/ / / / / / Top Things to Do in the Everglades for a Unique Adventure

Top Things to Do in the Everglades for a Unique Adventure

Please share if you enjoy this content!

The Everglades National Park in Florida has some of the most amazing wildlife and outdoor activities you can imagine. The top things to do in the Everglades include airboat tours, hiking, and fishing. 

Nature lovers will adore this paradise near Miami. The different habitats within this national park are also perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and other water activities. 

Since there are countless things to do in Everglades National Park, you might be wondering where to start or how to plan. As a Florida native and a frequent visitor to the Everglades, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you plan the perfect trip!

Visiting the Everglades is an amazing way to see the south of Florida. If it’s one of your bucket list items (it should be!), you’ll feel confident checking it off after experiencing one of the most amazing national parks in the South. 

everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, entrance everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I receive a small commission. This will never cost you extra, and I appreciate your support!

Visiting the US National Parks

There are currently 63 US national parks comprised of some of the most beautiful and unique areas in the country. They are precious natural resources, so please be sure to show them the respect they deserve when you visit.

Many charge an entrance fee to enter. If you plan to visit multiple national parks or plan to visit one multiple times, it’s worth considering a national parks pass. You pay a one-time fee and get unlimited admission to any national park and to many national park properties in a year.

A popular pass that everyone is eligible for is the America the Beautiful Pass. It costs $80 a year and it’s available at one of my favorite stores, REI, online or in-person. It’s worth considering this pass and may even tempt you to visit more of our beautiful national parks!

Everglades National Park 

Everglades National Park is in the very southern area of Florida, near Miami and Homestead. It’s a tremendously popular national park. This park is unique as it’s 1.5 million acres of wetlands. The wildlife in the Everglades is absolutely spectacular, with manatees, birds, alligators, and the Florida panther. 

There are a huge variety of habitats and ecosystems. It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, which is one of the many reasons the Everglades has thousands of visitors every year from all over the world. 

It became a national park in 1947. It has become one of the top education sites in Florida for protecting wildlife and preserving different habitats. 

Everglades National Park Visitor Centers

There are five main visitor centers in the Everglades. Starting from one of the visitor centers is essential if you need to park your car or rent any equipment. 

  • Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is the closest center to Homestead. It’s a great place to get more information about the park and schedule tours. 
  • Royal Palm Visitor Center is the closest center to the Missile Historic Site and the Pine Rocklands. There’s a bookstore and a gift shop where you can buy some great things to take home. 
  • Shark Valley Visitor Center is closer to Miami. You can also take a Shark Valley Tram tour from this site to see more wildlife without needing to hike or walk too far. 
  • Flamingo Visitor Center is the closest center to most of the hiking trails and campgrounds. They also have a public boat ramp. 
  • Gulf Coast Visitor Center is in Everglades City, and it’s close to all the best kayaking trails. There are also more hotels and dining options on this side of the park.
things to do in everglades national park, everglades national park flamingo, entrance everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

Everglades National Park Airboat Tours

One of the top activities for exploring the Everglades National Park is taking an airboat tour. Airboat tours are an incredible way to get up close to the wildlife in the Everglades. You might even find yourself really close to an alligator or two. 

Since the Everglades are massive in size, going on an airboat tour allows you to see a large portion of the national park that you otherwise couldn’t see if you were on foot or in a canoe. 

Following are the top airboat tour companies. Definitely book with one of them to get the most out of your Everglades trip!

everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, things to do in everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park
Everglades airboat tours

Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours and Rides

Everglades Holiday Park tours have great options for private or group tours in Everglades. Most of the tour options are 60-minutes, and they are narrated by funny and experienced guides! You will be able to see tons of wild animals in their natural habitats. The guides will also slow down for photo ops.

Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours is located at 21940 Griffin Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332. They are open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tours leaving every half hour. It’s recommended you buy your ticket online ahead of time! Prices change according to the season and how many people you have, so call 954-434-8111 to book your tickets.

everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

Everglades Airboat Ride Miami 

Everglades Airboat Rides has private and group tours that leave every 20 to 30 minutes. You can either buy your tickets online or just show up at the gate and buy them! All the guides are professional and experienced. Make sure to stop and take photos of the turtles, birds, and alligators. 

Everglades Airboat Rides is located at 24050 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194. They’re open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $26.95 in advance or $29.95 at the gate. 

everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, things to do in everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park
Everglades airboat tour

Coopertown, the Original Airboat Tours 

Coopertown Airboat tours cover about 9 miles of the Everglades. It’s one of the longest-operating airboat tours in the area, open since 1945. They take you through Hardwood Hammock and many other parts of Everglades National Park. 

Coopertown the Original Airboat Tours is located at 22700 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194. They’re open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $29.95. 

everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours

Top Things to do in the Everglades 

In addition to airboat tours, there are some other amazing activities that are a must in the Everglades. Most of the activities are outdoors, so make sure to bring some comfortable shoes and lightweight clothes!

