Everglades National Park is an expansive wetland area covering the continually inundated southern tip of Florida.
The uniqueness of the area is widely recognized. It is one of only three sites in the world to be declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. Everglades National Park was the first national park established to protect not just a specific species, like sequoia trees or bison, but an entire ecosystem, including the American crocodile, manatee, Florida panther and bald eagle – all of which rest precariously on the Federal Threatened or Endangered Species List.
Must See: Alligators and turtles sunbathe along a 15 mile (24 km) looping pathway that leads south from the Shark Valley Visitor Center. Tram tours are offered (2 hours, $24), but the pathway is open to bike traffic as well.
Off the Beaten Path: Consider taking a ranger guided cross-country hike through knee deep wetlands and cypress groves. Known as “slough slogging” these hikes are reputed to be the only way to really experience the Everglade wilderness. Keep an eye out for gators.
Next Time: I’d like to see the interior of the park better by booking an airboat tour ($20), or by driving the 38 mile (61 km) road through the heart of the park to Flamingo Visitor Center.
For more information on my visit, check out my post.