8000 State Road 31
Punta Gorda, FL 33982

By  Mike Miller  Updated November 16, 2023

Babcock Ranch Eco Tours was known for many years as Babcock Wilderness Adventures. 

It is one of the most unusual of Florida tourist attractions. It takes place on a 92,000 acre working ranch in the heart of Old Florida.

Mother deer and fawn at Babcock RanchMother Deer and Fawn at Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch is a working Florida ranch primarily engaged in raising beef cattle. The ranch also has large farming and mining operations.

The Babcock family of Pittsburgh owned the Babcock Lumber Company. E. V. Babcock came to southwest Florida in 1912 to hunt and fish. 

He liked the place so well he bought 100,000 acres of worked out turpentine pine woods and added to that acreage over the years.

When most of the timber was logged out, Babcock converted the acreage to a cattle ranch.

Wild HogWild Hog

When his son, Fred, was 14 he started coming to Charlotte County in the summer months to learn the cattle business.  In the winters he worked in the family sawmill near Pittsburgh.

Fred liked this lifestyle so much, he continued it the rest of his life - except that he wisely reversed the seasonal visits.  He became one of the early snowbirds.

Babcock Ranch Eco Tours Swamp BuggyBabcock Ranch Eco Tours Swamp Buggy

The ranch sprawls across Lee County and Charlotte County, and is northwest of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda.

Babcock Wilderness Adventures is one of the last places in Florida where you may see the elusive Florida panther in its natural habitat.

It is one of the possible surprises that has made this one of the most unusual Florida tourist attractions.

Red Shouldered HawkRed Shouldered Hawk

You will also see the tough cows and bulls unique to the state known as Florida Cracker cattle.

Babcock Wilderness Adventures offers adventure-seeking visitors 90-minute Swamp Buggy Tours and a lot more. 

It takes about 2 1/2 hours to see everything on your Babcock Wilderness Adventures tour.

The specially built shaded buggies carry you safely through native piney flatwoods, oak hammocks, a fresh water marsh and a cypress swamp.

Panther at Babcock RanchPanther at Babcock Ranch

All told, you will see four different Florida ecosystems on your Babcock Wilderness Adventures tour. 

An experienced tour guide tells you all about the wildlife and explains the ranch activities and ranch history as well.

You will probably run into wild alligators and see hundreds of native birds on this tour. 

The ranch is also home to white tailed deer, wild turkeys, American Eagles and Red Shouldered Hawks.

Babcock Ranch AlligatorBabcock Ranch Alligator

It is as close to nature as you can possibly be in Florida.

There is also a museum featuring Florida history, ranch operations, and natural history artifacts.

There is even a movie set used in the Sean Connery film "Just Cause".


The gift shop has many items related to the ranch, the wilderness tour and Florida wildlife.

You can also have a picnic at Babcock Ranch. You can bring your own picnic basket or enjoy a lunch of BBQ pork sandwiches, hot dogs and finger foods in the Gator Shack Restaurant.

Babcock Ranch Gator Shack RestaurantBabcock Ranch Gator Shack Restaurant

All tours are by reservation only, so it's best to call them before going. Please call 1-800-500-5583 for tour times or visit:

Babcock Ranch Ecotour Website.


The Babcock Ranch was sold several years ago to Kitson & Partners, a development company. The company kept the operation of Babcock Ranch Eco Tours open to the public.

The Kitson group has developed a brand new city appropriately named Babcock Ranch. They donated all but 17,000 acres of the ranch to the state.

The remaining acreage is being used to create a futuristic, sustainable, environmentally sensitive community.  Construction on this new city began in 2015 and many people are living there today.

Founders Square at City of Babcock RanchFounders Square at City of Babcock Ranch

It is the first city almost any place on earth to use the sun for almost all of its energy needs. Who knows, this modern city could also end up being one of the popular Florida tourist attractions of tomorrow.

Babcock Ranch (the new City) has a state-of-the-art $ 300 million Florida Solar Power plant. The city consumes less power than the plant produces.

Most of the land adjacent to the new city is being preserved in its natural condition.

Learn all about the new sustainable City of Babcock Ranch


From the North:

I-75 to Exit 164 to Highway 17. Head North one mile to State Road 74. Then go East 15 miles to State Road 31.Then go South.

Look for Tour Entrance 6 miles on left

From the South:

I-75 to Exit 143. Head East on Route 78 to State Road 31.Then go North.

Look for Tour Entrance 9 miles on right.

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