One of the most popular ecotourism destinations in the United States is the Everglades National Park. The park protects a fragile ecosystem not common in this country. So, you will get to see wonderful but different scenery here.
- BookOnBoard’s Guide to Everglades National Park
- Basic information about Everglades
- Things to do in Everglades National Park
- Best Places to See in Everglades National Park
- FAQs about Everglades National Park
- Explore the East Coast
BookOnBoard’s Guide to Everglades National Park
Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, it is one of the three most important wetlands of international importance. There are a lot of things to do in Everglades like bird watching, boating, hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, etc. Also, it is a vast area of wetlands, jungle, and islands. This is why you might get confused when planning a trip to the Everglades. Don’t worry, here we are with a Guide to Everglades National Park.
Basic information about Everglades
The Park is located in the state of Florida, US. That is to say, it is spread across three counties – Miami-Dade, Monroe & Collier. It is located in the very south of the Atlantic Coastal Plains. Accordingly, the nearest cities are Florida and Everglades. It’s not far from Miami, either.
Spreading over 2,357 square miles (6,106 sq.km), the Everglades is a huge wetland. The terrain is low and flat. Thereby, it barely ever rises above 8 feet above sea level. The climate here is hot and humid. Therefore, tropical weathers are common here. The park mostly consists of freshwater sloughs and marl prairies. There are varieties of ecosystems here. These are mainly Pinelands, Cypress and Mangroves, Coastal Lowland, and Marine Life.
Things to do in Everglades National Park
As a national park and wetland preserve, Everglades offers you tons of tourist activities! At a glance, these are:
Shark Valley, Snake Bight Trail, Long Pine Key Trail all offer exciting bike routes.
Throughout the wetlands, it is a haven for millions of local and exotic migratory birds.
Everglades is famous for its alligators. But that’s not all! Besides those, the ‘glades have thousands of freshwater, brackish, and saltwater species waiting for you. Don’t forget your camera! It’s best if you ask the rangers about what to see where. Also, what is too dangerous. There are many observation towers and viewing decks available throughout the park.
Much of the park is connected by waterways only. So, speedboats, airboats, and dinghy are your best bet moving around here.
What’s a natural park without camping? Multiple dedicated sites offer drinking water, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, etc. facilities. They also have many tent and trailer sites for your choosing. The camping sites vary in nature from pine country to wetlands to beaches.
Kayaking and Canoeing
The abundance of waterways here offers the longest kayaking routes in the whole country. It may take you 7-10 days for The Wilderness Waterway alone to canoe through it. Just be careful of the gators!
For both freshwater and saltwater fishermen, Everglades is a great location. Special boats and fishing equipment can be found in Flamingo.
A modern adventure in the Everglades. This is a treasure hunt, using GPS and online collaboration.
Lots of trails and wooden pathways through the backcountry. Again, look out for the gators!
You can take one of the various tours guided by park rangers. This will give you a unique and in-depth experience. One with nature, these activities include hikes, canoe trips, slough slogs, bicycle trips, tram tours, and campfires.
Get your feet wet! What’s wrong with a bit of mud? Go off-trail hiking, half-walking, half-swimming. Don’t get eaten.
Dark Skies Sites
For a different experience, look up! The air is extremely clear here. So, there are certain sites here that are best for observing the night sky. Flamingo and the Ten Thousand Islands are the most popular areas for this activity. This is also true for many secluded southern and western spots. The clear view of the Milky Way is a wonder to behold in Flamingo National Park Everglades.
Apart from these, the Everglades National Park Florida has multiple tours and rides available. We will talk about those in a moment.
Best Places to See in Everglades National Park
The whole everglades park is worth watching. Accordingly, you can start anywhere and end anywhere, as you please. There are multiple entrances and exits to the park. These are via roadway or waterway. However, there are certain spots in the park that you should visit in your National Park Everglades visit.
List of places to visit in Everglades
- Shark Valley
- Anhinga Trail
- Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
- Long Pine Key
- Pa-hay-okee Trail
- Mahogany Hammock
- Ten Thousand Islands
- Theater of the Sea
- Everglades Alligator Farm
Shark Valley is a depression at the beginning of the Shark River in Everglades. This area is full of activities for travelers. You can go biking and hike on the shark valley loop road. Also, the Visitor Center here offers educational videos, brochures, books, and other souvenirs. You can also take one of the great tram tours around the area. During any of those, you can climb up to the shark valley observation tower for a grand 360-degree view of the park. There are also watering holes for alligator watching.
Anhinga is a short but exciting hiking trail. Parts of the trail are wooden walkways right over the head of gators. This trail is one of the best wildlife watching opportunities here. You can see alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets and many more from the boardwalks. The Anhinga Trail is so popular that it was declared as a National Historic Place. If you are lucky, you might get to see one of those super-awesome gator-python fights.
