Everglades National Park: A Visitor’s Guide to America’s Wetland Wonder

Everglades National Park: A Visitor’s Guide to America’s Wetland Wonder

Discover Everglades National Park

Welcome to Everglades National Park, a mesmerizing expanse of wilderness in southern Florida renowned as America’s Wetland Wonder. Stretching over 1.5 million acres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sanctuary for diverse ecosystems, rare wildlife, and unique landscapes that capture the imagination of all who visit. From its vast sawgrass prairies to its intricate mangrove forests and shimmering coastal waters, Everglades National Park offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and ecological significance.

Established in 1947 to protect one of the largest tropical wetlands in North America, the park is home to an astonishing array of flora and fauna, including elusive species such as the American alligator, the Florida panther, and the West Indian manatee. Visitors to Everglades National Park can explore its wonders through a variety of activities, including hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, and airboat tours, each offering a unique perspective on this remarkable landscape.


Top 3 Facts About Everglades National Park


Unique Ecosystem

Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness of any kind in the United States. Its unique ecosystem includes freshwater sloughs, sawgrass marshes, pine rocklands, hardwood hammocks, mangrove forests, and coastal prairies, making it one of the most diverse landscapes in North America.


Visitor Numbers

Everglades National Park attracts over one million visitors annually, making it one of the most visited national parks in the United States. Visitors come from around the world to experience the park’s natural beauty, wildlife viewing opportunities, and unique recreational activities.


Only Two Everglades

Everglades National Park, located in southern Florida, is distinguished as one of only two everglades systems on the planet, the other being the Everglades in Noosa, Queensland, Australia.

Camping and transportation in Everglades National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Everglades National Park

Getting to Everglades National Park can vary depending on your starting point and preferred mode of transportation. Here are some common ways to access the park:

  • By Car: The most common way to reach Everglades National Park is by car. The park has several entrances located along major highways. From Miami, take the Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south to Exit 25 (SW 8th Street/SW 136th Street). Follow signs for Everglades National Park. Alternatively, from the Fort Lauderdale area, take I-595 west to I-75 south, then exit onto Route 41 (Tamiami Trail) westbound to reach the park.
  • By Air: If you’re traveling from further away, you can fly into Miami International Airport (MIA) or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). From there, you can rent a car and drive to Everglades National Park, which is approximately a 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Miami and 2 to 2.5 hours from Fort Lauderdale.
  • Public Transportation: While there is no direct public transportation to Everglades National Park, you can take a combination of public buses and private shuttle services from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to reach the park. Some tour companies also offer guided day trips to the park from major cities in South Florida.
  • Boat Tours: Another unique way to access Everglades National Park is by boat. Several tour operators offer guided boat tours departing from various locations in the surrounding area. These tours provide opportunities to explore the park’s waterways, mangrove forests, and coastal habitats while learning about its rich natural and cultural history.

Places to Stay Near Everglades National Park

There are several options for accommodations and camping near Everglades National Park. Here are some popular choices:

  • Flamingo Campground (within Everglades National Park): Flamingo Campground is located within Everglades National Park and offers both tent and RV camping options. The campground is situated along Florida Bay, providing stunning waterfront views and easy access to hiking trails, boat ramps, and ranger-led activities.
  • Long Pine Key Campground (within Everglades National Park): Long Pine Key Campground is another campground located within Everglades National Park, near the park’s main entrance off Route 9336 (the main park road). This campground offers tent camping sites and is surrounded by pine forests, providing a peaceful setting for visitors to enjoy nature.
  • Private Campgrounds and RV Parks: There are several private campgrounds and RV parks located near Everglades National Park, offering additional camping options for visitors. These campgrounds typically provide amenities such as full hookups, showers, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Some popular private campgrounds include Everglades Isle RV Resort in Everglades City and Trail Lakes Campground in Ochopee.
  • Backcountry Camping: For adventurous travelers looking to immerse themselves in the wilderness, Everglades National Park offers backcountry camping permits for designated sites along the Wilderness Waterway and coastal areas. These permits allow visitors to paddle or hike to remote camping locations for a true wilderness experience.
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Best Time to Go to Everglades National Park



Summer in Everglades National Park is characterized by hot and humid weather, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Despite the heat, summer is a great time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit, as it is the peak of the nesting season for many bird species, including wading birds and raptors. Additionally, summer offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and airboat tours, as water levels are higher and water-based activities are more accessible.



Winter is the peak season for visitors to Everglades National Park, with comfortable temperatures and sunny days. It is a popular time for birdwatching, as many migratory bird species arrive in the park to escape colder climates further north. Winter also offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, photography, and boating, as water levels are lower, and wildlife is concentrated around water sources. However, be prepared for occasional cold fronts and chilly mornings, especially in January and February.



Spring is an excellent time to visit Everglades National Park, with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall. Wildlife is active during this season, making it ideal for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. The park’s wildflowers are in bloom, adding vibrant colors to the landscape, and water levels are typically lower, allowing for clearer views of wildlife in the marshes and wetlands.

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Must-See Attractions

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Anhinga Trail

This popular hiking trail is located near the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center and offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors can walk along a boardwalk through sawgrass marshes and freshwater ponds, where they may encounter alligators, wading birds, turtles, and other wildlife up close.

Shark Valley

Shark Valley is a renowned area within the park known for its scenic beauty and abundance of wildlife. Visitors can explore the 15-mile loop road by tram, bike, or on foot, taking in breathtaking views of the Everglades’ iconic sawgrass prairies and cypress swamps. Be sure to climb the observation tower for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Gumbo Limbo Trail

This short nature trail winds through a hardwood hammock, offering a shaded escape from the sun. Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk while learning about the park’s unique plant life, including the iconic gumbo limbo tree.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Everglades National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Your Activities

Take some time to plan your activities and prioritize the attractions you want to see in the park. Consider factors such as accessibility, trail length, and time of day when planning your itinerary.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be prevalent in the Everglades, especially during the warmer months. Be sure to bring insect repellent with DEET or other recommended ingredients to protect yourself from bites.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Keep a safe distance from wildlife and never approach or feed wild animals. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe animals from a distance and respect their natural behavior.

Stay Informed

Check the Weather Forecast

Florida’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden rain showers and thunderstorms common, especially during the summer months. Check the weather forecast before your visit and be prepared for changing conditions.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including alligators, crocodiles, manatees, dolphins, panthers, snakes, birds, and more. Visitors can observe these animals in their natural habitats while hiking, boating, or taking guided tours within the park.

Everglades National Park is accessible by car from Miami and other nearby cities. The park has several entrances and visitor centers located along major highways. Visitors can also fly into Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and rent a car to drive to the park.

Yes, Everglades National Park offers camping facilities for both tents and RVs. There are front-country campgrounds with amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic tables, as well as backcountry camping options for more adventurous visitors.

Yes, airboat tours are a popular activity in Everglades National Park, offering visitors a unique way to explore the park’s wetlands and see wildlife such as alligators and birds up close. Several authorized tour operators offer airboat tours departing from various locations within the park.

The best time to visit Everglades National Park is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. During this time, temperatures are cooler, and wildlife is more active, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and boating.

Yes, Everglades National Park has a network of hiking trails ranging from short nature walks to longer backcountry treks. These trails allow visitors to explore different habitats within the park, including hardwood hammocks, sawgrass prairies, and mangrove forests.

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