Everglades National Park: Boat Rides & Amazing Things to Do

Everglades National Park is a natural wonder of the world. stretching from Orlando to the Florida Keys, this river of grass is home to an incredible array of plants and animals. The Everglades is also one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. With development and pollution continuing to encroach on this fragile ecosystem, it’s more important than ever to visit and support Everglades National Park.

Everglades is a large, shallow river system that flows south from Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay. Although parts of the Everglades have been drained for farmland and development, some of it remains as a national park. It is home to a wide variety of animal and plant life, including alligators, snakes, turtles, birds and fish. The Everglades is also an important part of the water cycle for south Florida.

Visiting Everglades National Park is now one of the most popular tourist attraction in Florida. There are many different ways to explore the park, from airboat tours to hiking and biking trails. Whether you are interested in wildlife watching or just want to experience the unique ecosystem of the Everglades, you will have a lot of fun in this fascinating park.

Everglades National Park Landscape View
Terry Carver

Everglades National Park history facts

The Everglades have been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. The first people to live in the area were the native Seminoles, who called the region “Pa-hay-okee,” meaning “grassy water.” The Seminoles made their homes in chickees, small huts built on stilts above the water.

In 1848, Florida became a state, and settlers began moving into the Everglades. These settlers drained much of the wetland area for farming and ranching. They also hunted animals for food and sport. As a result, many plant and animal species disappeared from the Everglades.

In 1947, Congress created Everglades National Park to protect what was left of this important ecosystem. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Best Entrances to Everglades National Park

There are four entrances to Everglades National Park. Gulf Coast, Ernest F. Coe, Flamingo and Shark Valley. Each of them is actually a visitor center and these are the departments that can help you. When you want to participate in an activity, you need to apply to these visitor centers.

Everglades National Park Road
Andrea Moscato
Everglades National Park Crocodile
G Bussiere
  • Flamingo Visitor Center is located at the southernmost point of the park. This remote location offers a wilder experience and is more popular with hikers and backpackers. Visit flamingoeverglades.com to check out the boat tours that depart from here. Some of the boat tours take around 90 minutes. Address: 1 Flamingo Lodge Hwy, Homestead, Florida 33034, 239-695-2945
  • Gulf Coast Visitor Center is the north-west entrance to the national park. Boat tours are also organized here. Especially in an area they call the 10,000 islands, a 90-minute boat tour along Chokoloskee Bay, through the Indian Key Passage and into the mangrove islands of Everglades National Park. It is also possible to rent a canoe.
  • Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center has an important role in promoting the national park. In the visitor center building, they created a museum environment with elements such as promotional films and informative panels.

Everglades National Park Ernest Coe Visitor Center
Carson S Miller
Everglades National Park Ernest Coe Visitor Center Museum
Carson S Miller
  • Shark Valley Visitor Center is near Miami and provides access to the Shark Valley Visitor Center. The area has 15 miles (25 km) of paved bike paths. Along the way, you can see alligators, turtles and waterfowl. Shark Valley Tram Tour, which offers a narrated tour of the park, departs daily from 8:30AM – 6:00PM. sharkvalleytramtours.com for more information. Nearby is the Otter Cave Hammock Trail hiking trail. Address: 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida 33194

Shark Valley Observation Tower

Shark Valley Observation Tower is one of the best ways to see the Everglades. Located in the middle of the park, the tower offers spectacular views of the surrounding wetlands. Visitors can also see alligators, turtles and a variety of birds from the top of the tower.

Everglades National Park Shark Valley Tower
Shark Valley Everglades National Park Richard Colbert

Rent a bike or buy your own and do the 15-mile (24 km) ride that takes you to the observation tower and back. It takes about 3 hours to bike the whole way and you can get very bored on the way. The ride is very easy but you can also do it on one of the visitor center trains where they explain everything about wildlife and Everglades biodiversity and history. Along the way you will see lots of wildlife like crocodiles, birds (many different kinds), butterflies, fish and so on. This route is a good way to get moving, relax and connect with nature. Bring more water than you expect to use and preferably use insulated bottles, otherwise even if you have frozen water bottles they can all melt in 1-2 hours.

Everglades National Park Places to Stay

If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Everglades National Park, there are a few of great and natural options to choose from.

Everglades National Park camping

When traveling to the Everglades, there are several different accommodation areas to choose from. Both tent and RV campgrounds are located in several different locations within the park. Some of these campgrounds include Flamingo Campground and Long Pine Key Campground. Each campground offers different amenities, so make sure to check the campground in advance to see what is available and to know what amenities it provides. Wherever you camp, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views. You can find out about camping fees and campground amenities at flamingoeverglades.com/camping.

