Explore the Wild Side of Florida at Everglades National Park

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

Wild and beautiful — these are two words often used to describe Everglades National Park, a 1.5 million-acre tropical and sub-tropical preserve in southern Florida. Sometimes called the "River of Grass," the Everglades is a spectacular landscape of wetlands, lakes, rivers, and bays.

It's also home to a striking mix of wildlife, including crocodiles, alligators, manatees, sea turtles, the elusive Florida panther, and the tree-climbing gray fox. Place this wonderland within an hour of Miami, and what you have is the perfect spot to escape into the wild for a weekend or longer.

Here's everything you need to know about the Everglades — when to go, where to stay, and what to do.

When to Go

Photo by Sara Kaiser

The Everglades is a popular spot to visit any time of year, but each season has its own unique characteristics. December through late April is the dry season in the Everglades, and the warm temperatures (which average in the high 70s) provide a welcome respite to those visiting from colder climates.

May through October is the wet season, where hotter temperatures (averages are in the high 80s and low 90s) and frequent rainfall make for a more humid experience. Before you write off visiting during this time, know that many of the park's animals are most active in the wet season. If you're coming for wildlife, this time of year is a great choice. Plus, you can always cool off with a boat tour!

Where to Stay

Photo courtesy of Flamingo Adventures

Stay in the heart of Everglades National Park at Flamingo Adventures. Flamingo Adventures offers accommodations in eco-tents, houseboats, and at their two campgrounds.

Eco-tents are glamping tents that feature a queen bed or two full-sized beds, a private patio with outdoor seating, electricity, furniture to store your clothing and gear, and canvas doors and windows with bug screens. They offer the best of both worlds, combining a comfortable night's sleep with being right in nature. 

If you'd rather bring your own tent or RV, the spacious Flamingo Campground offers campsites right along Florida Bay, and Long Pine Key Campground is a quiet place to rest near the Long Pine Key Trail.

Flamingo Adventures also rents 42-foot houseboats from their marina. Each boat sleeps up to six guests and is decked out with all the essential amenities you need to cook, play, and relax in the Everglades' Whitewater Bay.

What to Do

Photo by Sara Sheehy

You'll never be short on activities in Everglades National Park. From the Flamingo Marina, you can rent single kayaks, tandem kayaks, and canoes for a paddle through the Everglades' famous mangrove forests, freshwater marshes, and wide-open Florida Bay. If motorized transport is more your style, the Marina also rents fishing pontoons and Carolina Skiffs.

Flamingo Adventures also offers daily, 90-minute boat tours through Coot Bay, Tarpon Creek, and Whitewater Bay. Each trip has a naturalist on board to point out the rich natural history of the area, as well as to help you spot wildlife like crocodiles and manatees. Bay tours are also available.

After touring the Everglades by water, be sure to spend some time exploring by land, too. The park is full of short trails that weave over and above the beautiful sawgrass marshes and through mangrove forests. A few of our favorites are the Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook Trail, the Mahogany Hammock Trail, and the Anhinga Trail

Cover photo by Jess Curren

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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