DESTINATION: FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR
Looking for the best sunset in Florida? Fort Zachary Taylor, Florida's southernmost state park, is as good as it gets. Built in the mid 1800s to defend the nation's southeastern coastline, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. You can sign up for one of the daily guided tours or just chill out on Key West's favorite beach, at the southern end of the park. There's good fishing and snorkeling too, a pleasant break from the bars and T-shirt shops of Duval Street. Interesting fact: Fort Taylor was originally built 1,200 feet offshore, but in the mid 1960s a U.S. Navy dredging project landlocked the fortress. floridastateparks.org.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the U.S. Postal Service is issuing some "forever stamps" which pay tribute to the nation's most scenic places. A setting sun photograph of pinelands and grasses in the country's largest subtropical wilderness — Everglades National Park — is the sixth of 16 stamps in the series. The stamp image is a photograph by Paul Marcellini of Miami. The national park, which stretches from Miami to Naples and south to the Florida Keys, covers more than 1.5 million acres of sawgrass prairies, tropical hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests. Bring your binoculars and you'll see alligators, crocodiles, manatees and maybe a Florida panther. nps.gov/ever.
BREEZY: Myakka airboating
It's getting hot out there but that doesn't mean you have to stay off the water. Myakka River State Park, about an hour south of downtown St. Petersburg, has big reptiles and the world's largest airboats, the Myakka Maiden and the Gator Gal, both of which offer scenic cruises on Upper Myakka Lake. Like human-powered canoes, the slow-moving, air-powered watercraft can travel into shallow areas for optimum wildlife viewing. The tour schedule varies during the winter and summer months. You can also enjoy the park from the comfort of your own air-conditioned car when you take a tour on the 7-mile scenic drive that winds along the wetlands of the upper lake. floridastateparks.org.
GREAT GEAR: Danco Pliers
Whether you're fishing for king mackerel offshore or snook in the backcountry, every angler needs a good pair of pliers. With Mother's Day and Father's Day just around the corner, get your favorite folk something they can use but probably wouldn't buy for themselves: Danco Pliers. These aluminum pliers cost $39.99 and will last forever. Find them at Dogfish Tackle, 8750 Park Blvd. N, Seminole.
HAIL THE KING: KINGFISH TOURNAMENT
Check out the Old Salt Spring King of the Beach Kingfish Tournament & Seafood Festival Thursday through Saturday in Madeira Beach. The top teams from Texas to Virginia will be competing for the $50,000 first place prize. The three days of music, food and events are for everybody, not just hard-core kingfish anglers. Registration is $235-$245. oldsaltfishing.org.