Everglades National Park Camping Long Pine Key
Everglades National Park camping Flamingo Everglades
Everglades National Park Flamingo Campground
Long Pine Key Everglades National Park Flamingo Everglades

Cabins in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park has many different types of cabins, each offering different amenities and views. In the cabins you can go bird watching with beautiful views of the pink flamingos that live in the park, experience the true wildness of the Everglades, get up close with alligators or just enjoy the scenery and go fishing.

Things to do in Everglades National Park

There are plenty of things to do in Everglades National Park! Here are a few ideas to get you started

Boat rides in Everglades National Park

There are many different boat rides you can take in Everglades National Park. You can go on a guided tour, or you can rent a boat and explore on your own. If you want to see the Everglades up close, a guided tour is a great option. You’ll learn about the park’s history and ecology, and see alligators, birds, and other wildlife.

Everglades National Park Airboat Tours
Boat ride in Everglades National Park is one of the best attractions in Everglades

One of the best ways to experience the Everglades is on an airboat tour. Airboats are flat-bottomed boats powered by large fans and are perfect for exploring the Everglades as they can move through both shallow water and dry land.

If you’re looking for an adventure, renting a boat is the way to go. You can fish, swim, or just enjoy the peacefulness of being out on the water. Just be sure to follow the park’s boating rules and regulations.

Everglades National Park hiking

Everglades National Park is one of the largest national parks in the US. It covers over 1.5 million acres of wetland habitat and is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Hiking is a great way to explore the park and see some of its amazing wildlife.

Everglades National Park Angry Crocodile
Everglades National Park crocodiles & alligators Matthew Paulson
Everglades National Park Birds
Anhinga Trail Everglades National Park Debamalya Chatterjee

There are many different trails to choose from, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The Anhinga Trail is a short, easy trail that leads to a boardwalk where you can see alligators, turtles, and birds up close. The Gumbo Limbo Trail is another short trail that takes you through a forest of mangrove trees. For a longer hike, try the 4-mile Long Pine Key Trail which takes you through sawgrass prairies and pine forests.

Whichever trail you choose, be sure to wear proper footwear and bring plenty of water. And don’t forget your camera, you’re sure to see some incredible sights!

Everglades National Park kayaking

Kayaking through the everglades is an experience like no other. The vastness of the national park and its unique ecosystem make for a truly memorable trip. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning your kayaking adventure through the everglades.

Be sure to bring insect repellent and sunscreen as the bugs can be quite pesky and the sun can be extremely harsh. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks as there are no facilities once you enter the park. Pack a map as it is easy to get lost in the maze of waterways. With these tips in mind, you are sure to have a fantastic time kayaking through one of America’s most unique national parks!

Everglades National Park Anhinga Trail
Andrea Moscato
Everglades National Park Mahogany Hammock Trail
Andrea Moscato

Everglades National Park Itinerary in One Day

Waking up early to see the sunrise over the water is a must-do while in the park. After watching the sun come up, go on an airboat tour through the park to get an up-close look at alligators, turtles, and other wildlife. Make sure to stop by Anhinga Trail, where you’re likely to spot Everglades National Park animals like herons and egrets. For lunch, pack a picnic or stop by the concession stand near Shark Valley Visitor Center. In the afternoon, take a tram tour through Shark Valley or hike one of the many trails in the park. As the day comes to an end, watch for sunset over the water before heading back to your campsite or hotel.

Important things to know before visiting Everglades National Park

Consider the following points to have a much more comfortable day.

  • There is no best time to visit Everglades National Park. But when planning your trip, make sure to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. Summers can be hot and humid, so bring plenty of water and insect repellent. Wear long clothes to avoid mosquito bites. Winters can be cool and dry, so it is important to bring warm clothing.
  • Bring binoculars for close-up views of crocodiles, turtles and birds swimming in the water. You can also join an airboat or tram tour for better views.
  • Crocodiles and snakes are common in the wild and can pose a threat to humans if not respected. It is important to stay on designated trails and wooden walkways and never feed the wildlife. Crocodiles are found in freshwater areas throughout the park. They may attack if they feel threatened. If you see a crocodile, do not approach it and keep a safe distance. If you see a snake, do not try to catch or kill it. Just leave it alone and move on.
  • The park can be extremely hot and humid in summer, so make sure you stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. During the wet season (May-October), heavy rains can cause flooding and severe weather. The Everglades is a very unique ecosystem and therefore sensitive to sudden weather changes. It pays to check the weather forecast before heading to the park and be prepared for any conditions that may arise.
  • It is important to be aware of the terrain. The Everglades is mostly swampy and can be difficult to navigate if you are not familiar with it. It is important to stick to marked trails and pay attention to your surroundings to avoid getting lost.
  • And about Everglades National Park fishing, look no further than Everglades National Park. This vast park is home to many different types of fish, making it a popular destination for anglers from all over the world.

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time visitor, a trip to Everglades National Park is an extraordinary experience you’ll never forget.