By Terry Tomalin

Get an Old Florida treat with a coastal cruise along the mangroves and grassy islands of Fakahatchee and the 10,000 Islands. Most people associate ghost orchids with the Fakahatchee Swamp but this coastal area, known for its Florida panthers and commercial fishing families, is an excellent place to explore by boat.

The adventure starts at Fakahatchee Strand State Park, where a naturalist will point out unusual plants on the path up to the old cemetery. On the trip home, your boat will pass by one of the area’s famous bird rookeries where you will see the local residents settling down in the trees for the evening.
This area is rich in history and not much has changed since the early 1900s, when farmers and fishermen first settled around Fakahatchee Bay, which is west Chokoloskee, the gateway to Everglades National Park.

The Coastal Cruise, sponsored by the Friends of Fakahatchee, is scheduled for Nov. 23. The event begins with a talk about the history of the area at the Everglades National Park Ranger Station in Everglades City at 3 p.m. Participants will then be ferried to the island by Everglades National Park Boat Tours. The event ends around 6 p.m. back in Everglades City.

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places to remember