Your Guide to The Everglades National Park

Your Guide to The Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park – General Summary

Located in the subtropical wilderness of Florida, United States, the Everglades National Park is a wetland preserve. It is Lladen with coastal mangroves, pine Flatwoods, and saw grass marshes., t The national park is home to some of the rarest animal species, including the. Home to the Florida panther, leatherback turtle, and West Indian manatee., step into the 1.5 million acres exotic wonderland at the southern tip of Florida.

Its verdant foliage and stunning water bodies are often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river, which has made The Everglades immensely popular amongst tourists and travelers. The national park protects nearly 20% of the original Everglades. Since it covers such a vast region of Florida, one can’t make a trip without planning in advance. Get ready to step into the 1.5 million acres exotic wonderland at the southern tip of Florida.


Date of Establishment

The Everglades National Park was established on 6th December 1947. As a wetlands preserve, the park has quite an intriguing history. Covering 11,000 square miles, the water body in Florida once flowed from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee , and then led southsouthward to the estuaries of Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the Ten Thousand Islands. This moving sheet of water slowly turned it into its very own ecosystem eco-system with beautiful ponds, saw grass marshes, sloughs, forested uplands, and hardwood hammock.

For many conservationists, this was an absolute dream come true. However, for a long time, the area was inhabited by colonial settlers that engaged in farmland activities. During the 1900s, many conservationists, advocates, and scientists came together to prevent the degradation of these wetlands. The Everglades has always had been a unique eco-system, and it was in 1947., tThe two most important people— Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ernest F. Coe— who contributed to this glorious declaration Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ernest F. Coe..


Popular Season

Florida’s Everglades is a wonderful place to visit during most seasons. However, the month of November to April is a good time as the temperatures are quite pleasant, allowing visitors to enjoy kayaking, hiking, and camping activities. With clear skies and low humidity levels, temperatures during this time this time reach an average high of can be as high as 77 Degree F and lowest atas low as 53 Degree F. It is, in fact, after April that the visit may get challenging and unbearable, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

So while November-March is the most popular time, you can also plan a visit during the wet seasons of June. However, summers at are the Everglades can be extremely humid and hot. You may even experience , accompanied by afternoon thunderstorms. Make sure to check the weather forecast just to be on the safe side.


Visitor Center

Since the preserve occupies a large area of land, The Everglades National Park has a total of 5 fantastic visitor centers. The most popular is the Ernest Coe F., named after the land architect and the greatest advocate of preserving the Everglades. Open This center is open from 9 am to -5 pm every day of the year and during this time,, visitors can enjoy educational exhibits, collect brochures, watch insightful films, and visit a Gift shop.

The next is the the Flamingo Thethe Everglades Center, which is located near Ernest Coe. There are numerous stops for sight-seeing and pull-outspullouts on your way to the center. You can find exciting camping grounds, hiking, and canoeing trails, and a marina here. The third visitor center is the Shark Valley The Everglades Visitor Center, which offers educational displays, tram tours, delicious snacks, and bicycle rentals.

The fourth visitor center is known as the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, which is located at the western end and furthest north of the Everglades. With informational displays, brochures, and films, the visitor center stands out with its camping grounds, fine dining restaurants, homely lodgings, and stores. Lastly, there is the Chekika Everglades Visitor Center that is the least frequented visitor center and only opens during specific seasonal hours. However, here, too, you can find picnic facilities, restrooms, and a self-guided hiking trail in the region.

The Everglades National Park, with all its moving and breathtakingly scenic wonders, demands your attention. As a bucket-list worthy attraction, let’s explore its serene vistas!


Introduction

Most parks of the US have been established to protect geographic features and unique rock formations. The Everglades National Park, however, is an intricate ecosystem eco-system that is often referred to as the “river of grass”. Its water bodies gracefully move with verdant ponds, saw grass marshes, and ploughs over it. Every single attraction at the park isare pristine, flawless, and so full of color that, it is going to steal your breath away.

As the largest subtropical wilderness in all of thethe USA, the Everglades is truly something special. Regarded as a World Heritage Site, the national park is an important location for many people across the world. For lovers of the great outdoors, Everglades is a heaven on earth. All its attractions exhibit the best that nature has to offer. With extremely beautiful and some of the rarest species of birds, marine life, tonse of trails for kayaking and hiking, and plenty of water-sports like snorkeling and deep-sea diving, Everglades offers a “proper holiday” to its visitors.

Starting from Homestead, the main road that runs through the park, and it is often known as “38 miles of nothing”. But that nothing refers to the spectacular wilderness, untouched natural beauty, and exotic wildlife that, the Everglades is deeply immersed in. With coastal mangroves that each have ahave a story to tell, saw grass marshes, pinelands, and cypress domes, the journey from Homestead to Flamingo is exhilarating. Watch out for alligators, wading birds, and curious wildlife to stop you dead on your tracks and admire their overwhelming beauty. Take a tour through the Mahogany Hammock that engulfs the West Indian Hardwood forest – home to some of the largest Mahogany trees you will ever see.

With so much to offer in a week-long trip, here’s everything you need to know before stepping foot into the Everglades national park.


Brief History

The Everglades National Park is the largest remaining subtropical preserve in the United States that has been around for 5000 years. The original Everglades stretched from Florida Bay to Orlando Area. Encompassing a tremendous mass of land, its beautiful river bodies, exotic wildlife, and stunning plant species are yet to be rivaled in Southern Florida, US.

Although the park was officially established in 1947, it had already been authorized years back in 1934. Due to difficulties faced in acquiring the land, the declaration was postponed. Both the Everglades and Dry Tortugas were designated as World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO back in 1979. Even when the park’s surface area is unimaginably large, it has expanded several times, with the most recent changes in 1989.

Covering most of Florida Bay, the Everglades National Park is home to a unique blend of tropical and temperateure species as well as marine and freshwater habitats. All five of its visitor centers have natural history exhibits detailing on all the tropical wonders, stunning wildlife, and marine habitats in the region. At one point, the Everglades was also marked under UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. The time was fromFrom 1993-2007, when a few forested areas, along with the Ernest F. Coe visitor center, suffered great damage at the hand of Hurricane Andrew. The park was added back in the list as the decreasing water flow and rising pollution levels left regulatory bodies deeply concerned.


The River of Grass

You’ve probably heard The Everglades being frequently referred to as the “River of Grass”. We can thank Marjory Stoneman Douglas for that. A He was a famous journalist working for thewho worked for the Miami Herald gifted the national park this insightful name. She wrote a book titled, “The Everglades: River of Grass” as most of the wetlands consists of ponds and saw grass marshes that slowly float over the water bodies.

The book was published in 1947, coinciding with the glorious time when the national park was officially established. The reason why hHer book was monumental and impelled authorities to recognize The Everglades as a heritage site was thatbecause she convinced people that it was, in fact, a place worth preserving. Previously, people thought The Everglades was a “worthless swamp”. Douglas, however, spent her entire life working for the restoration of the Everglades until she departed this world at the age of 108.

The other famous luminary who played a vital role in the establishment of the Everglades was Ernest F. Coe. This man loved and studied landscapes all his life. As aHe was a landscape architect who was obsessed with the outdoors, and the Everglades always intrigued him.

His fascination soon turned into a passion, which put him up for a great challenge: conserving the wetlands of the Everglades. But, since the tropical habitat had mesmerized him completely, Ernest F. Coe made it his life goal to protect the Everglades, and change its status to a national park.


