I had read about Circle B Bar Reserve in a blog post and decided that that was a place I absolutely had to visit once I got to Florida on my 5 week USA roadtrip. I was lucky enough to go there with one half of the couple that hosted me in an Airbnb just 20 minutes away – he knew the place in and out, and on top of that he was a science teacher so he could tell me all about all the animals we were seeing! Doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.
My first impression was simply ‘Wow, this is beautiful!’.
First animal encounter. They got bigger than that..!
We saw SO many birds. I believe this is an egret of some persuasion..
..and a great blue heron!
There’s this big lake in the middle where you can see alligators bobbing in the water all over..!
This is a roseate spoonbill, I think you can see the beak that’s kinda shaped like a spoon? Beautiful looking creature.
This is a limpkin, just minding its own business. Didn’t seem concerned with us two onlookers at all..!
See that blue bird in the bottom of the photo? I’m pretty sure that’s a purple gallinule, according to the signs put up around the reserve about what species of birds you could see there.
I spent quite a while looking at this particular little pond. Even though the spoonbills and egrets are pretty, it was more because of this lady:
Pretty big alligator..! She/it was moving about between all the birds catching half dead fish (because the pond was drying out).
There’s a HUGE alligator living in Circle B Bar Reserve (seriously, google it!), and according to my airbnb host we could see it in the lake on the other side of the path, although not up close at all..
.. compared to this one. You see the alligatorhead? We didn’t see it until we were right next to it, caught (especially me) completely off guard! I was so happy that I was with a science teacher who could tell me for sure that alligators are not aggressive unless you’re between a mother and her babies, so there was no danger. We were only between this one and the lake it wanted to cross to.
Still, that’s a big, teethy animal for someone who is only used to the common domestic cat at home..!
Right before we headed back to our cars we just happened to see one of these, a wild pig. I was so happy that I went out and spent a couple of hours in Circle B Bar Reserve. It was amazing to be able to see so many different kinds of animals in a perfectly wild environment. Even better: Circle B Bar Reserve is free, and apparently a little under the radar or just not in a popular tourist area? Whatever the reason, it’s very quiet.
If you’re going south from Circle B Bar, maybe to the Everglades, Miami or Key West, you definitely should consider checking out Siesta Beach on the way.
This beach is voted the #1 Beach in all of the United States, and I totally see why. The beach itself is the best I’ve been on, with this powdery, white, cool sand and water that was the warmest ocean water I’ve ever been in, and with the perfect depth. On top of that there’s free parking right at the beach and restrooms and outdoor showers which is just super convenient.
If you would prefer a smaller, quieter beach in the same area, my airbnb hosts recommended Nokomis beach which is just a little south of Siesta. If you’re in that area I can only give my highest recommendations to Joanne’s Airbnb in Plant City.
Have you visited the Circle B Bar Reserve? Any tips on other great beaches or wildlife areas in Florida? Comment below!