According to Bittranslators, Everglades National Park is perhaps Florida ‘s best-known national park . With an area of more than 6,000 square kilometers, the park is the largest subtropical park in the United States! The park is actually a 150-kilometer long river, but this “River of Grass” is mostly covered by swamps. The mixing of fresh and salt water in the southwestern part of the park makes for a unique ecosystem in which different animal species live, including more than 350 different birds, 300 different fish and 50 different reptiles. You can visit Everglades National Park during a city trip to Miami .
6 Attractions Everglades National Park
While many national parks are known for their beautiful vistas, this is not necessarily the case with the Everglades. But this certainly does not make the park less worthwhile! What makes the Everglades so special is that you can best discover the park from the water! You can board a special airboat, but it is also becoming increasingly popular to canoe or kayak through the park. This is a unique way to be completely immersed in the beautiful nature that the park has to offer. Even if you prefer to stay on land, there is plenty to do. You can drive through the park, but there are also walking and cycling routes. Especially if you like bird watching or fishing, this is a must! Below you can read about the most popular attractions, such as Anhinga Trail, Shark Valley, Pa-hay-okee Overlook,
1. Anhinga Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails is Anhinga Trail, a one-mile trail. As most of the walk is on wooden footpaths, it is an accessible route for all ages. This walk owes its name to the Anhinga, a water bird species that is also called ‘snakebird’ because of its thinner neck. This is one of the most famous hikes as you can spot wildlife in abundance including fish, turtles, birds and alligators. So bring your binoculars! There are also regular ranger tours of the Anhinga Trail; the best is perhaps the one in the dark: you can spot alligators with a flashlight under the guidance of a ranger!
If you have less time, Shark Valley is a must to visit. Shark Valley is also seen as the heart of the Everglades, so here you have an overview of the nature that the park has to offer. A 15-mile trail runs through the area through the swamp. A ride on the tram is a fun way for all ages to get to know this area. During a trip of about two hours you can spot animals in nature, while a ranger tells you all about the area in the meantime. If you prefer to determine your own route, you can also choose to rent bicycles and explore the path by bike. Watch out for crossing alligators!
3. Pa-Hay-Okay Outlook
Pa-Hay-Okee is a viewpoint about 13 miles from the park’s main entrance. You reach this point via a wooden platform, where you have a view over the vast ‘grassy water’ of Shark River Slough. It is advisable to visit this place at the end of the afternoon, because you have a nice view during sunset. You can also spot various birds from the viewpoint, so bring your binoculars! Because it is only a short walk (less than half a kilometer), it is also easy to do with small children. Please note, it is recommended not to bring any food or drink with you during this walk because there are plenty of alligators in the water!
4. Hell’s Bay
If you like adventure, the Hell’s Bay Canoe Trail is a tip! Most tourists often opt for an airboat ride, but a canoe is an environmentally friendly and quieter alternative. This trail runs right through the shallow swamp, where the mangrove forests (partly) keep you out of the sun. The route is marked by white plastic poles sticking out of the water. During your trip you also have a chance to spot different animal species. Mind you, this trail is 18 kilometers long! So you can complete your trip with an overnight stay on one of the special elevations along the side, where you can pitch your tent. You do need a permit for this! At the end you come to a large lake with smaller islands in it.
5. 10,000 Islands
10,000 Islands is a must-visit if you plan to visit Everglades National Park. Of course there are not really ten thousand different islands here, but there are certainly many! This area in the northwest of the park is best visited by boat. Boat trips to the area are organized daily by various organizations of approximately one and a half hours. On the boat you have plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings and look for manatees, dolphins and bald eagles. It is also possible to canoe here! There is a route, Wilderness Waterway, of more than 150 kilometers through the area, but there are also shorter routes that lead to the area.
6.Big Cypress Gallery
Although Big Cypress Gallery may be lesser known, a visit to this gallery is definitely worth it! Here, photographs of the Everglades taken by Clyde Butcher, a renowned American wildlife photographer, are exhibited in black and white. If, after looking at these beautiful photos, you feel like seeing the images in real life, you can! The gallery organizes special walks that take you through the National Cypress Preserve, including a photo safari, where you learn to take photos the Butcher way. The gallery also rents out small houses in the middle of the swamp if you can’t get enough of the scenery!
Frequently Asked Questions about Everglades National Park
When is the best time to visit Everglades National Park?
The best time to visit the Everglades is in winter (December to April). The water is then at its lowest and so you have the best chance of spotting wild animals. There is therefore a fine temperature of about 24 °C. In the summer it is very hot and humid in the park; in the late summer there is a high chance of sub-tropical storms.
What to do in Everglades National Park?
There is plenty to do and see in the Everglades. You can walk, cycle, canoe and take a boat trip. During all these activities you can enjoy nature and all kinds of different wildlife, such as alligators and crocodiles.
Is Everglades National Park open?
Yes, of course! Like most national parks, Everglades National Park is open 24 hours a day; 365 days a year.
Can you drive through Everglades National Park by car?
Yes, this is possible. However, you have to take into account that there are a lot fewer roads than in other national parks. There are no points in the Everglades where these roads intersect! So you can’t drive a round! It is therefore good to consider discovering the Everglades on foot or by boat.
Is Everglades National Park Dangerous?
No, the Everglades are not dangerous. The NPS does its best to ensure the safety of visitors, but ultimately you are always responsible for your own safety. What you should especially take into account is taking as little food and drink as possible on certain trails; this is in connection with the alligators who then smell this. If an alligator is crossing, it is important to leave the animal alone! You are also absolutely not allowed to feed animals! You also have to take into account mosquitoes in the park all year round. It is therefore advised to buy bug spray to protect yourself against mosquito bites.