Planning Your Itinerary

You will need to plan your days as it’s very easy to get lost in the wilderness of Everglades. As an expansive area of land, stretchingthe park stretches across many miles, the Everglades National Park has three different entrances, which are, in fact, not connected. This should be enough to give you an idea of the vast swathes of wetlands.

However, this only makes the national park even more exciting, adventurous, and fun to visit. With numerous activities and attractions, planning your trip to Everglades is actually quite easy. Plan your camping, hiking, and touring activities depending on how long your trip is.


Main Entrances

With three entrances in 3 different cities, we would advise beginning your journey from the main Homestead Entrance. This is also where the Ernest F. Coe, Flamingo, and Royal Palm visitor centers are located. This makes for a wonderful first option if you’re coming from the southern end.

If this is your first time at the park, always choose the main routes to avoid getting confusedany confusion. The Miami entrance is located towards the north in the greater Miami region, while the Everglades City Entrance is close to Naples, Florida.


Places to Go to

With many different options from Offering campfire programs, exciting hikes, canoe trips, and tram tours, all the activities are spread across the vast expanse of the EvergladesEverglades is a one-of-a-kind place. Therefore, you’ll be needingneed a map and ranger guides to help you navigate your way.

At the main entrances in the south, you will find beautiful wildlife, each from saltwater and freshwater trails. There are many picnic areas and campgrounds nearby if you’re planning a one-day camp night. There are narrated boat tours that pass through the pristine Ten Thousand Islands and the soaring coastal mangroves.

On your way to Shark Valley, there are guided wildlife-viewing tram tours that take you through the saw grass wetlands, including a stopover at the 65-ft spectacular tower for incredibly picturesque views.

Royal Palm offers a departure point for two beautiful trails – the Gumbo Limbo Trail and the Anhinga Trail. Gumbo Limbo is paved right through a hardwood hammock. Even while you are in Flamingo, you can find many adventurous trails to explore the main park road.

Flamingo visitor’s center offers the gateway to the pristine Florida Bay. The cover is home to attractive species of birds and marine life including crabs, fish, and shrimps. You can enjoy your time at the marina here that offers boat tours, reserve a camping spot, and enjoy the exquisite star-gazing, , and even explore the canoe trails. For bicycle, canoe, and Kayak rentals, you may refer to the Everglades Guest Services.

The Ten Thousand Islands is just as exotic and mysteriously beautiful as the name goes. Flawless-looking scenic vistas, The attractions combine a chain of mangrove islets and islands towards the coasts of southwest Florida. Despite the name, the islets are only in hundreds. However, there are many attractions here including hunting, fishing, and exploring marine life, especially the manatees!

Lastly, brace yourself for the Loop road tours that take travelers through scenic cypress marshes through an ancient road. The adventure simply can’t be put to words. Loop Road is a picturesque one-lane road that runs through the Big Cypress National Preserve, which itself is overflowing with thriving wildlife and a rich history that dates back to the 1950s.

There are many hikes on the Loop, including the Tree Snail Hammock Trail, which also offers great camping sites. And, while you’re at it, stay on the lookout for a rich array of birds like the wood stork, ibis, egret, anhinga, great blue heron, and cormorant.

You will also be able to spot black bears, deer, otters, bobcats, and ferocious alligators. With so much to see, your trip to the Everglades is one you will never want to erase from your memory!


Top Attractions at the Everglades National Park

Rich green foliage gently floating over pristine water bodies, winding bridges that cross through mysterious forests, and ravishing wildlife that will make you fall in love with God’s work – the Everglades national park is a heaven-on-earth. Offering the perfect retreat and adventure to people of all ages, this World Heritage site is sure to steal hearts. Here’s our list of some of the most popular attractions that you should definitely visit with your family and friends.

1. Ernest Coe Visitor Center:

While the national park has a total of three entrances, the main Homestead entrance is the most popular. This is where the most frequented of all the five visitor centers, the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, is located. It’s also the only one with a large museum. A beautiful, grey bridge leads the visitors into the grand center, where you can enjoy short documentaries about the unique ecosystem of the national park. The theater shows the park orientation film that discusses the development, unique foliage, and water bodies of the Everglades.

You can find a gift shop where you can buy meaningful souvenirs for your friends and family. Since it’s right outside the Homestead entrance, you can pay a visit without the parking fee. The center honors the ‘Father of Everglades’ - Ernest Coe - who is known for his irreplaceable contributions to the establishment of the park.

The visitor center remains open 365 days a year from 9 am to 5 pm. However, its operating hours from mid-December to mid-April are longer, from 8 am to 5 pm. Nonetheless, the timings are always changing, depending on weather forecasts and the number of visitors;, therefore, make sure to check them out before planning your travels.

The center offers a number of amenities, including a ranger-staffed information desk, where you can get trail maps and brochures from, and register for Ranger-led tours. There’s also a souvenir store and a book shop to spend some pleasant time before you head out into the park. The exhibit area is quite large and offers a fun-filled experience for kids and adults alike!

2. Airboat and Bicycle Tours:

There’s isn’t a more popular way to explore the Everglades than through an airboat tour. Since half of the national park floats on water, a guided tour on a boat is one of the best ways to see the natural preserves.

With a powerful aircraft engine that drives these shallow-draft boats, the journey itself is way too exhilarating to be put into words. The boats are crafted for swamplands. The guided tours are available through Coopertown Everglades Airboat and Miccosukee Indian Village boat tours. The adventure gives visitors a wonderful opportunity to see coastal mangroves and alligators and manatees in their natural habitat.

Everglades offers a wide stretch of land for avid cyclists as well. Many visitors ride through the Shark Valley, whichthat leads to a 15-mile challenging bike loop with many natural obstacles to overcome along the way. The trail might just be a cyclist’s dream come true. Visitors can rent bikes from the Tram Tour Concession located right inside the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

However, spare yourself of the extra labor and hop on the relaxing Shark Valley Tram Tour. TravellingTraveling through the deepest corners of the Everglades, the open-air tram will be guided by an experienced naturalist with special knowledge on the local wildlife, rare plants, and ecosystems of the Everglades. Watch out for the Shark River Slough – a low-lying area of land channeling through the Florida Everglades.

The tour will stop at multiple points allowing visitors to enjoy impeccable and humbling views of the natural habitat. The guided tours usually go up to anlast about an hour, and are happening almost every hour throughout the week. While mornings are the best time to explore the Everglades with a guide, you can always check it out in the afternoon.

3. Cape Sable:

Your trip around Cape Sable is approximately 50 -miles long. Since the national park covers a vast landscape, half the trip is towards thecovers the inside, through Oyster Bay, and the other half is “on the outside” in the Gulf of Mexico. Your itinerary will cover Joe River, Buttonwood Canal, Coot Bay, and then back to Flamingo.

Brace yourself for an outstanding trip that takes you out of Flamingo and all around the Cape Sable. Here, you will find some of the wildest, remote places in all of Florida. However, the minimal human footprint adds to theirits natural splendor and raw beauty. Stroll along the deserted but pristine beaches, and collect a dazzling bunch of seashells. You can also plan a camp-night here and enjoy the soothing waves gently kissing the shore. However, the weather can get rough pretty quickly; therefore, make sure to prepare well and read the forecast.

If there’s luck on your side, you might just catch a fish or two for a scrumptious dinner. Savoring a fresh catch that you’ve spent hours foraging is something else. The first half of your trip will cover the Gulf of Mexico. But once you leave the beaches, the tour will delve into the inside of the Everglades towards the Oyster Bay. This is where you’ll enter the Great Shark River, which marks your entrance to the inside. Oyster Bay offers picture-perfect campsites for a one-night trip. The journey then winds backtakes you back to Flamingo, where you prepare for the next attraction.

