About as far south as you can get without going to The Keys, tucked away in the vast landscape of The Everglades is where you will find The Ten Thousand Islands. A unique ecosystem located in southwest Florida between Cape Romano and the mouth of the Lostman’s River. Despite the name, this chain of islands and mangrove islets actually numbers in the hundreds, not thousands. However, if you were to see the area from above you would notice the horizon filled with what seems to be thousands of perfectly sized green puzzle pieces scattered amongst swirling blue waterways that create the Ten Thousand Islands.
The Ten Thousand Islands are a naturalist’s dream come true and filled with different things to do and explore. These adventures show you the wild wilderness and the real Florida backcountry that many do not think about when thinking of Florida. The Ten Thousand Islands is home to Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, located near the Northern part of the Islands. At the southern part of The Islands you can enjoy the pristine Everglades National Park.
The Everglades are truly a special and unique place to enjoy. Florida’s Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and the only thing like it in the World! Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare endangered species like manatee, American crocodile, Snook, and the elusive Florida panther.
The Ten Thousand Islands were used and occupied by Native Americans for thousands of years. Evidence of former living sites can be found under as much as four feet of water. The Horr’s Island archaeological site at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands was occupied year-round 3,500 years ago.
Now the Islands continue to house a variety of wildlife and sealife that have called this home for thousands of years, as well as the many human visitors each year. People travel from all over the world to enjoy the water, white sand beaches, stunning sunsets and unique hobbies specifically local to this area, including fishing and shelling. It is always important to remember to follow all rules and regulations that help protect this important ecosystem. This includes not taking any live shells or keeping fish out of season or size limits.
The Ten Thousand Islands can be viewed several ways. Enjoy a private boat tour, hop on a canoe or kayak, drive by car, bike on trails, buzz around on airboats, view it from above with aerial tours! There is every way thinkable to allow you to cover as much viewing ground as possible in this beautiful and protected area.