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With more than 65,000 square miles, Florida offers a lot of land to explore. It’s tough to know where to start in a state that stretches 500 miles from north to south, but South Florida makes a lot of sense. Home to nearly 7 million people, the region includes cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Here’s a little of what the area has to offer.

The Land

South Florida is renowned for its miles of white sandy beaches. They are a favorite among tourists and locals alike, but there is more to see than the sand. The Everglades and its 1.5 million acres of wetlands is the nation’s largest subtropical wilderness. The Florida Keys are made up of 1,700 islands and feature the lower 48’s only living coral reef. A great way to explore the region’s rich landscape is to search for hotel and train ride packages south florida and other unique excursions.

The Wildlife

Wildlife watchers have plenty to get excited about in South Florida. The Everglades’ expansive wetlands offer an opportunity to see numerous species of wading birds, as well as alligators and crocodiles. On land, there are white-tailed deer, black bears and the elusive and endangered Florida panther. Marine life also abounds in South Florida. Numerous tours introduce visitors to dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks and whales. Bird watchers can spy spoonbills, cuckoos, herons and other colorful fowl on Sanibel Island.

The Sports

If your definition of R&R includes recreation, you’ll love South Florida. Its miles of coastline offer opportunities for swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, hang gliding and deep-sea fishing. If you prefer to stay on solid ground, hiking and biking trails are aplenty, and the area is home to some of the country’s finest golf courses. Professional sports also are well represented. With baseball, basketball, football and hockey teams, there is always a game to take in for those who prefer sports from the safety of the stands.

The Shopping

In South Florida, shopping is its own sport. High-end fashions await in Miami’s Design District and Bal Harbour Shops. Individuals with an eye for art are attracted to the numerous galleries along Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard and Key West’s Duval Street. There’s something for the whole family at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise. The nation’s largest outlet and value retail shopping destination features more than 350 stores.

South Florida offers fun and excitement for the entire family. The only problem is figuring out where to start.

Michael K. French

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