More than 200 species of birds can be found living around the Great Rivers of Florida, including bald eagles. Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting rare birds from the comfort of the cruise ship or can take part in organised excursions to watch birds on land. Areas that are particularly rich in wildlife in this part of the United States include Ocala National Forest and Lake George, which can be accessed on many of the cruises offered in this area. As well as being home to a large number of fish and bird species, alligators and manatees can also be seen living in their natural environment in Ocala National Forest.
The St. Johns River is a haven for birdlife and also offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Florida. Features to be seen along this river include lagoons, islands, lakes, mineral springs, and lush plant life. A number of eco-sites can be also be found along the Tolomato River, while beautiful landscapes can be seen around the town of Green Cove Springs, which features a dense forest and a wide, beautiful lake. The natural mineral springs in the area were once a major attraction for people who believed that they held restorative, medicinal properties.
Green Cove Springs is also the home of a number of historical attractions that can be seen on shore excursions when cruising the Great Rivers of Florida; a theatre, an historic courthouse, and other historically and culturally interesting buildings can be found in the area’s Historic Triangle District. Palakta is also a popular stop-off on cruises in this part of the United States and offers attractions including the beautiful Ravine Gardens State Park. The grand mansions that were once home to local plantation owners are also well worth a visit during a trip to Palakta.
A cruise along Florida’s rivers can introduce tourists to a number of historical attractions, including the 16th century Spanish fortress and other historic artefacts and ruins in St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement to survive in the United States today. With landscaped gardens, golf courses, and lakes St. Augustine can also offer a relaxing day out on a shore excursion for those not interested in the town’s history.
Other locations that offer historic and cultural attractions along the shores of the Great Rivers of Florida include Sanford – which has over 400 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places – and Amelia Island, claimed at various times by the Spanish, French, and British and now home to an Historic District that can be explored by foot on a day trip. Amelia Island also offers stunning beaches and a number of unique shops and restaurants.
For nature lovers, those interested history, and people who simply want to relax and get away from their busy everyday lives, cruising the Great Rivers of Florida offers a fantastic break and a totally unique experience that can be found nowhere else on Earth.