If you’re planning a vacation in America, Florida is probably one of the states on your short list. Beautiful weather, 663 miles of beaches, and an amazing combination of city life and outdoor adventures make for an excellent choice for anybody looking to get away from their normal life for a while.

If you’re the type of person who is interested in wildlife, spending time on the water, and enjoying experiences  you can’t have at home, check out our list of outdoor adventures to help you plan your next vacation on the Florida coast.

Sanibel Island

This picturesque island near Cape Coral and Fort Myers boasts a wildlife preserve, a lighthouse, a farmer’s market, and some of the best shelling in the world. Pathways along the whole island offer chances to rent bikes and go for a ride, or take a leisurely stroll to see the sights. The beaches are thick with shells, so if you want to bring some home grab a bucket and your sandals for a day of treasure hunting. Make sure the shells you pick up are free of their former inhabitants!

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Saltwater fishing

If you enjoy freshwater fishing, give saltwater fishing a try! Whether you rent a boat to head to deep waters or find somewhere to fish close to the shore, bring your saltwater fishing gear and try your hand at catching some of Florida’s well-known sailfish or largemouth bass. Florida’s largemouth bass can weigh up to 10 pounds, making any fisherman proud to add to his conquests.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Watch dolphins

Dolphins are some of the friendliest creatures in the sea, and the gulf coast is full of pods of dolphins playing together and enjoying life. In fact, nine different types of dolphins make their home in the gulf. You can join a tour and have a guide find pods of dolphins in the ocean, so you can observe them in their natural habitat. If you’d like to get up close and personal, there are several companies offering the chance to swim with dolphins as well.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Mangrove tour

Mangroves are a type of tree that only grows in certain climates. The Florida keys provide just the right environment for mangroves to flourish. These trees provide shelter for animals and keep beaches from eroding. Guided tours will take you in a kayak through the mangrove forest where you can observe wildlife like dolphins, lizards, and even monkeys! The peaceful atmosphere of the mangroves adds to their beauty and can provide a respite for you from an otherwise busy vacation.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Horseback riding

There’s nothing quite like riding a horse along the shoreline of a beautiful beach. The beaches which allow horses are typically not developed, meaning the view offered from the seat of your roan will not be impeded by buildings. If riding on a beach doesn’t sound appealing but you’d still like to give horseback riding a try, trail tours are also an option for letting your inner cowboy loose.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Everglades tour

Everglades National Park is 1.5 million acres of wetlands. You could spend your entire vacation exploring it and never see the same thing twice. Whether you’d like to bicycle, boat, kayak, or hike, there is a ton to see in the Everglades. Flush with wildlife, it sports everything from crocodiles to dolphins and manatees. If you’re worried about getting lost (or eaten by an alligator), the park offers guided tours including a tram tour during which you can sit down the entire time. No matter what experience you’re looking for, there is a lot of adventure to be had in the Everglades.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Naples Botanical Garden

For a more tame adventure without sacrificing the beautiful views, check out the Naples Botanical Garden. It features 170 acres of an enormous variety of gorgeous plants from around the world. The tropical climate means that flowers are blooming year-round, so no matter when you plan your visit you are sure to be amazed by the beauty of the gardens. Daily tours, classes, and even kid-friendly experiences are available year round as a part of your admission.

Top Six Outdoor Adventures on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Florida isn’t just about relaxing on beaches or enjoying the nightlife. While you can definitely do those things, there is a huge variety of scenery and adventure just waiting for you. You can take the plunge on your own or join a guided tour to learn more background information. Whatever you do, make sure you pack your bags with the right kind of gear for warm weather so you are completely prepared for whatever adventure you have in mind!