4. Big Cypress National Preserve:

Your trip to the Everglades is incomplete if you don’t visit the neighboring Big Cypress preserve. Protecting over 700,000 acres of swamplands in South Florida, Big Cypress is the earliest national preserve.

The freshwaters of the swamp are crucial to the health of the adjoining Everglades as it protects the diverse marine estuaries towards Florida’s southwest coast. With a mixture of temperate and tropical plant communities, the swamp is home to a variety of exotic wildlife, especially the famous Florida panther.

A recreational paradise that offers a hotbed for biological diversity, Big Cypress National Preserve is a wonderful place for camping, bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. Explore the verdant preserve with scenic drives, pleasant picnics, special events, and a number of outdoor activities.

The attraction has a total of 8 campgrounds with the most popular and budget-friendly spots offered at Burns Lake and Bear Island. The place also offers a number of ranger-led activities like swamp tours, canoe trips, and fun ranger chats. With park rangers, you can safely explore every nook and corners of the Big Cypress swamp.

Regarded as an international Dark Sky Place, Big Cypress endows its visitors with a breath-taking display of star-lit galaxies at nighttime. Once the sun is down, the swampland turns into a galactic heaven. With several thrilling night-sky programs, the pristine dark skies are going to be a treat for the eyes.

5. Florida Bay:

Florida Bay is located between the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys. Boating in the bay may be a challenging feat, but it will be worth every minute. Prepare yourself for a treacherous but wildly exciting journey through long banks of seagrass and mud. The trip requires visitors to “read the water,” for which you’ll be needing polarized sunglasses. Even when the bay is mostly safe, running only 3-feet deep, it’s still important to know the depths of your boat.

6. Wilderness Waterway:

The Wilderness Waterway is quite different from other places that where you might have paddled, boated, or camped. From a distance, the water body remains calm with soft ripples. However, once you enter the place, navigating through the confusing mazes of mangrove-lined creeks can be challenging. This is because, at one point, all the bays and creeks begin to look the same. Nonetheless, with the right expectations and proper planning, you will be able to have a good time here.

Exploring this wilderness might just be the most profound and pristine Everglades experience. With a 100-mile long exciting adventure stretched before you, enjoy the journey in a kayak or a canoe. The mangrove islets were once inhabited by Native Americans thousands of years ago but are now home to some of the rarest Everglades animal species and plants.

Truly, it is an exotic , otherworldly place that makes for a memorable escapade. Watch out for enrapturing wildlife above and below. With friendly dolphins, rays, sharks, crocodiles, and flamingos, the waterway is a thrilling place to be. Watch out for countless migratory birds that ooccasionally dotting the sky in thousands.

The Wilderness Waterway is truly immersive and an unforgettable experience. There are two points of departure – the campgrounds near Flamingo and the Ivey House in Everglades City. You can choose either, depending on whether you’re planning for camping or paddlingto camp or paddle and the duration of your trip.

7. Biscayne Bay:

The Biscayne Bay is contiguous with the Everglades national park, and is the largest estuary in Southeast Florida. Home to a gorgeous marine ecosystem that stretches 428 square miles, the bay encompasses 350 square miles of freshwater with coastal wetlands in Monroe Counties, Miami-Dade, and Broward.

You will find many attractions here, including the Biscayne National Park, Oleta River State Park, the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, and numerous other local parks. Since it shares borders with Everglades, the bay is an awesome place to witness how the freshwater mixes with saltwater from the sea. As a nursery for beautiful marine life, the water bodies are thriving with life. There is movement all around.

Beneath the surface, you will find pristine coral reefs and half a dozen shipwrecks that date back to thousands of years. There are hundreds of wild species of rainbow-colored fish, sea turtles, manatees, and American crocodiles in the aquamarine waters. With bald eagles and brown pelicans patrolling the airways, the scene above and below is too beautiful to be put into words.

If you want to spend a night or two around the Biscayne Bay, there are overnight camping grounds on Boca Chita Keys and Elliot. You can also indulge in a bit of bird watching, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and beach-side idling. Certainly, a vast expanse awaits the visitors at the Biscayne Bay that can be enjoyed by glass-bottom boat rides.

8. Canoeing the Glades:

If you truly want to experience the thrill of the Everglades, you need to step into its habitat by taking to the water. Paddling on a canoe is the safest and least intrusive way to do that. Canoes can be rented in Flamingo to enjoy many of the park’s water trails.

The Flamingo’s canoe trails are the most popular ones amongst tourists as they offer spectacular views of the marine life and the surrounding national park. Ranging from beginner’s to advanced level, the water trails can be accessed once you enter the main park road or from the launch area in the Flamingo Marina.

The Nine Mile Pond is a favorite canoe location, which can easily be accessed off the main park road. A 5-mile loop that might take 3-4 hours to paddle, the trail offers a lovely and serene view of mangrove islands, occasional tree islands, and sawgrass.

Some really tight mangrove tunnels might be hard to paddle through. However, that only makes the challenge that much fun and exciting. Overall, the trail is easy and well-marked with PVC-pipe markers to ensure the visitors’ safety and ease. The mangrove islands look identical with similar scenery stretching for a few more miles as you go.

The second popular kayak trail is Hell’s Bay. If you specifically want to paddle through the mangroves and enjoy the serene wilderness, then this is the place to go all-in for. It has some very scenic vistas, little shade, and plenty of twists and turns that make it a challenging trail to navigate. If you’re visiting during Spring, the vivid flowering air plants will be a treat for the eyes.

9. Anhinga Trail:

The Anhinga Trail offers a personal, up-close view of the Everglades wildlife, specifically the cheerful birdlife. As a premier wetland trail of the National Park Service, the route is only 8 miles long and is easily completed in less than an hour. Visitors need to take a self-guided walk through the trail.

Moving through the Taylor Slough – one of the rarest waterways that retain water and rich wildlife through the year – the trail takes you through paved boardwalk curves and irresistible birdlife. The saw-grass marsh, for example, is brimming with Everglades residents like turtles, alligators, anhingas, cormorants, herons, and egrets waiting to welcome you.

Since the boardwalk allows visitors to freely explore the wildlife habitat, the birds and animals there are less afraid of human activity. You can enjoy up-close views of anhingas, alligators, and other native species without worrying about losing them. A great place to admire the unique flora of the Everglades – from the pond apples to the saw-grass prairies – the Anhinga trail is a must-visitdo for freely exploring wildlife.

10. Gumbo Limbo Trail:


The second short trail located at Royal Palm Visitor Center is the Gumbo Limbo Trail that has been named after a tree. While the Anhinga trail was all about the wildlife, Gumbo Limbo focuses more on the rare vegetation, foliage, and trees in the area. Both the trails run in separate directions, so you can explore only one at a time.

Even when it’s known as a ‘loop trail’, the pathway is C-shaped with two different trailheads. The trail is well-paved and leads visitors through a hardwood hammock. Here, you will find plenty of hardwoods, pines, and vegetation that is fit for the dry environment.

Along the trail, various signs indicate the names of the trees and explains explaining how the entire forest came into being. The most intriguing tree that will instantly catch your attention is, of course, the Gumbo Limbo Tree or the Tourist Tree. Known for its dark red, peeling bark, the tree is known to resemble a tourist’s skin after spending a week in the Florida summer heat.

