10 Florida Attractions That Are Not Theme Parks

When planning a summer vacation, many travelers choose Florida attractions for some good family fun and look forward to the trip all year. Others, not interested in the theme park experience, are turning to ecotourism opportunities in Florida that provide vacation fun and have a more positive impact on the planet.

Ecotourism has travelers visiting fragile, pristine and protected areas of the planet as a low-impact alternative to mass tourism. Educating the traveler along the way, ecotourism commonly provides funds for ecological conservation that directly benefits local communities. In Florida, Cocoa Beach is a coastal city that has a wide variety of ecotourism opportunities about an hour from popular theme parks and attractions.

1. Canaveral National Seashore is a 24-mile beach with birding, fishing and wildlife run by the National Park Service.

2. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on the John F. Kennedy Space Center, east of Titusville, Florida.

3. Cocoa Beach Wildside Tours is a Nature Tour Boat operating out of Cocoa Beach, Florida. They provide a close up experience with Manatees, Porpoises, Wild Birds and Alligators.

4. Blue Heron Adventures showcases the Indian River Lagoon and Bottlenose Dolphins, along with the opportunity to watch endangered Florida Manatees play.

5. Island Boat Lines offer daily eco-tours departing from various locations throughout the Space Coast. Optional cruises feature the Cocoa Beach Thousand Islands, Port Canaveral & THE LOCKS, Barge Canal and Historical Cocoa Village.

6. The Great Florida Birding Trail is a collection of sites throughout Florida selected for their excellent bird watching or bird education opportunities.

7. Brevard Zoo is the result of the popularity of on-site kayaking in Brevard Zoo’s 22-acre wetlands. The Brevard Zoo is also offering kayaking eco-tours of the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon.

8. Grasshopper Airboat Eco-Tours is located on the St. Johns River West of Cocoa. There, travelers can experience a unique and thrilling Florida airboat ride adventure.

9. Inlet Marina offers Pelican Island and Indian River Lagoon Tours in addition to canoe and kayak rentals.

10. Fun Day tours is an eco-tour operator providing over 20 new, and unique, half- and full-day, guided nature and wildlife adventures for preformed groups, plus a “VIP” privately guided group tour of Kennedy Space Center.

Florida is also home to the Everglades, a protected area in danger as we see in this video:

Flickr photo by Elido Turco – Gigi