Before we get started, let’s just get this out in the open: Swampy isn’t a bad thing! Sure, maybe you’d be upset if you went for a nice walk and found yourself stuck in the middle of the swamplands. But we all know that Florida is full of swamps – it’s what makes us unique and opens up the opportunity for outdoor activities you can’t experience anywhere else in the United States.
Swamps 101: The Basics Of Wetlands
So, what is a swamp? A swamp simply refers to any sort of wetland that is forested. And a wetland is, not surprisingly, an area of land that is consistently or seasonally saturated with water. There are all sorts of distinctions among wetlands, from swamps to marshes to bogs. While these all vary slightly based on what type of vegetation grows there, they essentially mean the same thing at the end of the day.
Swamps typically form along large rivers or other bodies of water. These wetlands occur naturally on every continent excluding Antarctica, and are the most biologically diverse landscapes on earth, playing host to innumerable types of animals, plants, and bacteria. Wetlands are home to hydric soils. A hydric soil is a soil that is heavily saturated by water and therefore anaerobic, meaning it does not contain oxygen. Since plants often get their oxygen from the soil, only certain plants can thrive in swamps. Most often seen are water lilies and cattails, which get their oxygen through the atmosphere and transport it to the roots of the plant.
Why Is Florida So Swampy?
The main reason that Florida is so swampy is due simply to its geography. Florida is a long, skinny peninsula, and at most places doesn’t range more than 120 miles across. This proximity to the ocean, in addition to having dozens of established lakes, means that most places in Florida are a stone’s throw away from water. Florida also has a very high water table, meaning that underground water is closer to the surface than in most other places in the country. These features, combined with our large summer rainstorms, make the perfect environment for a swamp.
Our Famous Swamps
Florida is home to a handful of world-famous swamps. The most notable are, of course, the Everglades. These wetlands are located in the south of Florida and have been designated as a national park, and are just a short drive away from many of our Orlando and Kissimmee vacation rental homes. These wetlands, spanning 1.5 million acres, are an iconic landscape in our state. The Everglades are home to hundreds of animal species, some of which are endangered and protected by the state to help promote their survival. Some of the impressive wildlife you might spot at the Everglades include the Florida panther, manatees, and alligators, making our gorgeous swamps one of the only place in America – other than a zoo – to see these animals.
Why are Wetlands So Important?
Swamps and wetlands provide a variety of benefits for the areas they inhabit. We have mentioned before that Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Obviously, this is largely due to our theme parks, but wetlands also garner a large amount of tourism each year. Everything from fishing to canoeing to swimming with manatees adds to our economy. More importantly, wetlands actually help to improve water quality. While you might look at a green swamp and think that is the last place you’d find “quality water,” the water is swamps actually filter out pollutants by trapping sediment and absorbing nutrients. Florida receives substantial amounts of rainfall each year, yet rarely experiences devastating flooding. This is due in part to – you guessed it – swamps and wetlands. Wetlands located along rivers slow down the flow of floodwaters.
You may be thinking that swamplands would be heaven to bugs and pests, but thanks to how well certain birds thrive in wetlands, swamps actually help to reduce the amount of harmful pests. These swamp birds are especially helpful for farmers, as they feast on leaf-eating insects that could otherwise destroy crops.
Should I Visit A Swamp On My Trip To Florida?
We think, yes! There are so many swamp areas near your Florida vacation rental, it might be hard to decide which to go to. Swamps make a fun outing for the kids if you want to take an airboat ride, or go on a canoeing trip and get up close and personal with some of our incredible wildlife. At Vacation Pool Homes, we want to make sure you can see as much of our beautiful landscape as possible. Our Orlando vacation homes and Paradise Palms vacation homes are centrally located right in the middle of the action. So whether you want to shake hands with Mickey Mouse or try and spot a wild panther, you’re close enough to it all to make your Florida vacation the trip of a lifetime. Check out our available Florida vacation homes and start your journey today!