This self-guiding trail winds through a shaded hammock of royal palms, gumbo limbo trees, air plants, and ferns. All in all, it’s a short, easy, and quick trail to enjoy with your kids.

11. Mahogany Hammock Trail:

This trail will take you through one of the largest and rarest ecosystems of Everglades – the Mahogany Hammock. Witness some of the tallest mahogany trees in all of the United States. Similar to the Gumbo Limbo trail, this one also offers a self-guiding boardwalk that takes visitors through a jungle-like hammock.

With lush vegetation, air plants, and mahogany trees, the Mahogany Hammock is a tropical wonder to admire. The trail begins from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center and stretches 21 miles towards Flamingo.

Visitors have to turn right for a sign that reads “Mahogany Hammock” that follows a road for 1.7 miles. Since it’s a boardwalk loop, you can easily enjoy with it with small kids as there are no risks of getting lost. Have fun in the self-guided immersion and look out for breath-taking wildlife while you’re at it.

12. Loop Road Tours:

The Loop Road is a picturesque, one-lane road that encompasses a 2-hour detour from the Tamiami Trail. Travelers can enjoy scenic cypress marshes along the ancient pathway. The trail is known for its rich history and intriguing folklore that stretches through Big Cypress National Preserve. Home to beautiful wildlife, the eastern end of the Loop Road is brilliantly paved that ends at the Loop Road Environmental Education. Visitors can stop by for a picnic or enjoy a short walk around the Tree Snail Hammock Nature Trail.

After this point, the pathway turns into gravel that could make it hard for cars to get through. However, there are many campsites and trails for visitors to enjoy a picnic or a night in the wilderness. The main reason why p People cruise through this road is because of Sweetwater Strand. One of the prettiest spots in all of the wetlands, Sweetwater Strand is a haven for exotic wildlife, including black bears, otter, deer, and a rich array of birds like the wood stork, ibis, great blue heron, and egret.

With stately cypress trees standing sentinel and proud around freshwater pools, the Loop Road is unlike anything you’ve ever imagined. However, you’ll have to keep an eye out for signboards as most of them are not as well-market. Before starting your adventure, make sure the road you’re taking is easily navigable as it easily floods in the hurricane season.

13. Chokoloskee Bay:

Chokoloskee Bay is located on Florida’s southernmost Gulf Coast. It is 16 km long and 3 km wide, with the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands separating it from the Gulf of Mexico. The waters of this spectacular bay offer a variety of saltwater fish like flounder, grouper, and redfish for anglers. The Chokoloskee Bay is a popular destination for tourists who love fishing and water sports.

Located in the heart of Chokoloskee Bay, make sure to visit the Chokoloskee island that is known for being the last greatest frontier of the Everglades.

Inhabited by North Americans some 2,000 years ago, the place only witnessed modern settlement after 1873. If you’re a sucker for history, do check out the Historic Smallwood Store, which gives its visitors an authentic insight into the colorful yet sometimes ruthful history of the region.

That puts an end to some of our the best places to visitrecommendations for travelersvisitors during their stay at the Everglades National Park. Although, there are many, many trails, hikes, and small islands that you may explore on your own, the ones listed above are the most popular and safest attractions for solo- travelers and families with kids.


The Best Lodgings

Unless you’re planning for an official camping trip, it’s not possible to ‘stay’ at the Everglades national park. However, many luxurious hotels and humble lodges around the park offer top-notch amenities and scenic views. Here’s our list of the top five hotels or lodges to stay in.

1. Chokoloskee Island Park and Marina:

Chokoloskee Island is home to a unique marine ecosystem, island, and plenty of motels where you can stay with your family. Neighboring the Everglades national park, the hotels are only a short walk away from the national park. The Parkway Motel and Marina, for example, is set on a single-lane road that offers budget-friendly and pristine suites.

Accommodating as much asaround 4-5 people at one time, the rooms are super-clean, well-maintained, and offer great scenic views of the island. The hotel falls within the Everglades and is only 3 miles from the Ernest Hamilton Observation Tower, making it a great location to stay in during your trip.

2. Everglades City Motel:

Located in Everglades City, this motel lies 1.1 miles from the Gulf Coast, making it a suitable lodging if you’re planning to visit canoe and kayak trails at Everglades. With just an 8-minute walk from the Everglades laundry, the motel is located at an ideal place for people visiting the national park on the daily. who want to visit the National Park daily.

The rooms are spacious with big comfy beds, friendly service, and a grand breakfast every day. The motel offers all the commodities for 4-star lodging, while the staff is extra helpful with tourists visiting the park for the first time.

3. Glades Haven General Store and Marina:

A laid-back and reasonably priced waterfront resort, Glades Haven General Store and Marina is only a 6-minute walk from the Gulf Coast visitor center. With free Wi-Fi, excellent parking lots, cozy rooms, and an outdoor pool, this is a decent place to stay if you’re visiting with friends. The cabin is well-equipped and clean with good food to enjoy during your trip.

4. Captain’s Table Resort:

Overlooking Lake Placid, this resort is just 0.8 miles from the Gulf coast entrance and a 4-minute walk from the Museum of the Everglades. The hotel rooms are relaxed, clean, and spacious with extremely accommodating, helpful staff to serve youthat serves you 24/7. There’s a boat ramp and an outdoor pool for visitors to enjoy as they tour the villa and enjoy delectable cuisine.

5. Everglades Isle:

A luxury tropical retreat for motorcoach enthusiasts, the Everglades Isle is located on Florida’s West Coast. Enjoy the classic beauty of Florida by night and head out to the national park by day. A great place to enjoy the Ten Thousand Islands that offer up-close views of manatees, herons, and manyuch tropical fish, the Everglades Isle is nothing short of a first-class experience.



Safety Traveling Tips

The Everglades National park is teeming with wildlife, wetlands, and difficult trails that require visitors to take care of a few tips. If you’re traveling with kids, here’s what you need to watch out for:

Check the Weather:

If you’re not from Florida, it might be hard to adjust to the ever-changing tropical weather. The climate can get extreme in both winters and summers with super-hot and humid days ahead. Therefore, always plan your activities around the weather forecasts.

Physical Witness:

With many self-guiding canoe, kayak, and hiking trails, yYour physical fitness is extremely important. Make sure to get your muscles warmed updo some warm up exercises before a furious paddling or hiking trip so that they don’t getyou don’t end up with sore muscles afterward.

Preparing for Outdoor Activities:

Pack a bunch of water bottles, insect repellents, sunscreen, and snacks to keep you going throughout the trip. Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately inwith protective clothing and thick, stout boots. Always keep small children under your supervision as most wildlife is allowed to roam freely in the region.

It’s best not to come out at night time and plan all your activities during day time when you have volunteers and rangers to accompany you. Stay wvary of poisonous plants during your trip around the mangrove islets.

Wildlife Safety:

Don’t feed any wildlife, including birds. Doing so may make them aggressive, and that is illegal. Crocodiles and alligators, for example, start associating with humans, which can turn into aggression very quickly. Keep a safe distance from all kinds of wildlife you meet on the trails. Since alligators are more active at night, it’s best to stay indoors during that time.


Parting Words

The Everglades National Park is a sensational wetland preserve that every kid, teenager, and adult needs to see at least once in their lifetime. With over a hundred species of fishes and birds, the Everglades is a dream come true for all the nature and wildlife enthusiasts out there. Hosting a variety of hiking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking trails, there are many exciting paths to discover in your escapade at the Everglades.

Make sure to visit all our top recommendations , and take memorable pictures because this will certainly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your family!

Safe Travels!




