrub Ocala National ForestSummer/FallMediumMedium
SharksNew Smyrna BeachYear-roundLowEasy
Florida GarBlue Springs, Orange CityYear-roundMediumMedium
Cow-nose raysFort Desoto County ParkSummer/FallHighEasy
Bioluminescent DinoflagellatesNorth Captiva IslandSummer/FallLowMedium
CoralJohn Pennekamp State ParkYear-roundHighMedium

Contributions made by the following people: