If you’re an animal lover, the Everglades will be paradise. You can’t take a hike without seeing birds, animal tracks, turtles, pigs, manatees, deer, otters, or another type of critter. You’re basically guaranteed a croc or gator sighting, and the very lucky might encounter a rare Florida panther. There are only a few boardwalk-lined trails here, so make the most of the drive into the park, and seriously consider an airboat tour. You’ll get to go deeper into the landscape than the trails can take you, and you can truly experience the underbelly of the swamp.
“Explore the largest subtropical wilderness in US”
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world. Although known for its vast natural landscapes, the Everglades have been home and hunting grounds for many people and groups. Since the emergence of the River of Grass, Native Americans and later on Anglo-American settlers known as “Gladesmen” traversed the wild landscape and came to rely on its abundant natural resources, and explore its mysteries. Developers would make their mark on the land in a different way, by seeking to alter the wetland landscape by draining the land and building roads and canals. In response to the rapid alterations which were affecting the Everglades, Conservation groups like the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs pioneered efforts to reclaim and save the “River of Grass” from further development. Learn more about the people that have lived and worked in the Everglades. Everglades National Park is only a one hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Miami, but the park encompasses 1.5 million acres of tropical and subtropical habitat with one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. It was for this very reason that Congress established the Everglades as a National Park in 1934. The park has since been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and a World Heritage Site. At least one million people from all over the world visit the Everglades each year. There are three main entry points: the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, which is closest to Naples and south of Everglades city; the Shark Valley area that can be accessed by US 41 (also known as the Tamiami Trail); and the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, the park’s main headquarters. The Florida Everglades are home to a diverse array of wildlife within the park’s five different habitats: the Hammock, Mangrove, Pineland, Sawgrass, and Slough. Notable Everglades animals include tree frogs, alligators, the American crocodile, manatee, Key deer, otters, and the Florida panther. The park is located along avian migratory routes, so birding is also a popular activity.
Be sure to hit up the Ernest Coe Visitor Center. There's orientation videos, and exhibits. If you have kids, look into the Junior Ranger program. There's lots of companies around the park that offer airboat tours. They're fantastic. I highly recommend them. There's also a Shark Valley tram tour, which is really fun. Also, for a breathtaking view, visit the Shark Valley Observation Tower. Lastly, there's a few self-guided trail walks around the park that shouldn't' be missed. The Gumbo Limbo Trail and the Anhinga Trail. Both are under a mile, and are very impressive.
The everglades are beautiful. If you want to go and see tons of alligators from your car forget alligator alley! Go to the Tamiami Trail visitor center and check out loop road. It is right by the visitor center. I am not sure why it isn't on this site because it should be. We have always seen TONS of alligators from the car and it's free! Loop Road is a long 27 mile dirt road with huge ditches on the sides. You can pull off and get out and check them out and it isn't crowded. Get gas before you go!
Here is a link to the NPS page for loop road. You won't be disappointed.
Don't feed the gators and beware of the giant bugs!
We took a fan boat tour of the Everglades. It was a lot of fun and we captured the opportunity to snap a picture of some gators in a gator channel. Highly recommended. Stop in the Visitor's Center and get your passport stamped!
Must see if you are in the area. Only place in the world where you can see both alligators and crocodiles. And you will see plenty of both.
How do you describe the everglades in something as short as a review..? You really can't, but I'll try. It is millions of acres of swampland, shockingly hot, filled with beasts that want to kill you, and enough bugs that you wish they would. And I mean all of that in the best possible way!!
What a simply incredible place. Take your time, and do your best to see it all. Or at least as much as you can from land, realize there are also unmeasurable miles of water trails you can paddle, and even camp on flotillas (elevated platforms built up on stilts over the water). Drive across the park from one visitor's center to the other. You'll see Big Cypress preserve, and drive for miles and miles on alligator alley, not hard to figure out why it's called that.. Take all the side trips to the trails, boardwalks, etc., you'll find maps in the visitors center of course.
It costs $25 to enter the park, and that gets you 7 days of unlimited entries. However, if you arrive after 5, you do not have to pay.
We camped for a couple days at Long Pine Key Campground inside the park ($16 per night, $8 with senior or access pass). No hookups, but pretty nice bathrooms and shower houses, of which there were many. I highly recommend it if you want to stay in the park!
The Gulf coast visitors center (the Northern one of the 2) is currently being rebuilt due to hurricane damage.
5 star for in season October-April. It is truly an amazing park. Alligators, crocodiles, storks, herons, and plants. It can get a bit buggy so get some DEET. Flamingo campground is an amazing way to experience the park. Mahogany Hammock, Anhinga Trail, and the visitors centers are my top recommendations. You can fish for small tarpon and Snook in the marina after sundown. Take a charter or the tour boat out of Flamingo. Bring a boat, canoe, or Kayak to explore the back country. If you come in the wet season you will be disappointed.
This park is one of the most unique and beautiful places that I have ever been. The scenery and wildlife is surreal. It's great to see some of the restoration efforts having an effect on the scenery as well.
The Everglades are a stunning and unique National Park. There are loads of amazing tours once you have paid the reasonable park entry fee. Plenty of wildlife of course including gators, pelicans, vultures and lot's more. The park is huge so make sure you reserve at least a day, you wont be disappointed!
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Everglades National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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Good for bird watching, boating, and 9 more activities.
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