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Your Guide to The Everglades National Park

Book AuthorGoglides
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Your Guide to The Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park – General Summary

Located in the subtropical wilderness of Florida, United States, the Everglades National Park is a wetland preserve. It is Lladen with coastal mangroves, pine Flatwoods, and saw grass marshes., t The national park is home to some of the rarest animal species, including the. Home to the Florida panther, leatherback turtle, and West Indian manatee., step into the 1.5 million acres exotic wonderland at the southern tip of Florida.

Its verdant foliage and stunning water bodies are often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river, which has made The Everglades immensely popular amongst tourists and travelers. The national park protects nearly 20% of the original Everglades. Since it covers such a vast region of Florida, one can’t make a trip without planning in advance. Get ready to step into the 1.5 million acres exotic wonderland at the southern tip of Florida.


Date of Establishment

The Everglades National Park was established on 6th December 1947. As a wetlands preserve, the park has quite an intriguing history. Covering 11,000 square miles, the water body in Florida once flowed from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee , and then led southsouthward to the estuaries of Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the Ten Thousand Islands. This moving sheet of water slowly turned it into its very own ecosystem eco-system with beautiful ponds, saw grass marshes, sloughs, forested uplands, and hardwood hammock.

For many conservationists, this was an absolute dream come true. However, for a long time, the area was inhabited by colonial settlers that engaged in farmland activities. During the 1900s, many conservationists, advocates, and scientists came together to prevent the degradation of these wetlands. The Everglades has always had been a unique eco-system, and it was in 1947., tThe two most important people— Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ernest F. Coe— who contributed to this glorious declaration Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ernest F. Coe..


Popular Season

Florida’s Everglades is a wonderful place to visit during most seasons. However, the month of November to April is a good time as the temperatures are quite pleasant, allowing visitors to enjoy kayaking, hiking, and camping activities. With clear skies and low humidity levels, temperatures during this time this time reach an average high of can be as high as 77 Degree F and lowest atas low as 53 Degree F. It is, in fact, after April that the visit may get challenging and unbearable, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

So while November-March is the most popular time, you can also plan a visit during the wet seasons of June. However, summers at are the Everglades can be extremely humid and hot. You may even experience , accompanied by afternoon thunderstorms. Make sure to check the weather forecast just to be on the safe side.


Visitor Center

Since the preserve occupies a large area of land, The Everglades National Park has a total of 5 fantastic visitor centers. The most popular is the Ernest Coe F., named after the land architect and the greatest advocate of preserving the Everglades. Open This center is open from 9 am to -5 pm every day of the year and during this time,, visitors can enjoy educational exhibits, collect brochures, watch insightful films, and visit a Gift shop.

The next is the the Flamingo Thethe Everglades Center, which is located near Ernest Coe. There are numerous stops for sight-seeing and pull-outspullouts on your way to the center. You can find exciting camping grounds, hiking, and canoeing trails, and a marina here. The third visitor center is the Shark Valley The Everglades Visitor Center, which offers educational displays, tram tours, delicious snacks, and bicycle rentals.

The fourth visitor center is known as the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, which is located at the western end and furthest north of the Everglades. With informational displays, brochures, and films, the visitor center stands out with its camping grounds, fine dining restaurants, homely lodgings, and stores. Lastly, there is the Chekika Everglades Visitor Center that is the least frequented visitor center and only opens during specific seasonal hours. However, here, too, you can find picnic facilities, restrooms, and a self-guided hiking trail in the region.

The Everglades National Park, with all its moving and breathtakingly scenic wonders, demands your attention. As a bucket-list worthy attraction, let’s explore its serene vistas!


Introduction

Most parks of the US have been established to protect geographic features and unique rock formations. The Everglades National Park, however, is an intricate ecosystem eco-system that is often referred to as the “river of grass”. Its water bodies gracefully move with verdant ponds, saw grass marshes, and ploughs over it. Every single attraction at the park isare pristine, flawless, and so full of color that, it is going to steal your breath away.

As the largest subtropical wilderness in all of thethe USA, the Everglades is truly something special. Regarded as a World Heritage Site, the national park is an important location for many people across the world. For lovers of the great outdoors, Everglades is a heaven on earth. All its attractions exhibit the best that nature has to offer. With extremely beautiful and some of the rarest species of birds, marine life, tonse of trails for kayaking and hiking, and plenty of water-sports like snorkeling and deep-sea diving, Everglades offers a “proper holiday” to its visitors.

Starting from Homestead, the main road that runs through the park, and it is often known as “38 miles of nothing”. But that nothing refers to the spectacular wilderness, untouched natural beauty, and exotic wildlife that, the Everglades is deeply immersed in. With coastal mangroves that each have ahave a story to tell, saw grass marshes, pinelands, and cypress domes, the journey from Homestead to Flamingo is exhilarating. Watch out for alligators, wading birds, and curious wildlife to stop you dead on your tracks and admire their overwhelming beauty. Take a tour through the Mahogany Hammock that engulfs the West Indian Hardwood forest – home to some of the largest Mahogany trees you will ever see.

With so much to offer in a week-long trip, here’s everything you need to know before stepping foot into the Everglades national park.


Brief History

The Everglades National Park is the largest remaining subtropical preserve in the United States that has been around for 5000 years. The original Everglades stretched from Florida Bay to Orlando Area. Encompassing a tremendous mass of land, its beautiful river bodies, exotic wildlife, and stunning plant species are yet to be rivaled in Southern Florida, US.

Although the park was officially established in 1947, it had already been authorized years back in 1934. Due to difficulties faced in acquiring the land, the declaration was postponed. Both the Everglades and Dry Tortugas were designated as World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO back in 1979. Even when the park’s surface area is unimaginably large, it has expanded several times, with the most recent changes in 1989.

Covering most of Florida Bay, the Everglades National Park is home to a unique blend of tropical and temperateure species as well as marine and freshwater habitats. All five of its visitor centers have natural history exhibits detailing on all the tropical wonders, stunning wildlife, and marine habitats in the region. At one point, the Everglades was also marked under UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. The time was fromFrom 1993-2007, when a few forested areas, along with the Ernest F. Coe visitor center, suffered great damage at the hand of Hurricane Andrew. The park was added back in the list as the decreasing water flow and rising pollution levels left regulatory bodies deeply concerned.


The River of Grass

You’ve probably heard The Everglades being frequently referred to as the “River of Grass”. We can thank Marjory Stoneman Douglas for that. A He was a famous journalist working for thewho worked for the Miami Herald gifted the national park this insightful name. She wrote a book titled, “The Everglades: River of Grass” as most of the wetlands consists of ponds and saw grass marshes that slowly float over the water bodies.

The book was published in 1947, coinciding with the glorious time when the national park was officially established. The reason why hHer book was monumental and impelled authorities to recognize The Everglades as a heritage site was thatbecause she convinced people that it was, in fact, a place worth preserving. Previously, people thought The Everglades was a “worthless swamp”. Douglas, however, spent her entire life working for the restoration of the Everglades until she departed this world at the age of 108.

The other famous luminary who played a vital role in the establishment of the Everglades was Ernest F. Coe. This man loved and studied landscapes all his life. As aHe was a landscape architect who was obsessed with the outdoors, and the Everglades always intrigued him.

His fascination soon turned into a passion, which put him up for a great challenge: conserving the wetlands of the Everglades. But, since the tropical habitat had mesmerized him completely, Ernest F. Coe made it his life goal to protect the Everglades, and change its status to a national park.


