The Top 10 Best Places to See Wildlife in Florida

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Published: November 30, 2023
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Florida is one of the best states to visit to see wildlife. The state is home to animals like American alligators, sandhill cranes, bottlenose dolphins, manatees, great white sharks, and roseate spoonbills. But which are the best places to see these animals? Keep reading to discover the top 10 places to see wildlife in Florida.

1. Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park - Airboat

Airboat tours are a must if you’re visiting Everglades National Park.


One of the most unforgettable places to see wildlife in Florida is Everglades National Park. This massive park welcomes over 1 million visitors every year. You can hike trails to see wildlife or take a famous airboat tour. Either way, visiting the park without seeing at least one American alligator is nearly impossible. Alligators aren’t the only incredible animals to see in the park, though. The Everglades is also home to over 360 bird species.

2. The Orlando Wetlands

Don’t let the name of this spot confuse you. The Orlando Wetlands is in Christmas, Florida, about 27 to 30 miles away from Orlando. This park is a great place to see wildlife on its many trails. It’s a hot spot for bird watching; if you’re lucky, you may see bobcats!

3. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

Manatee swimaming alone

Florida manatees are common in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

©A Cotton Photo/

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is next on our list of the top 10 best places to see wildlife in Florida. It’s one of the best spots in the state to see manatees, especially during winter and early spring. This gorgeous refuge was established in 1983 and protects Florida manatees. A great way to explore this picturesque wildlife refuge is to hike the trails. The trails are short, sweet, and straightforward.

4. Lake Kissimmee State Park

This State Park has a surface area of nearly 6,000 acres.

©Mwanner at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Lake Kissimmee State Park is also in Central Florida. This state park has a surface area of 5,930 acres. It’s a great place to spend time outdoors. You can camp, hike, bike, horseback ride, and more. Animals you can find in this state park include Florida scrub jays, wild turkeys, and gopher tortoises.

5. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest national wildlife refuges in the United States.

©Nick Fox/

Another excellent place to view wildlife in Florida is St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County. It was established in 1931, making it one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the country. This excellent bird-watching spot isn’t just home to birds. It’s also home to raccoons, black bears, foxes, river otters, and saltwater fish. It has a surface area of 83,000 acres and 43 miles of coastline.

6. Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

Brown Pelicans, Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Indian Shores, Florida, USA

You can find many birds at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

©Malachi Jacobs/

Are you not satisfied yet with the places on our list? You can also visit Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary to see animals. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation facility in Indian Shores. You can visit the 1.5-acre sanctuary and spend hours learning about the birds and the sanctuary’s missions and goals. Admission and parking are free. Some birds you may find here include blue jays, eastern brown pelicans, gulls, owls, hawks, and vultures.

7. Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

The Florida panther is the most endangered cat in North America.

There may be less than 200 Florida panthers in the wild.


Seeing a Florida panther is extremely rare. Sadly, these animals are critically endangered. Experts estimate there are less than 200 left in the wild. To increase your chances of seeing one, visit the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. You may find their tracks even if you don’t see a panther.

8. Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

A finback whale skull at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center, Melbourne Beach, Florida.

The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge has a surface area of 900 acres.


Have you ever heard of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge? It’s another wildlife refuge on our list. This national wildlife refuge is located in Brevard County. It was established in 1991 to protect loggerheads and green sea turtles. It’s a vital area for sea turtle nesting in the world.

9. Loggerhead Marine Life Center

Loggerhead sea turtle swimming in clear turquoise water on reef

Loggerhead sea turtles can weigh over 300 pounds!

©pniesen/iStock via Getty Images

Seeing a sea turtle is a magical thing. A great place to see these majestic animals is the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach. It’s free to enter and a great way to learn about marine life and ways to protect loggerhead sea turtles. While here, visitors can tour the marine life center, attend a fish-feeding talk, watch the Sea Turtles of the Palm Beaches Documentary, and join a guided beach walk.

10. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is massive, with a surface area of 144,000 acres.


Last but not least is the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It’s along the coast of Florida and has a surface area of 144,000 acres. There is so much to do and see. Not only can you hike in hopes of seeing incredible wildlife, but you can also spend time exploring the wildlife refuge’s visitor center. A few animals you may see while here include the oak toad, Cuban tree frog, northern flicker, American coot, North American river otter, common bottlenose dolphin, and pinfish.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Fredlyfish4/ CC BY-SA 3.0 – License / Original

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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