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
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
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
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
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
The first opportunity for information and assistance when you arrive in Everglades National Park, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is worth a stop when visiting the park. With educational exhibitions and plenty of maps, the Coe Visitor Center is the perfect place to get an overview of the extensive offerings in the Everglades. Be sure to stay for a showing of River of Life, a 15-minute film that provides an excellent park overview. The Coe Visitor Center also provides information on park ranger-led activities (mostly talks and some walks) as well as details about boat tours and canoe rentals.More
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
Located on Florida’s southernmost Gulf Coast, Chokoloskee Bay is about ten miles (16 km) long and two miles (3 km) wide and is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands. A popular destination for fishermen and water sports enthusiasts, the waters of Chokoloskee Bay offer a vast assortment of saltwater fish such as grouper, flounder and red fish for anglers. The sheltered mangrove islands of Ten Thousand Islands offer plenty of areas for kayakers to explore.In the heart of Chokoloskee Bay is Chokoloskee Island, a small area that is considered the last great frontier in the Everglades. Settled by Native Americans two thousand years ago, modern settlement began in 1874. If you visit the island, check out the Historic Smallwood Store, which is housed in Ted Smallwood’s general store. Now a museum, it’s on the National Registry of Historic Places and is an authentic glimpse into the colorful—and sometimes bloody—history of this region.More
When the Tamiami Trail was constructed in 1928, it was considered a feat of engineering, becoming the only route from Tampa to Miami at that time. A two-lane road that stretched 264 miles (it’s last part of U.S. Highway 41 from State Road 60 in Tampa to U.S. Route 1 in Miami, the Tamiami Trail took 13 years, cost $8 million and used 2.6 million sticks of dynamite in its construction.The problem of the Tamiami Trail is exactly what made it so attractive in the first place: it traverses the Everglades. The Trail effectively created a dam that blocked the water flow of the Everglades, drastically changing the ecology of the area. In order to restore the River of Grass, the Tamiami Trail must be changed. Construction of a one-mile bridge is scheduled to be complete in December 2013; plans are being evaluated for an additional series of bridges or elevations of the Tamiami Trail to facilitate additional water flow, which is critical to the recovery of the Everglades.Riding along the Tamiami Trail, drivers and passengers will enjoy the surprisingly varied landscape of the Everglades, from pinelands to saw-grass marshes; you might catch a glimpse of an alligator sunning himself in one of the roadside canals and water birds are plentiful. In addition to the natural landscape, remnants of the 1950s and 60s tourist traps remain, man-made kitsch is abundant and there are plenty of opportunities to ride an airboat or go gator-sighting. Keep an eye out for the Skunk Ape, the Everglades’ version of Big Foot.More
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
Recent reviews from experiences in Everglades National Park
Great boat tour
John_F, Feb 2021
Everglades National Park Expedition
We were able to see the flora and fauna of the Everglades National Park close up and understand what we are seeing.
Captain Jerry is a great tour guide and boat pilot. His knowledge of the area made our tour very interesting. We were able to see the flora and fauna of the Everglades National Park close up and understand what we are seeing. We saw dolphins, White Pelicans and two different Night Herons. We definitely recommend this tour.