The best area for easily viewing wildlife, especially in the dry season. The 'glades are a vast, shallow, slow moving river of grass that extends from Lake Okeechobee in the North to Florida Bay and East to West almost the width of the state. During the dry season (winter through May depending on the year) it dries up except for the deeper places. From the main trail the Anhinga are two very productive wildlife areas as they stay wet all year long. If you bring children and childlike adults, please instruct them to ''walk quietly and keep their voices down'' so they don't scare the more timid animals. You will probably see alligators, great blue herons, anhingas, double-crested cormorants, garfish, bass, talapia (and other fishes), various turtles (hard and softshell), snowy egrets, tri-color herons, greenback herons- and you might see one or more of the following: deer, stilts, great white herons, bitterns, limpkins, purple gallinules, avocets, roseate spoonbills, ibis, woodstork, snail kites (Everglades kites), sandhill cranes (along the dry bed before you get to the Anhinga Trail), and many other species—and if you are VERY lucky, a Florida Panther. Take your time, bring your binoculars and camera, and enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty. It is also fascinating to come during the night when the alligators feed. Ranger guided tours of the trail are available frequently and can be very interesting as they are usually very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna and can help spot more wildlife than you would yourself.
Eco Pond used to be one of the best areas for viewing birds and other wildlife. However, the 2005 hurricane season transformed Eco Pond from a freshwater environment to a saltwater environment as well as significantly damaging the area. Thus, there is much less wildlife left. However, it is still possible to see some wildlife there as well as all the other trails found in the park. Wood Storks are often seen at Eco Pond (as of February 2007) and it is possible to see Southern Bald Eagles in the southern areas of the park.
Offers boat tours through the Florida Bay and Whitewater Bay areas of the park. Boat tours and canoe rentals are based on a first-come, first-served, basis. Tickets for tours can be purchased at the Flamingo Marina Store while rentals of kayaks and canoes are only done early in the morning on each day. Visitors are strongly encouraged to phone for current schedules and pricing. This is also one of the better areas to see American Crocodiles, which are often found on the canal bank opposite the Marina store.
Approximately 85% of Florida Bay is inside of Everglades National Park. Access to boats and tours is available at Flamingo, inside of the park. There are over 200 islands referred to as "keys". It is a salt water body, at the south end of the Everglades, where fresh water meets salt water. The "floating logs" that you likely will see are more likely American Crocodiles or possibly American Alligators. They swim Florida Bay and to the islands.
A guided two-hour narrated tram tour along a fifteen-mile loop in the heart of the "River of Grass". Tours depart from the Shark Valley Visitor Center and provide a great opportunity to see wildlife, while escaping the heat and bugs of the wet season. Reservations are strongly recommended for the dry season. Bicycle rentals are also available here.
Located near the Flamingo Visitor Center on the shores of Florida Bay. Reservations are accepted at the Flamingo Campground, and are strongly recommended. Reservations can either be made online or by calling 1-800-365-CAMP.
Everglades City located in a train depot established in 1928. It has wonderful outside dining overlooking the mangroves and water of the backcountry. The food is plentiful and very affordable.
Located six miles from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center. Sites are available in the Long Pine Key Campground on a first-come, first-serve basis only. Reservations are not accepted.
A narrated boat tour of the Ten-Thousand Islands. Canoe rentals are also available to explore nearby waterways. Reservations are strongly encouraged during the busy dry season.
Open year round. Explore this ecosystem on a heart pounding ride, or a more relaxed airboat tour.
Everglades National Park, protecting more than 1.5 million acres, is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states, behind Yellowstone National Park (2nd) and Death Valley National Park (1st). During the dry season most facilities are open and a full range of tours and programs are available to enjoy. During the wet season of June to October, facilities may have restricted hours or close altogether, and recreational opportunities may be at a minimum.
The park has four visitor centers: