Everglades National Park: A Visitor’s Guide

Everglades National Park

everglades national park
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Everglades National Park was authorized on May 30, 1934; dedicated on December 6, 1947; and designated an International Biosphere Reserve on October 26, 1976; a World Heritage Site on October 26, 1979; and a Wetland of International Importance on June 4, 1987. This 1.5 million-acre park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the continental United States. It has extensive freshwater estuarine and saltwater, open everglade prairies, hardwood tree islands, cypress domes, pinelands, and mangrove forests. It is the only place in the world ‘where the ‘American alligator and crocodile coexist. Everglades National Park is located in the southern part of the state of Florida, west of Homestead.

arrow-icon  Phone Number: 305/242-7700

arrow-icon  Park Hours:  Main park entrance and most visitor centers open daily.

arrow-icon  When to Go: Busiest December-April. Least crowded May-November.

arrow-icon  Helpful Links: www.nps.gov/ever

arrow-icon  What to Do: Bicycling, boating, boat touring, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking, camping, wildlife viewing, bird-watching.

arrow-icon  Facilities: Five visitor centers, interpretive displays, trails, roadside interpretive exhibits, amphitheaters, boat-launch areas, campgrounds, boardwalks, book sale
areas, gift shops, fire pits, and restrooms.

arrow-icon  Programs/Events: Guided tours daily 11 am, occasional ranger-led tours, moat walks.

photos-national parks  See Photos.

arrow-icon  Address and  Mailing Address: 40001 SR-9336 Homestead, FL 33034

arrow-icon  Directions: Choose Starting Point   national parks

arrow-icon  Number of Visitors/Year:
597,124 (Year 2018)

arrow-icon  Fees and Permits:  The entrance fee is $10 per vehicle and $5 per person walking or biking. An entrance ticket is valid for a week. 

  Accessibility: Visitor centers, eight trails, some campgrounds, and some ranger-led activities are wheelchair-accessible. Boat, tram and other concessions have limited wheelchair access.

arrow-icon  Pets: The park features areas and trails that are pet-friendly and restricted or closed to pets. Pets must be restrained on a 6 feet leash, never left unattended, and owners are responsible for removing pet waste.

Major Attractions

The Everglades National Park is regarded as the largest tropical wilderness in North America. The park is mostly swampland interspersed with small islands. Most attractions in the park are near or on water and feature wildlife encounters and open vistas.

Take an Airboat Tour: Cruising the channels and pathways through the swamp is a unique experience, although an airboat can be too loud for some. The outfitter generally provides ear protection gear.

Take a Valley Tram Tour: A more silent option to an Airboat Tour is a Tram Tour. The two-hour tram tours cover approximately 15 miles on a paved road and are led by an expert guide.

Visit the Mahogany Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail: These relatively short Trails enters tropical hammock islands within the park. The boardwalk is self-guided and there are information and benches along the trails.

Anhinga Trail: If you love wildlife, the 0.8-mile Anhinga Trail is for you. This boardwalk goes through ponds and swamp where herons, egrets, ibises, alligators, and tropical fish abound.

Visit the Shark Valley Observation Tower: Located about 7 miles from the Shark Valley Visitor Center, the observation tower affords a bird’s eye view of miles of the extremely flat Everglades National Park.

Take a Bicycle Tour: You can explore the park on your own with your own bike or by renting one at the Shark Valley Visitor Center. You can cover the same paved road used by the Tram and stop at points of interest for as long as you want.

Take a Canoe Trip: There is an endless number of channels through the extensive mangrove forest at the park. You can bring your own canoe are rent one in Flamingo. Make sure you know where you are going and know how to return to your point of departure.

Camping: If you are into stargazing or enjoy the sounds of frogs and owls camping in the park is an option. Choose a campground that provides electric hookups and bathrooms or a backcountry camp. Make reservations at the park administration.

Tips: Go December – April for best wildlife viewing.

Everglades National Park’s Summary Reviews

The following are summaries of actual reviews made by visitors to Everglades National Park.

What is good:

Incredibly beautiful place with tons of biodiversity. I explored part of the park via a guided boat tour. Can’t wait to go back!!!

Awesome wonderful place. The majesty of the Everglades is absolutely stunning especially when you’re on an airboat weaving your way around the mangroves and getting glimpses of an alligator here and there.

If you want to see alligators in the wild, this is an excellent place! The airboat rides are great! We saw all kinds of different birds and swamp creatures on the ride. It took approximately 45 minutes.

UNLIKE ANYTHING you have likely seen in your travels, the Everglades is an extraordinarily distinctive ecosystem that still hosts millions of birds and other creatures in what one writer called The Sea of Grass.

I love the feel, the expanding of the senses, the solitude. I’m an avid bass fisherman and nothing brings me peace of mind like fishing alone in the Everglades.

The Everglades are just sooooo amazing and breathtaking. Mother nature can be so wonderful. You can see soo many animals and plants while walking or kayaking through the everglades.

One of the best national parks in the US. Not too many people and some weary remote hikes
I’ve done more than enough photography down here, whether it’s a sunrise, sunset or daytime thunderstorm far off in the distance, the Everglades always produces beautiful pictures.

What is not so good:

Unfortunately, much of the smaller wildlife has been decimated by the python. I have nothing against snakes in their native habitat but the python needs to go.

Absolutely not worth the time and money. Most of the walkways and all observation towers are closed due to hurricane damage. Flamingo is completely shut down. No boat tours available.

The water is too high. We saw exactly one alligator, a few birds, and many mosquitoes. If the rangers at the visitor center had pointed that out (which they didn’t), we would have saved the 25$ entrance fee and the lost day.

Be sure if you’re going boating to bring plenty of water and get your food well prior to this destination because there aren’t any options close by.

Very disappointing! Also, 6 weeks after Irma we did not see any maintenance crew. There doesn’t seem to be any rebuilding going on. Only “Closed” signs… Not sure what we paid for.

We really love to see the animals in their natural environment. I was disappointed not to see any flamingo, I was not aware that they have been hunted during the 30s and disappeared.

You may not be missing much. The Everglades will soon be no more as seawater levels are rising.
Mosquitoes everywhere! Bring plenty of mosquito spray even during the day Overrated national park.

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