What Florida Really Looks Like

About 45 minutes from Disney World there is a Nature Preserve like no other. Set on a scenic lake surrounded by old Oak trees, and housing miles of walking trails, sits a place called Circle B Bar Reserve.  A once functioning cattle ranch, it is now recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife.


It is a Central Florida hidden gem.  Free, and open to the public year round, it is considered one of the best places for birding in Florida as a result of the Banana Creek marsh system. In a nutshell: don’t visit the reserve without your camera, your Instagram followers will thank you.


The 1,267-acre property features several diverse habitats including freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, oak hammocks, creeks and lakes, which are home to a wide variety of ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, native and migrant landbirds, ospreys, bald eagles, and more than 45-species of butterflies.

You can even see Bald Eagles!

For me, I come here for the Alligator sightings.  Which is quite common and can be safely done from the preserve’s pier, shoreline, or the infamous Alligator Alley.

See those dots in the water? Those are all alligators!

On a calm water day you will see more alligators on the lake than you will see people in the park. That many alligators reside here.


And even as you leave, look out your window, because Wild Boar live in these woods. I made sure to stay far away from this protective mama as I took this pic.


Believe it or not, all these photos were taken the SAME day.  There is that much wildlife to see at this preserve.  It is a must see place.  So put it on your list, maybe see Mickey Mouse one day less.  This place is worth a visit.  Most people don’t see past the concrete of Orlando’s amusement parks or Florida’s beaches.  The REAL Florida is this. Wild, untamed, and amazingly beautiful.