Everglades National Park Guide

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike

Everglades National Park Guide

I have visited many National Parks around the world, and every once in a while, my expectations get blown out of the water by some unexpectedly beautiful destination. The Everglades National Park is located in the state of Florida in the southern United States. This park is packed full of adventure, nature, and animals so unique, you can’t miss it during your visit to Florida.

This hiking guide to Everglades National Park will explore hiking trails for beginner, paddle water trails, long hikes through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike #hikingtrails

Never had I imagined a wetlands landscape would be so mysterious, wild, and stunning. There are no other Everglades in the world– so I shouldn’t have been too surprised. My Everglades National Park Guide will take you through all the unique ecosystems of the Everglades. With all, you need to know, including hike suggestions to make the most of your time in the park. I hope you enjoy your time there as much as we did!

Here is your Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park!

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day
Everglades National Park Wetlands | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

COVID-19 Response

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities, park operations continue to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining public access, particularly outdoor spaces. Before visiting a park, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please recreate responsibly.
– Everglades National Park Service

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day

How to Get to Everglades National Park

The closest airport to fly into is Miami International Airport (MIA) you can drive a rental car 45 minutes west into Everglades National park. There is also the option of renting an RV and kicking the adventure up a notch.

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day

Where to Stay in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day
Photo: Trip Advisor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Miami Everglades Resort

Nature Camp & Cabin

RV resort & campground with 300 sites that accommodates RV’s and tents. There are also cabins, and lodges for rent. Located 15 miles from the Everglades, 30 miles south of Miami, and halfway to Key Largo. The park is surrounded by palm, avocado, and mango trees.

Hoosville Hostel
Photo: Trip Advisor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hoosville Hostel

Near Everglades & Biscayne National Parks

This cozy, laid-back hostel is 10 miles from Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park. Hang out in the tropical garden and read a book or just sit back & relax in a tree hammock. Hoosville has 14 rooms available in a variety of occupancies for 2 to 8 guests.

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

HOME2 Suites By Hilton

Family Friendly

Hilton Suites offers guests the ideal mix of value, comfort, and convenience. The hotel is family-friendly and close to Everglades National Park, and restaurants. With a wide range of amenities such as family rooms, a pool, and complimentary breakfast.

TRU by Hilton Florida Everglades National Park

Rating: 4 out of 5.

TRU By Hilton

Modern & Updated

Tru is a newly built pet-friendly hotel close to Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park. Pick up some fresh fruit from local fruit stands nearby and enjoy the complimentary breakfast before your day in the park!

Rent an RV and stay inside the park campground to make the most of your trip! If you’re worried about WIFI, check out these RV internet options

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day
This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike

Things to do in Everglades National Park

One of the most popular things to do in Everglades National Park is airboat tours through the “river of grass”. There are several companies that offer different tours, however, some of these companies partake in animal shows, caged animals, animal touching, and disturbing the natural balance of the Everglades. I do not in any way support those activities. Which is why I am recommending Wild Lime Adventures.

River of Grass Everglades National Park Walkway

Take an Airboat Tour Along the Grass River

Wild Lime Adventures is owned by a couple who are master naturalists and marine biologists. The intriguing cultural tours are led by the local indigenous Miccosukee tribe who live in the everglades and predate Columbus. You will see alligators, manatees, dolphins, colorful birds, and a native tree island village. All without disturbing the animals or ecosystems of the ONLY EVERGLADES IN THE WORLD. There’s a full-day Everglades tour where you “wet walk” (hiking in water) with a Naturalist and then take a two-hour boat trip.

Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day
Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day

Everglades National Park is largely associated with birds and is one of the very popular bird-watching locations in Florida. The River of Grass’ warm, shallow, waters has been attracting hundreds of bird types for thousands of years. Over 360 different species of birds can be seen throughout the Everglades, all varying in shape, size, and color.

Download the Everglades National Park Bird Checklist Here!

The NPS States the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) is a large, bald-headed wading bird that stands more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) tall, has a 5 foot (1.5 meters) wing spread, and weighs 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 to 2.7 kg). It is the only stork breeding in the United States and was placed on the Federal Endangered Species list in 1984. The species was downlisted from endangered to threatened in June 2014, reflecting a successful conservation and recovery effort spanning three decades. The Wood Stork serves as an indicator species for the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. Indicator species serve as excellent messengers of the past, present, and future because their specific habitat requirements are so closely associated with one particular environment.

