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Exploring the Everglades

Everglades National Park

This 1.5 million acre park stretches across the southern tip of Florida and is the third largest National Park in the US, ranking just behind Yellowstone and Death Valley. Everglades means “marshy land of tall grass.” The park’s diverse eco-system contains fresh and salt water areas, prairies, forests and swamps. It’s also home to American alligators and crocodiles, sea turtles, birds, fish, Florida manatees, and the endangered Florida panther. The Everglades is a great place for camping, hiking and canoeing. Make sure you have insect repellent. Lots of it! Everglades City is a good base for trips to the park, as are Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

Access to the Park

Ernest Coe Visitors Center   
The main entrance, located on the eastern side of the park, is accessed via US 1 at Florida City (watch for signs to the Everglades). Open daily. 40001 Rte. 9336. (305) 242-7700

Shark Valley Visitors Center  
The north end of the park is accessed from US 41. Open daily. From here you can access the Tamiami Trail, a 15-mile loop through sawgrass swamp.

Gulf Coast Visitors Center  
Near Everglades City at the northwestern end of the park. Access to the Ten Thousand Islands area and the Wilderness Waterway from here. (239) 695-3311

A 7 day park permit at Ernest Coe and Shark Valley is $10/car, $5/person and free at the Gulf Coast center.

Things to See & Do

Local Tours & Activities
The visitor centers offer ranger-led walking and boat tours to various destinations in the park. Check with the visitor centers for further details.  Another great way to experience the park is by renting a canoe and taking one of the many self-guided canoe trips around the park.

Gator Park  
Guaranteed to see some of Florida’s famous alligators. Wildlife shows and narrated airboat tours feature birds of prey, panthers and other endangered wildlife. Costs $17, all inclusive. Open daily. Twelve miles west of the Florida Turnpike on US 41, 24050 SW 8th St. (305) 559-2255

Sawgrass Recreation Park  
See Indian culture, alligators, camp, fish and take air boat tours. Highway 27, 2 miles north of I-75. (888) 4-AIRBOAT

Ah-Tha-Thi-KI Museum  
Museum of the Seminole culture located on a 64-acre cypress hammock. See tribal artifacts. $6. (863) 902-1113

Trails & Attractions
Mahogany Hammock Trail   1/2 mile- long trail that passes the largest mahogany tree in the US.
Pahayokee Overlook Trail   1/4 mile trail that leads to a large spread of grasslands and water.
Hell’s Bay Canoe Trail   Passes through mangrove swamps and primitive campsites.

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