Planning Your Itinerary

You will need to plan your days as it’s very easy to get lost in the wilderness of Everglades. As an expansive area of land, stretchingthe park stretches across many miles, the Everglades National Park has three different entrances, which are, in fact, not connected. This should be enough to give you an idea of the vast swathes of wetlands.

However, this only makes the national park even more exciting, adventurous, and fun to visit. With numerous activities and attractions, planning your trip to Everglades is actually quite easy. Plan your camping, hiking, and touring activities depending on how long your trip is.


Main Entrances

With three entrances in 3 different cities, we would advise beginning your journey from the main Homestead Entrance. This is also where the Ernest F. Coe, Flamingo, and Royal Palm visitor centers are located. This makes for a wonderful first option if you’re coming from the southern end.

If this is your first time at the park, always choose the main routes to avoid getting confusedany confusion. The Miami entrance is located towards the north in the greater Miami region, while the Everglades City Entrance is close to Naples, Florida.


Places to Go to

With many different options from Offering campfire programs, exciting hikes, canoe trips, and tram tours, all the activities are spread across the vast expanse of the EvergladesEverglades is a one-of-a-kind place. Therefore, you’ll be needingneed a map and ranger guides to help you navigate your way.

At the main entrances in the south, you will find beautiful wildlife, each from saltwater and freshwater trails. There are many picnic areas and campgrounds nearby if you’re planning a one-day camp night. There are narrated boat tours that pass through the pristine Ten Thousand Islands and the soaring coastal mangroves.

On your way to Shark Valley, there are guided wildlife-viewing tram tours that take you through the saw grass wetlands, including a stopover at the 65-ft spectacular tower for incredibly picturesque views.

Royal Palm offers a departure point for two beautiful trails – the Gumbo Limbo Trail and the Anhinga Trail. Gumbo Limbo is paved right through a hardwood hammock. Even while you are in Flamingo, you can find many adventurous trails to explore the main park road.

Flamingo visitor’s center offers the gateway to the pristine Florida Bay. The cover is home to attractive species of birds and marine life including crabs, fish, and shrimps. You can enjoy your time at the marina here that offers boat tours, reserve a camping spot, and enjoy the exquisite star-gazing, , and even explore the canoe trails. For bicycle, canoe, and Kayak rentals, you may refer to the Everglades Guest Services.

The Ten Thousand Islands is just as exotic and mysteriously beautiful as the name goes. Flawless-looking scenic vistas, The attractions combine a chain of mangrove islets and islands towards the coasts of southwest Florida. Despite the name, the islets are only in hundreds. However, there are many attractions here including hunting, fishing, and exploring marine life, especially the manatees!

Lastly, brace yourself for the Loop road tours that take travelers through scenic cypress marshes through an ancient road. The adventure simply can’t be put to words. Loop Road is a picturesque one-lane road that runs through the Big Cypress National Preserve, which itself is overflowing with thriving wildlife and a rich history that dates back to the 1950s.

There are many hikes on the Loop, including the Tree Snail Hammock Trail, which also offers great camping sites. And, while you’re at it, stay on the lookout for a rich array of birds like the wood stork, ibis, egret, anhinga, great blue heron, and cormorant.

You will also be able to spot black bears, deer, otters, bobcats, and ferocious alligators. With so much to see, your trip to the Everglades is one you will never want to erase from your memory!


Top Attractions at the Everglades National Park

Rich green foliage gently floating over pristine water bodies, winding bridges that cross through mysterious forests, and ravishing wildlife that will make you fall in love with God’s work – the Everglades national park is a heaven-on-earth. Offering the perfect retreat and adventure to people of all ages, this World Heritage site is sure to steal hearts. Here’s our list of some of the most popular attractions that you should definitely visit with your family and friends.

1. Ernest Coe Visitor Center:

While the national park has a total of three entrances, the main Homestead entrance is the most popular. This is where the most frequented of all the five visitor centers, the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, is located. It’s also the only one with a large museum. A beautiful, grey bridge leads the visitors into the grand center, where you can enjoy short documentaries about the unique ecosystem of the national park. The theater shows the park orientation film that discusses the development, unique foliage, and water bodies of the Everglades.

You can find a gift shop where you can buy meaningful souvenirs for your friends and family. Since it’s right outside the Homestead entrance, you can pay a visit without the parking fee. The center honors the ‘Father of Everglades’ - Ernest Coe - who is known for his irreplaceable contributions to the establishment of the park.

The visitor center remains open 365 days a year from 9 am to 5 pm. However, its operating hours from mid-December to mid-April are longer, from 8 am to 5 pm. Nonetheless, the timings are always changing, depending on weather forecasts and the number of visitors;, therefore, make sure to check them out before planning your travels.

The center offers a number of amenities, including a ranger-staffed information desk, where you can get trail maps and brochures from, and register for Ranger-led tours. There’s also a souvenir store and a book shop to spend some pleasant time before you head out into the park. The exhibit area is quite large and offers a fun-filled experience for kids and adults alike!

2. Airboat and Bicycle Tours:

There’s isn’t a more popular way to explore the Everglades than through an airboat tour. Since half of the national park floats on water, a guided tour on a boat is one of the best ways to see the natural preserves.

With a powerful aircraft engine that drives these shallow-draft boats, the journey itself is way too exhilarating to be put into words. The boats are crafted for swamplands. The guided tours are available through Coopertown Everglades Airboat and Miccosukee Indian Village boat tours. The adventure gives visitors a wonderful opportunity to see coastal mangroves and alligators and manatees in their natural habitat.

Everglades offers a wide stretch of land for avid cyclists as well. Many visitors ride through the Shark Valley, whichthat leads to a 15-mile challenging bike loop with many natural obstacles to overcome along the way. The trail might just be a cyclist’s dream come true. Visitors can rent bikes from the Tram Tour Concession located right inside the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

However, spare yourself of the extra labor and hop on the relaxing Shark Valley Tram Tour. TravellingTraveling through the deepest corners of the Everglades, the open-air tram will be guided by an experienced naturalist with special knowledge on the local wildlife, rare plants, and ecosystems of the Everglades. Watch out for the Shark River Slough – a low-lying area of land channeling through the Florida Everglades.

The tour will stop at multiple points allowing visitors to enjoy impeccable and humbling views of the natural habitat. The guided tours usually go up to anlast about an hour, and are happening almost every hour throughout the week. While mornings are the best time to explore the Everglades with a guide, you can always check it out in the afternoon.

3. Cape Sable:

Your trip around Cape Sable is approximately 50 -miles long. Since the national park covers a vast landscape, half the trip is towards thecovers the inside, through Oyster Bay, and the other half is “on the outside” in the Gulf of Mexico. Your itinerary will cover Joe River, Buttonwood Canal, Coot Bay, and then back to Flamingo.

Brace yourself for an outstanding trip that takes you out of Flamingo and all around the Cape Sable. Here, you will find some of the wildest, remote places in all of Florida. However, the minimal human footprint adds to theirits natural splendor and raw beauty. Stroll along the deserted but pristine beaches, and collect a dazzling bunch of seashells. You can also plan a camp-night here and enjoy the soothing waves gently kissing the shore. However, the weather can get rough pretty quickly; therefore, make sure to prepare well and read the forecast.

If there’s luck on your side, you might just catch a fish or two for a scrumptious dinner. Savoring a fresh catch that you’ve spent hours foraging is something else. The first half of your trip will cover the Gulf of Mexico. But once you leave the beaches, the tour will delve into the inside of the Everglades towards the Oyster Bay. This is where you’ll enter the Great Shark River, which marks your entrance to the inside. Oyster Bay offers picture-perfect campsites for a one-night trip. The journey then winds backtakes you back to Flamingo, where you prepare for the next attraction.

