Ninety minutes west of Miami on the Tamiami Trail, the urban cityscape yields to the majesty of nature and the watery wilderness of Big Cypress National Preserve. Its freshwater swamplands boast an impressive abundance of wildlife (including the endangered and elusive Florida panther) and even oil reserves (one of only two in the state, discovered here in 1943). Bordered by Everglades National Park to the south, the preserve comprises five habitats – hardwood hammocks, pinelands, prairies, cypress swamps and estuaries – each offering a fascinating abundance of native plants and wildlife.

Begin your Big Cypress adventure at the Oasis Visitor Center in Ochopee, midway between Miami and Naples on the Tamiami Trail. Exhibits and a documentary film tell the story of the area’s culture, history and development, from untrammeled swamp to its designation as the nation’s first national preserve in 1974.

Big Cypress is a preserve rather than a park, so visitors have access to a wider variety of activities (off-roading, for example) while still respecting the land’s protected status. Explore on your own as you hike the thriving cypress strands in this section of Florida’s National Scenic Trail. Or bike along any of five routes that wind through the forest (bring snacks and plenty of water – and remember to take your trash out with you). You might spot some of the park’s inhabitants, which include deer, bobcats and wild turkeys. 

Shared with neighboring Everglades National Park, Big Cypress offers kayakers five river, bay and creek options. Paddling “season” (when waters are lower) runs through the cooler months of November to March, but waterways are open year-round. Backcountry camping requires a permit (free and available at each trailhead and online) allowing intrepid overnighters to explore the rugged terrain beyond paved roads. Not quite as adventurous? With eight serviced campgrounds, you can still enjoy this designated International Dark Sky Place, witnessing the wonder of the Milky Way and countless twinkling stars with just the naked eye.

When traveling to Greater Miami, we ask that you do so responsibly. Please see our current:

Points of Interest

You can use pan and pinch gestures to control the map position and zoom:


Gator Hook Trail

Don’t be intimidated by its name. The somewhat-hidden Gator Hook Trail features beautiful wildflowers and excellent bird-watching along its route in Big Cypress National Preserve.

H.P. Williams Roadside Park

This oasis along Tamiami Trail offers a great way to experience nature along your journey. A boardwalk overlooking the canal provides an excellent spot to see alligators, turtles and other wildlife.

Scenic Drive: Turner River, Wagonwheel, and Birdon Roads Loop

This 20-mile loop near Ochopee takes you through open prairies, natural scenic areas and wading bird feeding spots offering an up-close look at wildlife, birds and more.

Kirby Storter Roadside Park

Halfway through your drive across Big Cypress, this gem on Highway 41 offers shaded picnic areas and an easy one-mile boardwalk trail that takes you through a sawgrass prairie and cypress swamp.

Loop Road Scenic Drive

Also known as County Road 94, this rugged 43-mile drive takes you into and through some of Florida’s most unique outdoor areas. Birds, alligators, even Florida panthers can be seen along the way.

Roberts Lake Trail

Not for the faint of heart, this challenging hike takes you through sawgrass, cypress trees, rock formations and swamp areas in a remote section of the park.

Florida Trail Southernmost Point

The southern terminus of the 1,500-mile Florida Trail is found in Big Cypress National Preserve.

Tree Snail Hammock Trail

Named for the colorful endangered tree snails of South Florida, this less-visited interpretive trail along Loop Road leads you through a tropical area inhabited by a world of these tiny creatures.

Mitchell Landing Campground

This campground along Loop Road is the only area in the preserve open to air boats. Just a handful of primitive campsites are available.

Pinecrest Group Campground

Designated entirely for group camping, Pinecrest can accommodate up to four groups at a time, each with up to 8 tents and 15 people. Picnic tables and fire rings are available, but no restrooms.

Midway Campground

This popular spot offers paved campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and electric hookup for RVs. Its location surrounding a small lake makes for great fishing and hiking as well.