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
This is the first opportunity for information and assistance when you enter the Everglades Park. It contains a museum and a theater. Also, it is the official tourism center for the Park. The interactive media and information displays offer a learning opportunity about the Everglades. You can understand in-depth the ecosystem of the region. Also, you can see how it affects the country and the world. Accordingly, you can learn how vital it is to preserve this park and wetlands.
Not only that, this is the center for booking many tours and rides in the area. You can also get many souvenirs here. The surroundings are excellent for gator watching and bird watching. You can book boat trips here as well. Also, You can rest homestays nearby.
Flamingo Visitor Center
Flamingo is central to many tours, trails, park areas, camping zones, and other activities. The Visitor Center itself offers a plethora of information and learning opportunities for the whole family. The surroundings are a bit more secluded than other places. Therefore, it’s a great wildlife viewing zone. The 99-mile Wilderness Waterway starts here as well. Birdwatchers will get the most opportunities around here. Fun fact: yes, you can see flamingos near Flamingo. There are many boating, fishing, and canoeing opportunities here.
Long Pine Key
With over a hundred separate camping sites and one group camper site, this is the main camping zone in Everglades National Park. The Pineland trails are also located around here. Great, serene scenery contrasts with dangerous alligators here. Set up camp in the middle of all facilities. Then, from a safer distance, you can sit and watch.
Pa-hay-okee is the second most famous trail in the Everglades. Therefore, you should never miss this if you are visiting national park Everglades Florida. It is a 260-meter round-trip walk that features a raised wildlife observation platform. The trail is very safe and wheelchair accessible. The name means “River of Grass”. In turn, that means there will be lots of creepy and cute things hidden in all that swamp grass.
Meandering through the dense jungle, this trail is half a mile long. The trail is made of wooden boardwalk high above the ground. This makes it kind of like a jungle hammock. It’s one of the most soothing walks in the Everglades. Also, you can see a lot of nightly wildlife on this tour. You can visit the oldest and largest living mahogany tree here.
Ten Thousand Islands
This is a chain of small mangrove islands off the coast of southwest Florida. Decompress and blow off some steam on one of the many secluded beaches around here. Also, you can go to many water activities like boating and fishing. There are various keys and kayaking day trips nearby. If you are an adventurous couple, you can paddle off to spend a night in some remote islet. The Wilderness Waterway ends here. There are lots of camping spots here on raised wooden platforms or beaches.
Theater of the Sea
In the Windley Key, this tourist attraction is a marine mammal park. There are lots of fun animals to see here like dolphins, sea lions, and rays. One of the great things to do in the Theater of the Sea is to go swimming with the dolphins. Also, you can watch trained dolphins perform for you. The 17-acre park also has lots of other tropical animals. You shouldn’t miss a glass-bottom boat ride here.
Everglades Alligator Farm
Last but not least! This actual, working alligator farm will blow your mind away with tons of gators, gators and more gators! There are plenty of tours and rides here to see many species of snakes, gators, caimans & crocodiles. You can also take one of the airboat tours around here.
FAQs about Everglades National Park
How can I go to Everglades?
- From Miami, you can just drive an hour down to the Park. On the way, there are many popular Everglades tour companies and gator farms. This road will take you to Shark Valley Visitor Center. There you can book your trips and tours in the Park.
- Everglades City is less than a minute away from the Park entrance. The City offers lots of hotels and homestays. It is also connected via air and rail lines.
What are the best tours in Everglades?
There are too many rides and tours in Everglades. Among these, the most popular are Boat rides in Everglades National Park. You can float over the intricate web of waterways here in one of many boat tours. Some of these are:
- Everglades 5-Hour Alligator and Airboat Tour
- Everglades Airboat Ride + Wildlife Show at Gator Park
- Best of the Everglades Small-Group Eco-Tour
- Everglades National Park Airboat Tour
- From Miami Everglades Small Group Airboat Tour
- Everglades 3.5-Hour Adventure Tour
- Miami Everglades Park Airboat Tour and Biscayne Bay Cruise
Other than these, you can also take one of these famous tours in Everglades:
- Shark Valley Tram Tours
- African Queen Cruises
- Loop Road Scenic Drive
- Caribbean Watersports Tours
- Ranger Guided Activities
- Guided trail walks
- Fishing guides and more!
When is the best time to visit the Everglades?
The best time to visit Everglades National Park is between November and March. At this time, there is less water and climate troubles. Also, it is the time for migratory birds, madly increasing their numbers here. Also, many of the important rides and spots are only open at this time of year. The area having a hot and humid climate, the winters are the most crowded here.
Visit Everglades official website for more information.
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