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Everglades National Park

State Road 9336, Homestead, Florida

Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and discover for yourself the spectacular swampy weirdness that draws over one million visitors every year and constitutes a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers.

Everglades National Park tours depart from most major cities in South Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Orlando, while offering round-trip transportation that makes it convenient to tack a day trip onto your Florida itinerary.

Paddle through mangrove forests in the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge on a kayaking adventure, or scout for wild animals such as white pelicans, roseate spoonbills, American crocodiles, saw manatees, and bald eagles in their natural habitat as your maneuver through the “river of grass” on an airboat ride. If you're not one for boat rides, take the Shark Valley Tram tour for a narrated drive through park on an open-air vehicle.

  • More of a nocturnal type? Nighttime boat tours let you explore the swamps with your other senses—listen to a chorus of frogs and cicadas while searching for the occasional glisten of alligator eyes with the help of a tour guide.

  • An array of activities for families of all ages and abilities are available.

  • Travelers should dress for heat, sunshine, and a chance of rain.

  • Expect larger crowds during the dry season from November to May.

  • You can find amenities and bathrooms at all the visitor centers.

Everglades National Park has four entrances, all open daily: the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, the Shark Valley Visitor Center, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, and the Flamingo Visitor Center. To enter the park independently, travelers must purchase a $25 vehicle pass good for seven consecutive days (pricing varies for other forms of transportation). Those with a car will find easy highway access to all entrances; otherwise, opt for a guided tour from major nearby cities to the park in Homestead.

The Everglades’ subtropical climate is warm year-round but varies in humidity. The wet season (June to October) is typically drenched by daily afternoon storms and swarming with mosquitoes and sandflies (no-see-ums). Visit during the dry season (November to May) to avoid itchy situations and up your chances of seeing wildlife.

Only in the Everglades should names like “Alligator Alley” and “Shark Valley” be taken literally. Drive down Alligator Alley (I-75) for a long stretch to gain chances of seeing its namesake creature. You’ll find scenic views on Tamiami Trail (US 41), the road between Tampa and Miami, and although you won’t see any sharks in Everglades National Park, two nearby estuaries house many other aquatic species.

The best way to explore Everglades National Park is by getting onto the water. Visitors can canoe or kayak through mangrove forests or venture deeper into the park on airboat tours. Another option: tram tours take a loop route from the visitor center to a viewing tower and back.

Don’t miss Shark Valley, one of the best places in the Everglades for spotting alligators, turtles, and birds. A 45-foot-high (14 meters) valley observation deck offers panoramic views of wetlands and forests 20 miles (32 kilometers) in all directions—reach it on foot, by bike, or as part of the Shark Valley tram tour.

Everglades National Park is expansive and requires four or five days to explore fully. However, two days should be sufficient to see the most important highlights in various parts of the park. Note that your one-time admission fee is valid for seven consecutive days.

Everglades National Park boat tours typically one hour, although some stay on the water for two hours. Boat tours depart frequently, sometimes even every 20 minutes. Visitors can choose lengthier combination tours that include exploring by kayak, boat, and on foot.

Yes, taking an Everglades airboat tour is worth it as it provides the best chances of getting deep into the Everglades and seeing alligators, birds, and turtles. Airboats can reach places bigger boats cannot and provide an occasion to learn about the natural environment from guides.

The best time to visit the Everglades is from December to April, in the dry season. During this period, the temperatures cool, the bugs dwindle, and the wildlife comes into view. However, keep in mind that it’s also peak season with bigger crowds.


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