Things to do in Everglades National Park

Things to do in  Everglades National Park

Top 12 attractions in Everglades National Park

Ten Thousand Islands

The Ten Thousand Islands archipelago covers more than 35,000 acres (14,164 hectares) of Florida’s southern tip. The eponymous national wildlife refuge lies in the northern portion, while the southern part is in Everglades National Park. The islands—which number in the hundreds, not thousands—are a perfect place to decompress in nature.More

Shark Valley

Situated in heart of what many call the “true Everglades”—a river of grass that stretches 100 miles (161 kilometers) from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico—Shark Valley is part of a freshwater ecosystem with incredible biodiversity. It’s one of the best places in Everglades National Park to spot alligators, birds, and other wildlife.More

Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve is the northern neighbor of Everglades National Park, but with fewer crowds and more wildlife. Among the first national preserves to be established in the US, Big Cypress still permits many of the activities that are forbidden in national parks, inviting visitors to go off-roading, hunt, take an airboat ride through the swamp, and more.More

Chokoloskee Bay

Roughly 10 miles (16 kilometers long and 2 miles (3 kilometers wide, Chokoloskee Bay is located along Florida’s Gulf Coast and is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the Ten Thousand Islands. The bay is known for its fishing and water sport activities.More

Tamiami Trail

The scenic 2-lane Tamiami Trail stretches across the bottom of the Florida peninsula from Tampa to Miami. And while it may not be the quickest way to explore the region now, at the time of its completion in 1928 it was considered a feat of engineering comparable to the Panama Canal.More

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

As the first welcome site upon entering the Everglades National Park, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is a useful resource for first-time or returning guests. Offering educational exhibits and detailed maps, the visitor center provides a helpful overview of the park, its unique ecosystem, and animal inhabitants.More

Gumbo Limbo Trail

While the self-guided Gumbo Limbo Trail only stretches for a mere 0.4 miles (0.64 kilometers, it is, perhaps, one of the most popular trails in the Everglades for its glimpse into a hardwood hammock ecosystem. Defined by its slight rise in elevation above the marshy waters, the arbored habit is comprised of a lush, tropical grove of trees.More

Loop Road

The Loop Road is known for alligator viewing and being the Wild West of the Florida swamp. The 24-mile (38-kilometer) unpaved road offers an opportunity to get off the main road and explore Big Cypress National Preserve at a slower pace. The vegetation and swamps lining both sides of the road make it ideal for spotting alligators, birds, and otters.More

Flamingo Visitor Center

Set on the bay at Everglades National Park’s south entrance, Flamingo Visitor Center is the jumping-off point for exploring the southern Everglades. The visitor center is next to a marina, campground, and a network of trails and waterways. At the center, find maps, information, and rangers to help you get started on your adventure.More

Anhinga Trail

Just inside the entrance to Everglades National Park, the Anhinga Trail is many visitors’ first chance to explore the Everglades. The accessible, less-than-a-mile long (1.2-kilometer) boardwalk is one of the premier wetland viewing trails in the national park system. While named for the Anhinga (snake birds) that populate the marsh, the trail is also famous for its easy-to-spot alligators.More
Marco Island

Marco Island

Boasting a tropical climate, white-sand beaches, and luxury resorts, Marco Island is the only inhabited island in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge set off Florida's southwest coast. Visit the island for a beach vacation that offers options to explore the surrounding labyrinth of mangroves, waterways, and wildlife.More
Royal Palm Visitor Center

Royal Palm Visitor Center

If you have a finite amount of time to visit the Everglades National Park, then stop at the Royal Palm Visitor Center and State Park to experience two out of nine distinct Everglade ecosystems, as well as access two of the most popular trails in the park.More

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All about Everglades National Park

When to visit

November to April is the high and dry season in the Everglades—it’s during these months that visitors flock to the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. With fewer mosquitos, wintering bird populations, and excellent weather, a winter visit can seem like a no-brainer. That being said, the spring mating season is a serious draw for wildlife lovers, and baby alligators hit their first waters in early August.

Getting around

The Everglades is massive—some 1.5 million acres of wetlands, marshes, freshwater sloughs, pinelands, and mangroves. Though there are three separate entrances to Everglades National Park, they do not connect to each other. The Homestead entrance is arguably the best for first-time visitors, as it connects to many iconic viewpoints, trails (like the famed Anhinga Trail), and things to do. If you want to ditch the car, opt for a boat trip around the Thousand Islands area, near Everglades City.

Traveler tips

If you do opt for the Homestead entrance, pack a picnic. Make your way to the park, walk the .8-mile Anhinga Trail—expect alligators, herons, egrets, cormorants, and more, up close—and then move to Long Pine Key Trail or Nine Mile Pond Trail. You’re deep in the slough now; either continue on toward Flamingo or retrace your steps, grabbing a milkshake on your way out of the park at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, in Homestead.

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People Also Ask

What is Everglades National Park famous for?

Everglades National Park protects the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the US—it’s famous for its endless maze of slow-moving waterways flowing among the marsh grass. The park is also well-known for its incredible birdlife (think ibises, roseate spoonbills, egrets, and herons) and wildlife such as alligators, panthers, crocodiles, and turtles.

What is the best part of the Everglades to visit?

If you can only visit one region of the Everglades, choose Shark Valley. It’s accessible from Miami, and it’s really the heart of the ecosystem. From here, you can walk, bike, or ride the tram along a 15-mile loop road to check out the landscapes and search for the park’s best wildlife.

How much time should I spend at Everglades National Park?

Three days is a solid amount of time to see the diversity of the Everglades. That’ll give you enough time to explore the 15-mile loop road in Shark Valley, hike the Anhinga Trail—a world-famous boardwalk trail bordering Taylor Slough—and get out to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center and the Tamiami Trail.

Can you walk through the Everglades?

Yes. Everglades National Park has many incredible trails that are great for exploring on foot. Definitely check out the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm—a world-famous boardwalk trail—and Shark Valley, a 15-mile car-free road that offers some of the park’s best wildlife viewing. If you’re heading toward Flamingo, there are a lot of trails off the main park road as well.

What is the most popular activity for visitors of the Everglades?

One of the most popular things to do in Everglades National Park is exploring Shark Valley, which is easily accessible from Miami. The 15-mile loop road isn’t open to private vehicles—you can walk, bike, or ride the Shark Valley tram to search for wildlife and take in the park’s incredible wetland panoramas.

What is there to do in the Everglades National Forest?

Most of Everglades National Park is water, which means boating, kayaking, and canoeing are great ways to explore it and the adjacent wilderness areas. But you can also hike the trails, take a scenic drive down the Tamiami Trail, dive into history at the visitor centers, attend ranger talks, scout for wildlife, and more.

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