The Everglades is one of the most diverse and wild natural landscapes in the US, and is undoubtedly the largest subtropical climate, occupying a massive 1.5 million acres of land, all of which is just waiting to be explored.
Exploring The Everglades By Car
There is a main road that runs through the Everglades, from Homestead to Flamingo. The road has famously been called “38 miles of nothing” but a more keen observer will notice that it is actually 38 miles of beauty. You can stop off along this road at various hiking paths, observation towers, and boardwalks, where you can observe the abundance of wildlife; including wading birds, deer, and the park’s most famed creature, the alligator.
Being only a short distance from bustling Miami, the Everglades is a popular day-trip destination. The accessibility allows for the experience of true nature, even when you arrive by car, but it is still possible to find more remote corners of the park to explore.
The road covers all of the natural habitats that the Everglades have to offer, including pine forests, rivers, grasslands, marshes, and mangrove swamps. Of course, there are many other ways to explore these amazing habitats other than by car, and the more adventurous traveler will be keen to get their boots and laces tied up, ready for a cycle or a hike.
Information from the National Park Service (NPS) can help you to better understand the park, obtain brochures and maps, and plan a wild adventure, with or without a guide.
Activities In The Everglades
- Nature Watching- Herons, wading birds, gulls, spoonbills, and more, the Everglades are a paradise for the birdwatcher. If you are looking for a bigger spot, alligators loom in the waters and are best viewed by boat. You might also find deer grazing and otters playing.
- Canoeing and Boating- Much of the park is only accessible by boat, and this is a great way to explore the mangroves. Check out the Wilderness Waterway, a 99-mile trail route for canoes that takes around a week to complete. Smaller circuits are available. Florida Bay takes up 1/3 of the park, and can only be explored by boat.
- Biking- At shark valley, you will find a pleasant two-hour-long cycle ride on boardwalks, that leads to the biggest observation tower in the park. Other great areas for biking include the Long Pine Key Nature Trail, and Snake Bight.
- Hiking and Camping- There are many trail routes through the park, both short and long. Speak to a guide to find out more. There are plenty of campsites available, some of them well facilitated, and some nothing more than a place for a tent. You can also camp where you want, as long as you can find dry land. Don’t bring your dog along, it might get eaten by an alligator.
The Everglade Seasons – When Is Best To Go?
The climate is dry and mild between December and April, making this arguably the best time to visit. Skies are usually clear, and the temperature is a pleasant 55-77 degrees. There are fewer annoying insects and bugs, such as mosquitoes, and because water levels in the usually waterlogged environment lower, attract wildlife to predictable waterhole spots for easy viewing. Many birds also migrate to the Everglades during these winter months, avoiding harsh climates elsewhere, and taking refuge in the subtropic climate.
There are many tours available at this time, though the park can attract many guests on a daily basis. The easily accessible hotspots can be busy, but the expansive park still provides plenty of options for seclusion. Booking is recommended for campsites and lodgings at this busy time.
The wet season is much more challenging in every way. Wildlife disperses far and wide and can be difficult to see, and there is a heavier presence of biting insects. Frequent storms and hurricanes bring in an admittedly visually impressive display of danger. The worst of the wet season, is the temperature and humidity levels, with 90 degrees not uncommon, and a 90% heat index. The park is tranquil at this time, so the upshot is that you can have the place pretty much to yourself.
Visit The Everglades
The Everglades is a must-visit for anyone who lives in Florida, and a must for any traveler who is serious about nature. This is a subtropical playground that no enthusiast of wildlife, hiking, biking, or boating would want to miss out on!