Loon bird in Everglades National Park wetlands. Bird watching in Everglades National Park is just one way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day
Everglades National Park Guide 1 Day

Kayak the River of Grass

Go on a kayak safari adventure and watch birds hunting, and see some turtles, songbirds, orchids, and air plants. Paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, and keep an eye out for the famous Florida alligators! Kayaking through Everglades National Park will provide you with a whole new way of seeing the park. The tour is led by a professional naturalist guide who will be able to answer all your questions about the mysterious world of water.

Everglades National Park Guide

3 Day Everglades National Park, Backcountry Kayak-Sailing Tour

This is not your typical sailing experience, where you are merely along for the ride, maybe pulling a line or two at the command of the captain. Here you are the Captain. You steer the boat, you adjust the sails, and you gain an understanding of how our ancestors traveled. It just so happens you also get to explore the backcountry of Everglades National Park and enter areas only available to nonmotorized craft. This tour is fully guided. Your guide will be by your side every step of the way. Cooking amazing meals, also discussing the local environment, actions and habits of wildlife, history of Calusa Natives, Pirates, and Pioneers of the area.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike

Dolphin and Manatee Boat Tour on 10,000 Islands 

This private boat tour is led by a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain. You will cruise through one of the most pristine Mangrove Forests in the World! This tour is centered around wildlife conservation, and is very family-friendly! Experience the most unique ecosystem in the country as you cruise around the Everglades. The best part of the 3-hour cruise is of course the close-up encounters with playful dolphins, sleepy manatees, and the famous alligators!

Adventure Paddle Tours is also a member of 1% for the Planet. This means 1% of each tour gets donated to the Everglades Foundation, so you will be supporting an eco-minded company! Learn about the different wildlife you’ll encounter with your Florida Naturalist Captain. They can tell you all you want to know about Mangrove Ecology, Manatee protection, and other interesting facts about the Everglades ecosystem.

Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden · Take in Some of Joshua Tree's Sights · Take a Hike  · Go Rock Climbing · Stretch Your Legs and Meditate.

Elevation in the Everglades is typically measured in inches instead of feet. The highest elevation in the park doesn’t exceed 8 ft. so when I saw this elevation sign at 4 ft it made me laugh a little. The elevation levels in the park define each habitat, from the lowest freshwater marsh to the higher tropical hardwood hammocks.

Everglades National Park Easy Hiking Trails

  • Anhinga Trail – Easy, 1.5 mi, est 36 min
  • Gumbo Limbo Trail – Easy, 0.4 mi, est 10 min
  • Mahogany Hammock Trail – Easy, 0.4 mi, est 10 min
  • Pa-Hay Okee Overlook Trail – Easy, 0.2 mi, est 4 min
  • Pinelands Trail – Easy, 0.4 mi, est 10 min

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
the Best #Hikes in #Everglades National Park Go #Hiking and explore the diverse ecosystems while you watch for alligators and other wildlife! #nationalpark #adventure #best #thingstodo #anhinga #trail #pinelands #mahogany #hammock

Anhinga Trail

This was our favorite trail we did during our day in the park. It was the first hike as you entered the park, so it was quite busy. The 0.8-mile hike was the best area to spot wildlife. We saw alligators, turtles, various birds, and lots of unique fish.

Hiking Anhinga trail in Everglades National Park is the best way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

*CAUTION* at the trailhead parking lot there are vultures that are waiting to feast on your vehicle. They’re quite fond of the rubber window seals for some reason, and they WILL destroy your car if you do not cover it with a tarp. The tarps are provided with straps by the bathrooms and rest area.

Vultures at the trailhead in Everglades National Park parking area. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Vultures at the trailhead in Everglades National Park parking area. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Gumbo Limbo Trail in Everglades National Park. Located in the state of Florida, this National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Gumbo Limbo Trail

After we finished the Anhinga hike we made our way over to the Gumbo-Limbo trail. A short 0.4 mile hike takes you into a dense tropical hardwood hammock. The trail tunnels through a tropical hardwood hammock, a world dramatically different from the wide-open slough. In the shadowy tangle of vegetation, the plants at first appear all alike and the wildlife non-existent.

But the hammock contains a surprising variety of species that take unfamiliar forms. In the intense competition for light and space, the vegetation grows in layers. A botanist exploring this hammock in 1983 was so in awe of the profusion of bromeliads, royal palms, and orchids that he suggested the area as a federal park. His journey here from Miami took three days. 

