People often think of Florida as being home to Mickey Mouse (at the Walt Disney World Resort), Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and a whole host of other man-made, fun attractions. It is home to all of these things, but there are also plenty of natural and environmentally friendly things you can do in Florida too. One of these is often ranked as one of Florida’s top attractions: an Eco Safari through the incredible natural wild of Florida’s native environment and the chance to see it’s wildlife in designated conservation areas.

So What Exactly Is An Eco Safari?

An eco safari is a natural adventure that the whole family will enjoy, and a fantastic way to spend a day of your Florida vacation. You will board an open air safari coach and head into a natural Floridian conservation area, where you will learn about the distinct eco systems that Florida enjoys. Just like on an African safari, you will also be able to spot all of the local wildlife as you travel: in Florida this means the chance to spot black bears, alligators, white-tail deer, around 200 types of birds and, if you’re really lucky, you may even see the famous Florida panther. Your safari will be lead by a local expert, full of knowledge and keen to share everything they know about natural Florida with you. If you have an interest in conservation and like to lead as green a lifestyle as possible then an eco safari is one Florida attraction that really shouldn’t be missed!

Florida Eco Safaris Coach Tour

How Green Is a Vacation To Florida?

Florida isn’t really thought of as a ‘green’ vacation spot, but like any vacation destination, a trip to Florida can be as green or as environmentally damaging as you choose to make it: and much of this will depend what you decide to do whilst you’re on your vacation. There are many restaurants serving locally sourced foods, so you can reduce your food miles, and enjoying activities such as an eco safari is carbon offset fun too. The main environmental impact you will cause on your Florida vacation is actually traveling to reach your destination! Of course, the negative environmental impact of flying is well-documented. But if you have environmental concerns there are other, slightly more environmentally friendly ways of traveling.

You could travel in luxury and choose to cruise to Florida rather than fly, for example. According to Iglu Cruise, modern ships are now being designed with the environment in mind. Many ship companies are now painting the hull with a silicon based paint so the ships glide through water more easily, therefore saving fuel, and “Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken this a step further by designing aerodynamic hulls, increasing the benefit of this fuel saving tactic.” If cruising to Florida simply isn’t a feasible option for you, but you still wish to travel in as environmentally sound a way as possible, why not consider offsetting the environmental impact of your flight or drive to your vacation destination? ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: You can use a carbon calculator to work out the amount of carbon emissions your flight will generate, and then work out what you have to do to offset that: for example, by planting new trees, cutting back on the amount of other travel you undertake or funding a waste conservation program of some kind. There are even specialist carbon offsetting companies that will do the hard work of this for you.

Book Your Eco Safari!

Like the sound of an eco safari and want to experience the more environmentally friendly face of Florida? There are plenty of companies in Florida that offer this incredible experience. And you’ll be surprised to learn that many of them are in the heart of Orlando! Here is a list of recommended suppliers. Why not book your fantastic tour for the whole family today?

Forever Florida offer eco safaris on both open sided coaches and also eco safaris on horse back! These incredible experiences last around two hours, followed by a visit to the centers Visitor Center, where you could enjoy a tasty home cooked meal or shop for the perfect Florida-themed gift. For more information visit their website.

EverGlades Day Safari incorporates a boat cruise into their eco safari offering (the perfect chance to spot an alligator or two) and they even offer specific child-friendly tours for their younger guests. For more information visit their website.

Article written for Orlando Tourist Tips by Claire Foster, December 2013.