Is one of Florida's most well known National Parks located on the South Western tip of Florida. It is one of the many sanctuaries for wild life and the environment. Within the Everglades there is a lot to see ranging from the Flamingo Visitor Center, to the Pineland Trail or perhaps even the Anhinga Trail. Everglades Eco Safari Tour
The Park is huge and you will need quite some time if you are looking to visit every attraction and sight. It links on to the Gulf of Mexico where the water is warm and ideal for snorkelling or diving. Deep in the Everglades however, during Summer is Mosquito season and quite literally there are millions of mosquitos everywhere so it is adviseable to take plenty of insect repellent and check to see if you need malaria tablets or not. Generally, the likelihood of contracting malaria is low due to the use of insect repellants, screens and other preventative or protective measures taken - but best be safe rather than sorry. See also Department of Heath - Florida
How to find it?
Head South West out of Miami along Highway 1 towards Florida City but make sure you turn off as you pass Florida City onto to Highway 27 after turning right on 344th street that heads westerly and travellers will come across their first Main Visitor Centre near Homestead and entrance to the Park. It is 42 miles from Miami, so a fair distance.
The Royal Palm Visitor Center is the next port of call which is open daily and offers a round-trip trail walk through a forest. For plant and tree lovers this is an ideal spot to observe a whole array of plant life, ranging from the Orchid, Epiphytes, Palm Trees and the Gumbo Limbo which is a popular favourite in Florida.
Mahogany Hammock Trail.
Is a really dense trail, packed with trees and plant life and is located not far from the Gumbo Limbo Trail. It is relatively damp within the forest and mahogany wood can be seen first hand throughout.
Next down the road formed by quite steep ridges full of limestone and around 5 feet above sea level the Pine forest grows. It is an ideal shelter for animal life, racoons, geckos, lizards play home to these animals as the climate is relatively dry in this forest offering a slightly different environment for the resident creatures.
Named after an observation tower designed to keep watch over the Everglades and swamp land. There is a short trail and the views are quite intriguing with such a vast expanse of sawgrass swampland it is a real break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Is actually the last stop within the Park and 38 miles from the entrance, also located on the southern most tip of Florida. As it sounds, the Flamingo center houses thousands of Flamingos and it is a sanctuary for the birds. The local area is fairly sparsely populated so it is quite pleasant and quiet at times. There are opportunities for boating trips or trips further into the everglades.
There are some good trails or walking routes for the keen walker where the West Lake Trail is one of the easier. There is also the Eco Pond which is an artificial freshwater pond in which you will find lots of alligators, turtles and other wild life. For the more experienced hiker is the Guy Bradley trail which curbs around Florida Bay. With all these things, probably best to prepare and understand that this is the wildlife at its best.
It is also a delicate eco-system so important to respect the environment too. It is only open between November and April each year.
Is ideal for people looking for a short stroll, only around half a mile long - so not too far. It is initally paved, then turns to grass. It is an ideal route for bird watchers with plenty of egrets, herons, and 'snakebirds' or Anhinga's - this type of bird is known to swim beneath the surface of the water with only its head popping above whilst hunting for fish. It is a really popular route and one worth a visit.
Are known as 'the keepers of the Everglades' they are one of the main predators in Florida and play a huge role in sustaining the wildlife balance. Often found just below the surface of the water, many birds and other animals rely on Aligators for food via their 'gator holes' which are small ponds or holes where fish and other smaller creatures are found. The circle of the food chain holds a delicate balance in the sustainability of the Park. The alligators should not be approached!!!
Where to stay?
There are numerous locations throughout the Everglades - click here for more information.
There are a whole host of restaurants, bars, diners and cafe's available, click here for more information.