The trail was not crowded, and it was a nice break into the trees from the sunny Anhinga hike. Forests like this can survive only because of the tropical conditions. About 70% of the 700 native plant species of the park are of tropical origin.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
Everglades National Park Pinelands trail. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Pinelands Trail

Take a short walk along this 0.4-mile trail through a sub-tropical pine forest. You’ll be walking through one of the most diverse habitats in south Florida.

You’ll see the scenery changing as hardwoods are taken over by young pine. Higher areas in the Everglades eventually become large hammocks, unless they are destroyed by fire first. Fire preserves the natural diversity of the Everglades, and is crucial to the regrowth process of the various ecosystems.

Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Formerly, 52 color varieties of tree snails lived in the hammocks of South Florida. They came from the West Indies, dispersed, and settled in separate tree islands. After years of inbreeding, many multi-colored varieties came about. After gathering many of one variety, collectors sometimes would burn the hammock, destroying any left and making their collection more valuable. Thus putting at least four kinds of tree snails into extinction.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
Pa hay okee Overlook Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook

A short walk will guide you to a beautiful overlook known as Pa-hay-okee. This ecosystem of the freshwater marsh is a wide, shallow, slow-moving “river of grass”. It’s amazing how large this green river of grass really was. It seemed to expand forever into the horizon- with the occasional tree sprouting out.

Water is the lifeblood of Everglades National Park, this river of grass is dependent on the seasonal rise and fall of fresh water. It is also dependent on people. For over 100 years we dredged, dammed, and drained the landscape. Controlling the ebb and flow of this life-giving force. In doing so, we endangered the Everglades and the life dependent on it.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
Mahogany Hammock Trail Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Mahogany Hammock Trail

This 0.4 mi walk takes you through a jungle-like island forest. Tropical Hardwood Hammocks as seen above grow in Everglades National Park The hammocks create dense island forests that grow out of the freshwater marshes.

Mahogany Hammock Trail Everglades National Park. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
Mangroves ecosystem in Everglades National Park. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Everglade Mangroves

The mangroves look dead and fragile at the top, and they are anything but. Everglades National Park has the largest contiguous stand of protected mangrove forest in the western hemisphere. The mangrove habitat serves as a valuable home for a variety of important marine species. During the dry months, wading birds congregate here to feed and nest.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike
This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike

4 Day Tour from Miami

If you have more time and want to see all the top sites in southern Florida this 4-day tour is for you! Starting in Miami this tour includes trips to Everglades National Park, Key West, South Beach, Miami City, Little Havana, Coral Gables, and Fort Lauderdale, plus an exclusive dinner at the Fort Lauderdale Dinner & Cruise Show. Or if you prefer, the Miami South Beach Night Tour on the day of airport pickup. Nearby in Fort Lauderdale, there is a 4- hour sailing charter where you get to go snorkeling and swimming too.

5-Day Tour From Miami

This 5 day tour from Miami to the Everglades and throughout southern Florida is perfect if you have the time. The tour leaves from Miami and takes you to Everglades National Park, a shopping outlet, Exclusive* Fort Lauderdale’s Dinner & Show Cruise or Miami South Beach Night Tour on the day of airport pickup. See the best of Florida in this hot spots: Key West, South Beach, Miami City, Little Havana, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, location of the Mar-a-Lago -Palm Beach, etc. Or head into little Havana and go on a food and walking tour in Miami. There’s even a cruise tour for the night with dinner and a show at Tropical Isle.

This Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park will explore the diverse eco systems while hiking through the various landscapes of the park. #everglades #nationalpark #adventure #guide #itinerary #thingstodo #hike

Headed to Key West?

Check out my guide to plan your perfect adventure!

SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY! AND DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT! πŸ™‚

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62 comments

  1. I spent several weeks in Florida when I was RVing in 2016 and absolutely LOVED Everglades! It has tons of wildlife and off road areas as well as the usual FL boardwalk. Can’t recommend this park enough – thanks for the memories as now that I am living on the East Coast I want to go again!

    1. We wanted to do the off road hikes so bad! But they were all flooded/really muddy and we didn’t have the right footwear. You needed tall rainboots to do them so we absolutely want to go back. Especially to do a kayak/boat tour. Florida has TONS to do! It sounds like you’re in the cold winter snow like me – SOOOOOO ready for spring.

  2. Hi Chelsea

    really enjoyed this, thanks for sharing! We didn’t even scratch the surface of the Everglades National park based on everything else we could have done!

