Everglades National Park Guide
Here is your Adventure Guide to Everglades National Park!
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
How to Get to Everglades National Park
The closest airport to
Where to Stay in Everglades National Park
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gumbo Limbo Trail
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mahogany Hammock Trail
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.
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.
Wonderful blog! It really interesting to read. Thank you for dropping this post.
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!
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.
Wow – looks like such a diverse area! Dolpin and Manatee tour sounds fantastic!
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!
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!
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.
I had so much difficulty identifying some of the birds we saw 😂😂 I will have to update accordingly, thanks! What a cool job that must have been! Did you see a lot of wildlife?
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!
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!
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. 🙂
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
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.
Thank you! I’m glad it is helpful. We were only there a day, and it would have been nice to have another day or so to do kayak/boat tours.
This looks like a beautiful national park to visit! Definitely adding it to my list.
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!
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
Beautiful, this makes me want to visit! Reminds me of the Barataria Swamp trails near New Orleans.
really?! I haven’t heard of the swamp trails! I’m going to have to look into those ..
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!
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
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?
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.
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.
Oh no! what type of weather did you have/month did you visit? We went in April – spring is my favorite season in Florida.
Absolutely loved it. You got amazing pictures of the birds and alligator.
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 😂
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 🙂
This pace is beautiful!!! Definitely would add this on my bucket list, the pictures turned out awesome as well.
Thank you! 🙂 i’m glad you liked the post, add as many national parks to your list as you can, they’re all breathtaking
I have been to Florida twice, but haven’t made it to the Everglades. I really hope I can explore them next time.
I used to go to florida 1-2 times a year, and after 15 years i finally made it there haha
Some of the National Parks are on my bucket list. Such great places to visit with families too. Thanks for sharing!
They are a great family vacation destination, theres something to do for everyone!
I love nature! Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to go on trips like this. I’ve always wanted to visit the everglades. Lovely pictures!!!
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 🙂
Your photos are just breathtaking. I really need to take more time for natural
Wonders like the Everglades.
Thank you for the compliment! Nature has healing powers man has yet to discover.. its never too late to start looking 😉
oh the place is gorgeous!!! I love national parks and visit them any time I am near one.
That’s awesome! Which one is your favorite park you’ve visited so far?
the park looks wonderful! very beautiful and sooo welcoming! i would so spend a lot of time there as well
yeah..one day wasn’t enough! i would highly recommend a visit, you’ll see a ton of wildlife too.
Its crazy to me how such a swampy area can actually be so beautiful at the same time. I love your photos!
Thank youu!! I was also surprised that the swamp was beautiful… its so unique with so many different ecosystems, it just turns into a magical place
WOW!!! Of course I’d heard of the everglades but didn’t realize how amazing it was before your post – thank you for the inspiration!! I’d love to take my family down there, long drive but totally doable and worth it!
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!
Oh somewhere I’ve been! But I was so young I couldn’t really appreciate. I definitely want to get back there sometime – look at the green!
it was certainly a surprise to me when i saw how beautiful it was..you should go back!
this park is looking so so much beautiful i cant wait to visit this place with my family. 🙂
its a great family vacation destination 🙂
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!
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
This park is awesome to visit. I love all the wild life that you encountered
it was the most i’ve seen in a national park! there are so many ecosystems, i shouldnt be surprised haha
nice pic, I enjoyed reading your post!
Thanks! I love your blog as well
Wow! This looks fantastic!!!
It was amazing!!
it was incredible!! you must visit