Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park 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 tour. 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? You’re in good company. 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 visitors centers.
How to Get To Everglades National Park
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.
When to Get There
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.
What's in a Name?
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.