Miscellany: Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
One of the quirks of living in South Florida is that you're never far from the Everglades, an enormous wetland system that occupies most of the central part of the state. You see, all of our urban areas are contained in thin strips along the west and east coasts - the rest is basically a giant mess of sawgrass prairie and marshes. You can go from drinking a boba tea in the mall to cruising along the River of Grass in about 20 minutes.
My favorite place to experience the Everglades is the Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge, located right off of Highway 441:
There are hiking trails, a very nice visitor's center, and a cypress swamp boardwalk. The most unique thing to do, though, is to walk along the L-40 canal and drink in some of the widest open spaces you can see in our area.
There is also a canoe trail, with canoes available for rental. It's a relatively long loop (3-4 hours) that presents an up close and personal view of the Everglades. The narrow waterway can be a bit frustrating if your paddling skills are rusty, but there are few sounds more peaceful than listening to the wind ripple the sawgrass.