Monument Lake Campground

Occupying a beautiful spot in the preserve, this campground offers gorgeous views and easy access to fishing in the lake and hiking its many boardwalks. Water and electricity are not available.

Bear Island Campground

One of three campgrounds located within the preserve, Bear Island offers 40 primitive sites – 12 of them available year-round – which are all first come, first serve.

Pink Jeep Campground

Accessible by off-road vehicle, hiking or biking, this primitive campground features nine campsites with picnic tables and trails. Backcountry and off-road vehicle permits are required.

Gator Head Campground

Accessible only by off-road vehicle, hiking or biking, the campground offers 9 primitive campsites with a vaulted toilet, but no water. Backcountry and off-road vehicle permits are required.

Florida National Scenic Trail

This nearly 1,500-mile nationally designated trail winds through the state’s woods, waters and wilderness, offering a unique opportunity to hike through a variety of diverse natural areas.

Deep Lake Trail

Leading to its namesake, the deepest lake in South Florida, this hiker-only trail takes you right to Deep Lake, which was created as the result of a natural sinkhole some 95 feet deep.

Fire Prairie Trail

You’ll see plenty of nature and wildlife on this 4.5 mile out-and-back trail suitable for all skill levels. It’s a popular spot for hikes, nature walks and birding, plus dogs are welcome on a leash.

Halfway Creek Canoe Trail

Along with Turner River Canoe Trail, Halfway Creek Canoe Trail offers a combined 24 miles of waterway popular for canoeing, kayaking and bird watching.

Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center

See a diverse array of reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects, plus interpretive displays showcasing this National Wildlife Refuge and its natural surroundings. There’s also a gift shop onsite.

Oasis Visitor Center

Once an airport hangar, this eye-catching building has a passenger plane mounted on its roof as decoration. Today, the center offers exhibit and materials on the area’s natural and cultural history.

Turner River Canoe Trail

Paired with the Halfway Creek Canoe Trail, the Turner River Canoe Trail offers a combined 24-mile route for canoeing, birding and kayaking at various stretches along the way.

Big Cypress Swamp Buggy Tours

For a totally different way to explore the area, ride with a seventh-generation native gladesman in a custom-built swamp buggy that zips through the watery maze of the Florida Everglades.

Burns Lake Campground

Burns Lake features 15 RV/tent sites for primitive camping, all with lake views. There’s also a day-use picnic area and backcountry access parking, making it popular for hunters and off-road vehicles.

Loop Road Education Center

Run by the National Park Service, this center on the eastern end of Loop Road helps highlight the area’s environmental and conservation efforts. It’s also a great spot for a picnic or nature hike.

Big Cypress National Preserve

Gator Watch

An American alligator basks in the sun in the swampy wilderness of Big Cypress National Preserve.

Swamp Slosh

A swamp hike under the canopy of towering cypress trees is an amazing experience in Big Cypress and the Everglades.

Wilderness Camping

Big Cypress is an International Dark Sky Park, making it the perfect place to camp and ponder the wonders of the universe.

{{ctrl.swiper.realIndex + 1}} / {{ctrl.swiper.slides.length}}

Spotlight: Big Cypress

Explore Big Cypress

Check out this overview on all the amazing things you can see and do in Big Cypress National Preserve.Explore Now
Explore Big Cypress

Plan Your Trip

Learn how to get to Big Cypress, find out when to visit, and read important safety tips.Explore Now
Plan Your Trip

Wildlife Watching in Big Cypress

Learn about the fascinating creatures, such as manatees, fox squirrels, American alligators and Florida panthers that call the preserve home.Explore Now
Wildlife Watching in Big Cypress

Oasis Visitor Center at Big Cypress

Stop by the visitor center to talk with experienced park rangers who can answer your questions, provide detailed maps and more.Explore Now
Oasis Visitor Center at Big Cypress


Get Social With Us

Hover or tap on the photos below for links to learn more about how to experience them yourself.