Off-the-Beaten-Path Fun at Babcock Wilderness Adventures

Babcock Wilderness Adventures Has Permanently Closed

Located just north of Fort Myers on S.R.31, Babcock Wilderness Adventures is an exciting place to discover “real” Florida. Spread over 90,000 acres, this Punta Gorda ranch is swarming with wildlife in its native pinewood forests, marshes, and wetlands of the Telegraph Cypress Swamp. | Babcock Wilderness Swamp Buggy wilderness tour north of Fort Myers in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Photo courtesy Babcock Wilderness Adventures

Fortunately, visitors do not have to don fishing waders and waterproof trousers – instead the attraction offers professional tours on specially designed Swamp Buggies! Tours last for around 90 minutes and include plenty of information and hopefully a few sightings of alligators, panthers, cougars, deer and wild boar along with the resident cracker cattle and horses. Bird sightings may include beautiful red shouldered hawks, wild turkeys, egrets, herons, sandhill cranes and bald eagles. |Wild turkey spotted on a Babcock Wilderness Adventure Tour north of Fort Myers in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Photo courtesy Babcock Wilderness Adventures | Florida raptors often are spotted on Babcock Wilderness Adventure tours in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Photo courtesy Babcock Wilderness Adventures

History of Babcock Ranch at Punta Gorda

The ranch land was originally purchased by Mr. E.V. Babcock in 1914, when Punta Gorda was very different to its modern-day appearance. The Tamiami Trail had yet to be built and most traveling was undertaken by boat. The longleaf pine forest was ideal for the family’s prosperous lumber business, but by the 1930s the family had moved into cattle ranching. Over the years other ventures were tried, including a tree farm, raising alligators and breeding ostriches. Cattle ranching continues to be the mainstay of the business and this is one of the largest cattle ranches in Florida. | American alligator on the waters edge at Babcock Wilderness Adventure tour Punta Gorda, Florida.Family, friends and visitors always enjoyed a tour of the Babcock Ranch and so the tour business was started. Babcock Wilderness Adventure Tours take visitors around the working ranch and into some of the underdeveloped wetland with its plethora of wildlife. The commentary from the guide fills in details of the history of the ranch as well as giving lots of information about the four different ecosystems you will encounter. These 90-minute tours are currently priced at $22 for adults with discounts for seniors and children. | Two fawns spotted on a Babcock Wilderness Adventure tour in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Photo courtesy Babcock Wilderness Adventures

The second tour is a little more “grounded” and starts with a beautiful three-course lunch at the Cypress Lodge with its stunning views of the surrounding wilderness area. The group tour then heads out to explore the history and heritage of the ranch. This three hour tour including lunch costs $74.95 for adults and reservations are required. It’s worth checking out the official website which often features special events and offers.

Both tours include access to a swamp boardwalk and entry to the museum, which has exhibits of Florida ranch history housed in a movie set created for the movie Just Cause starring Sean Connery.

Gator Shack Restaurant Experience

Part of the fun of visiting Babcock Wilderness Adventures is eating at the Gator Shack. Delicious hot snacks and meals include mouthwatering BBQ pork sandwiches, hot dogs, sandwiches and other favorites.

Advertised as “A Ride on the Wildside”, this fun trip certainly lives up to its name. Open Tuesday through Saturday, you can book your place on a tour on the Babcock Wilderness Adventure online or by calling 1-800-500-5583.

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Written by: Gillian Birch | Author Website

Gillian Birch is a freelance travel writer and, whenever possible between trips, she enjoys life in Florida. As the wife of a Master Mariner, she has traveled extensively and lived in some exotic locations all over the world, including the Far East and the Republic of Panama. Describing herself as having "endless itchy feet and an insatiable wanderlust", she continues to explore Florida and further afield, writing about her experiences with wonderful clarity and attention to detail. With a diploma in Journalism from the BCJ, she has published several travel books and ebooks, all available on Amazon under her name. Formerly the Florida Editor for BellaOnline from 2011-13, Gillian is an active member of the International Travel Writers' Alliance and the Gulf Coast Writers' Association, and an enthusiastic guest blogger for Visitor Guides. Learn more about her writing as YourTravelGirl at: and follow her blog around the world at

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