4. Big Cypress National Preserve:

Your trip to the Everglades is incomplete if you don’t visit the neighboring Big Cypress preserve. Protecting over 700,000 acres of swamplands in South Florida, Big Cypress is the earliest national preserve.

The freshwaters of the swamp are crucial to the health of the adjoining Everglades as it protects the diverse marine estuaries towards Florida’s southwest coast. With a mixture of temperate and tropical plant communities, the swamp is home to a variety of exotic wildlife, especially the famous Florida panther.

A recreational paradise that offers a hotbed for biological diversity, Big Cypress National Preserve is a wonderful place for camping, bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. Explore the verdant preserve with scenic drives, pleasant picnics, special events, and a number of outdoor activities.

The attraction has a total of 8 campgrounds with the most popular and budget-friendly spots offered at Burns Lake and Bear Island. The place also offers a number of ranger-led activities like swamp tours, canoe trips, and fun ranger chats. With park rangers, you can safely explore every nook and corners of the Big Cypress swamp.

Regarded as an international Dark Sky Place, Big Cypress endows its visitors with a breath-taking display of star-lit galaxies at nighttime. Once the sun is down, the swampland turns into a galactic heaven. With several thrilling night-sky programs, the pristine dark skies are going to be a treat for the eyes.

5. Florida Bay:

Florida Bay is located between the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys. Boating in the bay may be a challenging feat, but it will be worth every minute. Prepare yourself for a treacherous but wildly exciting journey through long banks of seagrass and mud. The trip requires visitors to “read the water,” for which you’ll be needing polarized sunglasses. Even when the bay is mostly safe, running only 3-feet deep, it’s still important to know the depths of your boat.

6. Wilderness Waterway:

The Wilderness Waterway is quite different from other places that where you might have paddled, boated, or camped. From a distance, the water body remains calm with soft ripples. However, once you enter the place, navigating through the confusing mazes of mangrove-lined creeks can be challenging. This is because, at one point, all the bays and creeks begin to look the same. Nonetheless, with the right expectations and proper planning, you will be able to have a good time here.

Exploring this wilderness might just be the most profound and pristine Everglades experience. With a 100-mile long exciting adventure stretched before you, enjoy the journey in a kayak or a canoe. The mangrove islets were once inhabited by Native Americans thousands of years ago but are now home to some of the rarest Everglades animal species and plants.

Truly, it is an exotic , otherworldly place that makes for a memorable escapade. Watch out for enrapturing wildlife above and below. With friendly dolphins, rays, sharks, crocodiles, and flamingos, the waterway is a thrilling place to be. Watch out for countless migratory birds that ooccasionally dotting the sky in thousands.

The Wilderness Waterway is truly immersive and an unforgettable experience. There are two points of departure – the campgrounds near Flamingo and the Ivey House in Everglades City. You can choose either, depending on whether you’re planning for camping or paddlingto camp or paddle and the duration of your trip.

7. Biscayne Bay:

The Biscayne Bay is contiguous with the Everglades national park, and is the largest estuary in Southeast Florida. Home to a gorgeous marine ecosystem that stretches 428 square miles, the bay encompasses 350 square miles of freshwater with coastal wetlands in Monroe Counties, Miami-Dade, and Broward.

You will find many attractions here, including the Biscayne National Park, Oleta River State Park, the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, and numerous other local parks. Since it shares borders with Everglades, the bay is an awesome place to witness how the freshwater mixes with saltwater from the sea. As a nursery for beautiful marine life, the water bodies are thriving with life. There is movement all around.

Beneath the surface, you will find pristine coral reefs and half a dozen shipwrecks that date back to thousands of years. There are hundreds of wild species of rainbow-colored fish, sea turtles, manatees, and American crocodiles in the aquamarine waters. With bald eagles and brown pelicans patrolling the airways, the scene above and below is too beautiful to be put into words.

If you want to spend a night or two around the Biscayne Bay, there are overnight camping grounds on Boca Chita Keys and Elliot. You can also indulge in a bit of bird watching, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and beach-side idling. Certainly, a vast expanse awaits the visitors at the Biscayne Bay that can be enjoyed by glass-bottom boat rides.

8. Canoeing the Glades:

If you truly want to experience the thrill of the Everglades, you need to step into its habitat by taking to the water. Paddling on a canoe is the safest and least intrusive way to do that. Canoes can be rented in Flamingo to enjoy many of the park’s water trails.

The Flamingo’s canoe trails are the most popular ones amongst tourists as they offer spectacular views of the marine life and the surrounding national park. Ranging from beginner’s to advanced level, the water trails can be accessed once you enter the main park road or from the launch area in the Flamingo Marina.

The Nine Mile Pond is a favorite canoe location, which can easily be accessed off the main park road. A 5-mile loop that might take 3-4 hours to paddle, the trail offers a lovely and serene view of mangrove islands, occasional tree islands, and sawgrass.

Some really tight mangrove tunnels might be hard to paddle through. However, that only makes the challenge that much fun and exciting. Overall, the trail is easy and well-marked with PVC-pipe markers to ensure the visitors’ safety and ease. The mangrove islands look identical with similar scenery stretching for a few more miles as you go.

The second popular kayak trail is Hell’s Bay. If you specifically want to paddle through the mangroves and enjoy the serene wilderness, then this is the place to go all-in for. It has some very scenic vistas, little shade, and plenty of twists and turns that make it a challenging trail to navigate. If you’re visiting during Spring, the vivid flowering air plants will be a treat for the eyes.

9. Anhinga Trail:

The Anhinga Trail offers a personal, up-close view of the Everglades wildlife, specifically the cheerful birdlife. As a premier wetland trail of the National Park Service, the route is only 8 miles long and is easily completed in less than an hour. Visitors need to take a self-guided walk through the trail.

Moving through the Taylor Slough – one of the rarest waterways that retain water and rich wildlife through the year – the trail takes you through paved boardwalk curves and irresistible birdlife. The saw-grass marsh, for example, is brimming with Everglades residents like turtles, alligators, anhingas, cormorants, herons, and egrets waiting to welcome you.

Since the boardwalk allows visitors to freely explore the wildlife habitat, the birds and animals there are less afraid of human activity. You can enjoy up-close views of anhingas, alligators, and other native species without worrying about losing them. A great place to admire the unique flora of the Everglades – from the pond apples to the saw-grass prairies – the Anhinga trail is a must-visitdo for freely exploring wildlife.

10. Gumbo Limbo Trail:


The second short trail located at Royal Palm Visitor Center is the Gumbo Limbo Trail that has been named after a tree. While the Anhinga trail was all about the wildlife, Gumbo Limbo focuses more on the rare vegetation, foliage, and trees in the area. Both the trails run in separate directions, so you can explore only one at a time.

Even when it’s known as a ‘loop trail’, the pathway is C-shaped with two different trailheads. The trail is well-paved and leads visitors through a hardwood hammock. Here, you will find plenty of hardwoods, pines, and vegetation that is fit for the dry environment.

Along the trail, various signs indicate the names of the trees and explains explaining how the entire forest came into being. The most intriguing tree that will instantly catch your attention is, of course, the Gumbo Limbo Tree or the Tourist Tree. Known for its dark red, peeling bark, the tree is known to resemble a tourist’s skin after spending a week in the Florida summer heat.