Kayaking and Canoeing 

One of the best ways to see the Everglades is to paddle through it. Kayaking trails can be found throughout the park. You can either bring your own equipment or rent it from one of the visitor centers. Some trails even have guided tours if you want to hear more about the wildlife of the park while paddling. 

Nine-Mile Pond

Nine Mile Pond is one of the more popular kayaking trails. The trail is very scenic, with marshes and mangroves. Know that paddling can get hard at some points if the water is too low or too high. You can stop in the Flamingo Visitor Center before launching to get a detailed map and to find out about paddling conditions. 

  • Distance: 5-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Take the 3.5-mile shortcut option if you’re feeling tired. 

Noble Hammack

Noble Hammack is a more advanced trail with winding passages. The narrow waterways give you amazing views of the wildlife, though, and let you have an up-close experience. 

  • Distance: 1.9-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Check for low water levels before going. 

Sandfly Island Loop

Sandfly Island Loop starts right near the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. The launching site also has public restrooms. The beach area near the trail is a great place to relax before or after kayaking. 

  • Distance: 5-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Combine it with the 1-mile hiking trail on Sandfly Island. 
everglades national park camping, camping at everglades national park, everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, hotels in the everglades national park, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, everglades national park flamingo, entrance everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

Turner River Trail

Turner River Trail has many different options depending on how long you want to spend on the water. The launch is also close to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, making it easy to rent equipment. 

  • Distance: 8.5 miles one way to Chokoloskee or 11.5 miles back to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Some areas might not be completely passable, depending on the water levels.  

For a full list of kayaking trails, you can visit the national park’s website. There are some places you can kayak to and then spend the night as well if you want a full-day adventure. 

Always check with the visitor center closest to the trail for a map and to check with the park rangers about the current weather conditions. 

everglades national park hours, hotels in the everglades national park, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park

Hiking in the Everglades

There are a lot of hiking trails to enjoy in Everglades National Park. Here are some favorites.

Coastal Prarie Trail

Coastal Prairie Trail is a great trail near the Flamingo Campground, ending at Clubhouse Beach. It’s an amazing place to see coastal plants and other wildlife. It also takes you right along the shore of the Florida Bay. 

  • Distance: 7.5 miles one way 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Point-to-point trail 

Bear Lake Trail

Bear Lake Trail is located near the Flamingo Visitor Center. This trail has over 50 different species of trees, so it’s definitely the place to go if you are interested in seeing all the beautiful trees that call the Everglades home. 

  • Distance: 1.6 miles one way
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Point-to-point trail ending at Bear Lake 

Snake Bight Trail

Snake Bight Trail is the most popular trail to see tropical birds and trees. The trail is named after Snake Bight Bay, so don’t be worried about seeing snakes! The different terrain makes this hike a little harder than others, so make sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes. 

  • Distance: 1.6 miles one way
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Point-to-point trail 
everglades national park camping, camping at everglades national park, everglades national park airboat tours, everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, hotels in the everglades national park, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, everglades national park flamingo, entrance everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

Rowdy Bend Trail

Rowdy Bend Trail can be hiked by itself or added to the Snake Bight Trail. If you choose to walk along the main road and then combine the two trails, you will cover 12.6 miles round trip. Rowdy Bend Trail is a great place to see tropical flowers and get some amazing photos. 

  • Distance: 2.6 miles one way
  • Difficulty: Intermediate 
  • Point-to-point trail 

Christian Point Trail

Christian Point Trail takes you through mangroves, open coastal prairies, and buttonwoods. You can get the most out of the Everglades by taking this trail because it takes you through almost every habitat. 

  • Distance: 1.8 miles one way
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Point-to-point trail 
everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

How to Get to Everglades

If you are coming from a different state, the easiest way to get to the Everglades is by flying into Miami International Airport. From the airport, you will want to rent a car to get to the Everglades. Southwest 8th Street and US Highway 41 will bring you straight to the Shark Valley entrance. 

For the Homestead entrance, you will take the Florida turnpike all the way south until you get to US 1. You can then drive towards Florida City and Palm Drive. 

Plan to drive for about an hour to an hour and a half from the airport depending on Miami traffic. 

How to Get Around Everglades

The easiest and fastest way to get around the Everglades is by car. Since you will need to rent a car from the Miami airport, it’s best to keep the rental car for the duration of your trip. Driving from the different parking areas and visitor centers is extremely easy because the park is well marked. 

If you don’t have a rental car, you can take the trolleys around the Everglades. Make sure you check the schedule ahead of time, so you aren’t stuck waiting for too long. 

everglades national park tour, tour everglades national park, everglades national park boat tours, everglades national park hours, everglades national park weather, things to do in everglades national park, animals in everglades national park, visitor center everglades national park, everglades national park facts, everglades national park visitor center, visiting the everglades, what to do in everglades national park

When to Visit Everglades

The Everglades have a wet season and a dry season. The wet season is May through late November. This is the best time to visit to see all the tropical plants and flowers at their peak. It does rain almost every day during the wet season so be prepared. Bring a rain jacket and bug spray!