    1. The park really surprised us with all that there is to do! We didn’t make it on the kayak / manatee tours as we were only there for 1 day – we want to go back and do an airboat/kayak/wildlife tour!

  3. I used to lead canoe and sea kayak trips in the Everglades in the Ten thousand Islands and also the Wilderness Waterway. This post brought back lots of memories. P.S. I don’t think that’s a wood stork in your photo–more like a heron.

    1. I had so much difficulty identifying some of the birds we saw πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I will have to update accordingly, thanks! What a cool job that must have been! Did you see a lot of wildlife?

  4. I love birds so much! I think if a vulture landed on the hood of my car I would never take it to the car wash again!

    1. hahahahahaha hilarious. Not gonna lie – I sat there and watched them/photographed them for quite awhile. Logan was like, ok soooo do you want to leave the parking lot and hike? orrr… loll SO MANY BIRDS!

  5. Everglades looks epic to explore. There is so much more to Florida that I need to see at some point. I’ve seen gators on a bayou tour outside of New Orleans, but its cool you could see so much more of them here. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! I’ve seen them on a Nola boat tour as well as kayaking cenotes in Mexico. Logan was scuba diving while I kayaked… so when we were about 5 ft away from the aligator I was SO GLAD to be in the boat and not the water haha

  6. Love this. We made such a quick visit that I really hope to go again with more time. You cover everything in this guide! Excellent.

  7. Wowza what a gorgeous area! I love the idea of hiking in everglades and kayaking in the grassy waters! I am not going to lie though, being so close to alligators would totally freak me out!

    1. They are pretty docile from my experiences. I’ve seen them on a Nola boat tour as well as kayaking cenotes in Mexico. Logan was scuba diving in the cenote while I kayaked… so when we were about 5 ft away from an alligator I was SO GLAD to be in the boat and not the water haha

  8. Beautiful, this makes me want to visit! Reminds me of the Barataria Swamp trails near New Orleans.

  9. This looks like such an amazing experience. I remember when we went here years ago we saw so many aligators along the side of the road into the park!

  10. This brings back some memories – cycling and camping there in 1994, seeing the effects of Hurricane Andrew, watching birds that I had never seen before – (and getting the feeling that many took offence if you didn’t photograph them!!), taking those hiking trails, meeting a few alligators – at a safe distance. I don’t remember so many vultures though, but the snail kites were amazing.
    Definitely a place worth visiting

  11. This is one of the national parks that’s still on our to do list. I’m hoping to get there in the next year or so. Thanks for all the tips. It’s so strange about the vultures attacking cars. Did you get any explanation about why they do that?

    1. hahaha it WAS strange… and also quite humorous. The park rangers told us they eat the rubber weather stripping around the windshields/doors because it had the same texture/”tearing sensation” of eating an animal.

  12. WE really enjoyed our visit there last year…looks like you had much better weather though than we did! I hope to go back again someday. It’s so incredibly unique.

    1. Thank you!!! I was a little disappointed with my alligator photo (I wish it wasn’t so dark!) but it was hard capturing him in the shadows on a bright sunny day πŸ˜‚

  13. Everglades is on our Florida road trip list. We have seen Louisiana alligators and now want to see the Florida wildlife, too. The nature there is amazing. Great photos, enjoyed seeing it via your post πŸ™‚

  14. This pace is beautiful!!! Definitely would add this on my bucket list, the pictures turned out awesome as well.

  15. I have been to Florida twice, but haven’t made it to the Everglades. I really hope I can explore them next time.

  16. Some of the National Parks are on my bucket list. Such great places to visit with families too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The National Parks can absolutely be challenging to access. I would recommend looking into your local state parks- those are often just as beautiful if not more than the National πŸ™‚

  17. the park looks wonderful! very beautiful and sooo welcoming! i would so spend a lot of time there as well

    1. for sure! i was also surprised! We had only planned a day there, thinking there wasn’t much to see. It’s not as big as other parks, but you can definitely spend more than 1 day there, i would have loved to do something on the water (kayak, boat, canoe). I hope you guys make it there!

  18. The Everglades look beautiful, and you got some amazing pictures. I can’t believe that the vultures really nibble on the cars! Judging by the amount of cars that are not covered, it looks like not everyone got the memo!

    1. hahahah they certainly did not. in fact after we wrapped our car and made our way to the trailhead… we saw at least 3-6 birds pulling the rubber off and watched them eat it.. so weird lol

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