This self-guiding trail winds through a shaded hammock of royal palms, gumbo limbo trees, air plants, and ferns. All in all, it’s a short, easy, and quick trail to enjoy with your kids.

11. Mahogany Hammock Trail:

This trail will take you through one of the largest and rarest ecosystems of Everglades – the Mahogany Hammock. Witness some of the tallest mahogany trees in all of the United States. Similar to the Gumbo Limbo trail, this one also offers a self-guiding boardwalk that takes visitors through a jungle-like hammock.

With lush vegetation, air plants, and mahogany trees, the Mahogany Hammock is a tropical wonder to admire. The trail begins from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center and stretches 21 miles towards Flamingo.

Visitors have to turn right for a sign that reads “Mahogany Hammock” that follows a road for 1.7 miles. Since it’s a boardwalk loop, you can easily enjoy with it with small kids as there are no risks of getting lost. Have fun in the self-guided immersion and look out for breath-taking wildlife while you’re at it.

12. Loop Road Tours:

The Loop Road is a picturesque, one-lane road that encompasses a 2-hour detour from the Tamiami Trail. Travelers can enjoy scenic cypress marshes along the ancient pathway. The trail is known for its rich history and intriguing folklore that stretches through Big Cypress National Preserve. Home to beautiful wildlife, the eastern end of the Loop Road is brilliantly paved that ends at the Loop Road Environmental Education. Visitors can stop by for a picnic or enjoy a short walk around the Tree Snail Hammock Nature Trail.

After this point, the pathway turns into gravel that could make it hard for cars to get through. However, there are many campsites and trails for visitors to enjoy a picnic or a night in the wilderness. The main reason why p People cruise through this road is because of Sweetwater Strand. One of the prettiest spots in all of the wetlands, Sweetwater Strand is a haven for exotic wildlife, including black bears, otter, deer, and a rich array of birds like the wood stork, ibis, great blue heron, and egret.

With stately cypress trees standing sentinel and proud around freshwater pools, the Loop Road is unlike anything you’ve ever imagined. However, you’ll have to keep an eye out for signboards as most of them are not as well-market. Before starting your adventure, make sure the road you’re taking is easily navigable as it easily floods in the hurricane season.

13. Chokoloskee Bay:

Chokoloskee Bay is located on Florida’s southernmost Gulf Coast. It is 16 km long and 3 km wide, with the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands separating it from the Gulf of Mexico. The waters of this spectacular bay offer a variety of saltwater fish like flounder, grouper, and redfish for anglers. The Chokoloskee Bay is a popular destination for tourists who love fishing and water sports.

Located in the heart of Chokoloskee Bay, make sure to visit the Chokoloskee island that is known for being the last greatest frontier of the Everglades.

Inhabited by North Americans some 2,000 years ago, the place only witnessed modern settlement after 1873. If you’re a sucker for history, do check out the Historic Smallwood Store, which gives its visitors an authentic insight into the colorful yet sometimes ruthful history of the region.

That puts an end to some of our the best places to visitrecommendations for travelersvisitors during their stay at the Everglades National Park. Although, there are many, many trails, hikes, and small islands that you may explore on your own, the ones listed above are the most popular and safest attractions for solo- travelers and families with kids.


The Best Lodgings

Unless you’re planning for an official camping trip, it’s not possible to ‘stay’ at the Everglades national park. However, many luxurious hotels and humble lodges around the park offer top-notch amenities and scenic views. Here’s our list of the top five hotels or lodges to stay in.

1. Chokoloskee Island Park and Marina:

Chokoloskee Island is home to a unique marine ecosystem, island, and plenty of motels where you can stay with your family. Neighboring the Everglades national park, the hotels are only a short walk away from the national park. The Parkway Motel and Marina, for example, is set on a single-lane road that offers budget-friendly and pristine suites.

Accommodating as much asaround 4-5 people at one time, the rooms are super-clean, well-maintained, and offer great scenic views of the island. The hotel falls within the Everglades and is only 3 miles from the Ernest Hamilton Observation Tower, making it a great location to stay in during your trip.

2. Everglades City Motel:

Located in Everglades City, this motel lies 1.1 miles from the Gulf Coast, making it a suitable lodging if you’re planning to visit canoe and kayak trails at Everglades. With just an 8-minute walk from the Everglades laundry, the motel is located at an ideal place for people visiting the national park on the daily. who want to visit the National Park daily.

The rooms are spacious with big comfy beds, friendly service, and a grand breakfast every day. The motel offers all the commodities for 4-star lodging, while the staff is extra helpful with tourists visiting the park for the first time.

3. Glades Haven General Store and Marina:

A laid-back and reasonably priced waterfront resort, Glades Haven General Store and Marina is only a 6-minute walk from the Gulf Coast visitor center. With free Wi-Fi, excellent parking lots, cozy rooms, and an outdoor pool, this is a decent place to stay if you’re visiting with friends. The cabin is well-equipped and clean with good food to enjoy during your trip.

4. Captain’s Table Resort:

Overlooking Lake Placid, this resort is just 0.8 miles from the Gulf coast entrance and a 4-minute walk from the Museum of the Everglades. The hotel rooms are relaxed, clean, and spacious with extremely accommodating, helpful staff to serve youthat serves you 24/7. There’s a boat ramp and an outdoor pool for visitors to enjoy as they tour the villa and enjoy delectable cuisine.

5. Everglades Isle:

A luxury tropical retreat for motorcoach enthusiasts, the Everglades Isle is located on Florida’s West Coast. Enjoy the classic beauty of Florida by night and head out to the national park by day. A great place to enjoy the Ten Thousand Islands that offer up-close views of manatees, herons, and manyuch tropical fish, the Everglades Isle is nothing short of a first-class experience.



Safety Traveling Tips

The Everglades National park is teeming with wildlife, wetlands, and difficult trails that require visitors to take care of a few tips. If you’re traveling with kids, here’s what you need to watch out for:

Check the Weather:

If you’re not from Florida, it might be hard to adjust to the ever-changing tropical weather. The climate can get extreme in both winters and summers with super-hot and humid days ahead. Therefore, always plan your activities around the weather forecasts.

Physical Witness:

With many self-guiding canoe, kayak, and hiking trails, yYour physical fitness is extremely important. Make sure to get your muscles warmed updo some warm up exercises before a furious paddling or hiking trip so that they don’t getyou don’t end up with sore muscles afterward.

Preparing for Outdoor Activities:

Pack a bunch of water bottles, insect repellents, sunscreen, and snacks to keep you going throughout the trip. Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately inwith protective clothing and thick, stout boots. Always keep small children under your supervision as most wildlife is allowed to roam freely in the region.

It’s best not to come out at night time and plan all your activities during day time when you have volunteers and rangers to accompany you. Stay wvary of poisonous plants during your trip around the mangrove islets.

Wildlife Safety:

Don’t feed any wildlife, including birds. Doing so may make them aggressive, and that is illegal. Crocodiles and alligators, for example, start associating with humans, which can turn into aggression very quickly. Keep a safe distance from all kinds of wildlife you meet on the trails. Since alligators are more active at night, it’s best to stay indoors during that time.


Parting Words

The Everglades National Park is a sensational wetland preserve that every kid, teenager, and adult needs to see at least once in their lifetime. With over a hundred species of fishes and birds, the Everglades is a dream come true for all the nature and wildlife enthusiasts out there. Hosting a variety of hiking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking trails, there are many exciting paths to discover in your escapade at the Everglades.

Make sure to visit all our top recommendations , and take memorable pictures because this will certainly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your family!

Safe Travels!