Top 10 Ways To See Florida Everglades National Park
Updated: Apr 18, 2019
One of the most notable treasures found in Florida is the Everglades National Park, the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. This unique ecosystem provides important habitat for a large variety of wildlife in addition to great beauty and recreation to over one million visitors every year.
The Everglades is vast, and there are many different ways to explore it. You can drive in to portions of the park and go on short walks to look for alligators, manatees, and snakes. Other outdoor activities include canoeing, biking, camping in the wilderness, kayaking, hiking, fishing and airboat rides.
As vast as the Everglades can be, there are only a few two major areas of the park that are easily accessible. Shark Valley is the easiest portion to access, with a 15-mile paved bike path only one hour's drive away from Miami. The northern section also includes Everglades City, and the Southern section can be accessed through the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
One of the most famous ways to explore the park is by airboat. These specialized boats glide on top of the shallow the water, sometimes only inches deep. A large fan powers the airboat through mazes of swampland.
Shark Valley is the heart of the Everglades freshwater wetland and includes a paved, 15-mile bike path and lookout tower. Opportunities at Shark Valley include hiking, ranger programs, biking, watching the birds and going on a tram tour. So Flo Water Adventures offers cycling tours for visitors who would like to explore by bike.
Although most of the Everglades is not accessible by foot, there are some select opportunities for hiking. The Shark Valley area includes a few trails, in addition to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve and Big Cypress.
Tram tours are available at the Shark Valley Visitor's Center, allowing guests to sit comfortably in a shaded tram. The groups are lead by a naturalist who will enlighten visitors with infomration on the area and answer any questions.
There are two drive-in campgrounds accessible from the Homestead entrance of the park: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. Both accommodate tents and RV's with a limited number of group sites. Most backcountry camping sites are accessible by canoe, kayak, or motorboat, though a few may be reached by hikers. The National Park Service has additional information on available campgrounds.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Rent a canoe or Kayak at the Flamingo Visitors Center to enjoy moving on the water at your own pace. Mosquitos can be prevalent certain times of the year, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly and bring bug spray.
Big Cypress National Park
Big Cypress which is also known officially as Big Cypress National Preserve borders the Everglades National park and shares many similarities. However more activities are allowed here including off- roading, hunting and swamp buggy rides.
A helicopter tour offers you a unique view Everglades National Park that many visitors never get to experience. Check tripadvisor.com for the best outfitters.
Biking through Shark Valley's paved trail is a great way to cover a lot of ground at a faster pace than walking, and offers countless opportunities for wildlife viewing. If you don't want to bring your own bike, book one of our tours! You will receive a bike rental, plus food, drinks and great company.
The Anhinga Trail
This trail starts at the Royal Palm visitors center. It's a short, half-mile boardwalk along a freshwater sawgrass marsh with striking views and opportunities for wildlife encounters including alligators, turtles, fish and birds. This easy boardwalk trail is a favorite experience for families.