The dry season runs through the end of November to April. This is the best time to visit if you want to see wildlife. The dry season is typically busier, so you will want to make all boating and camping reservations well in advance. You might also have to wait in line for equipment rentals at the visitor centers. 

How Much Time to Spend in Everglades

To get the full Everglades experience and to get the most out of your trips, plan to spend about 3 to 4 days in this national park. This will allow for one full day of boat touring and then a few extra days for hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. 

Where to Stay in Everglades

There are no hotels or lodging options inside the Everglades besides the campgrounds. To find a hotel, you will want to stay in Everglades City for the quickest access to the park. 

Budget: Everglades City Motel is a great basic option near the national park. It’s only one mile from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. All the rooms have microwaves and fridges. You can also rent bikes for free from the hotel lobby. 

Mid-range: River Wilderness Waterfront Cabins is in a secluded area away from the business of the main road. It’s a perfect place to come and relax after a full day of hiking or kayaking. They have an amazing outdoor pool with free WI-FI and free breakfast. 

Luxury: Everglades Rod & Gun Club is only 2 miles from the park entrance. They have small cottages with a nice view of the lake and river behind the property. They have an outdoor pool with an amazing bar. You can also rent boats from the marina right next door. 

Everglades National Park Camping

There are two main campgrounds in the Everglades. Camping in the Everglades is a great opportunity to be closer to the wildlife and to see some amazing views of the stars at night. 

Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campgrounds both accommodate RVs, or you can pitch your tent instead. Both campgrounds have showers, picnic tables, grills, public restrooms, and freshwater stations. You will need to make a reservation online before you go. 

If you want to be even more in the wilderness, there are more secluded campgrounds that don’t have amenities or RV hookups. Most of the sites have to be reached by canoe or kayak, although some can be reached by hiking. 

The National Park Service has a great map where you can see the locations available. You will need to get a camping permit the day before your trip at the Flamingo or Gulf Coast Visitor Centers. 

everglades national park camping, camping at everglades national park

Where to Eat in Everglades 

The Everglades doesn’t have many dining options within the park. Many people choose to pack picnic lunches and eat them at one of the many pavilions. However, there are some amazing options for dining near the visitor centers of the park. And there are some choices right outside the parks. Here are some favorite options:

The Restaurant at Coopertown Everglades Airboat Tour is near the Tamiami Trail, the main road that goes to the Shark Valley Visitor Center. It’s a small family-owned restaurant on the same property as the airboat tour company by the same name. The most popular dishes are the gator tail and the catfish. Grab a bite before starting your airboat tour!

Taqueria Morelia is a little further away from the national park since it’s in Homestead. However, it’s right off the turnpike and it’s definitely worth the drive. Make sure to try their most popular dish, the enchiladas placeras michoacanas, or choose from the endless options of burritos and tacos. 

​​Everglades Gator Grill is close to Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, so make sure to check it out if you’re on this side of the park. They have all your typical Florida eats, such as a fried gator sandwich and frog legs. They also have vegetarian options and amazing desserts. 

Top Things to do in Area Everglades

Near the Everglades, you also have easy access to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Homestead. Here are some of the top activities to do right outside of the Everglades!

Activities in Homestead 

  • Take a walk through Coral Castle. This famous park in Homestead is full of statues and carvings from coral rock. Some visitors even say it’s even more impressive than Stonehenge. 
  • Wine sample at Schnebly Redland’s Winery. This is the southernmost brewery in the United States. All the wine and beers are handcrafted from tropical
  • Go strawberry picking at Knaus Berry Farm. This is an amazing opportunity to get fresh strawberries. The small market onsite also has amazing fresh raspberry cheesecake and other locally made desserts. 

Activities in Miami/Fort Lauderdale

If you have some extra time to check out Miami or Fort Lauderdale, here are some popular options for great things to do:

  • Take a gondola ride through the canals. Las Olas Gondola is an amazing way to see the beaches and waters of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The gondolas are kid-friendly and can also be turned into a romantic outing if you book a private one. 
  • Visit the Art and Design Districts. Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale have amazing design districts where you can see murals and stop into local art galleries. 
  • Spend some time at the beach. Fort Lauderdale and Miami both have amazing beaches. Spend some time by the ocean and laying in the sand. 
Aerial View of Miami Skyline

The Everglades is Waiting For You!

Creating a trip around to do the top things to do in the Everglades is sure to be a vacation you’ll never forget! The serenity and calmness of the Everglades National Park can’t be beaten. You’ll definitely be making time in your calendar to visit again. 

You Might Also Like

Like it? Pin it!

Please share if you enjoy this content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *