Due west of Miami’s bright lights lies Everglades National Park, an outdoor oasis where nature’s beauty and fragility is on year-round display. This remote yet easily accessible refuge ­– known as the River of Grass – sits on Miami’s doorstep, sprawling 7,800 square miles across the region’s rugged landscape. It takes only about an hour from Downtown Miami to reach the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states, a unique ecosystem of mangrove forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater prairies and hundreds of bird, animal and plant species. Miami may be known for its wild side but the Everglades are, in every way, decidedly wilder.

More than a million people visit this unique International Biosphere Reserve every year. The main entrance point is in Homestead. It offers educational displays and easy access to several walking trails. The other route is through the Shark Valley Visitor Center, a straight 40-mile shot from Little Havana’s Callé Ocho, westward along the Tamiami Trail. From this gateway, the sensuously winding waterways, tall grasses and mangrove islets of the Everglades are revealed via a looping 15-mile ribbon of road, frequented by Florida’s famous alligators. Explore it on a guided tram tour or, if you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bike onsite.

Whether you visit in the dry season (November through March) or the wet season (April through October), you’ll be enchanted by the beauty and diversity of this wetland park. The Everglades is a birder’s delight, with more than 360 species including the snowy egret, limpkin and roseate spoonbill. Snook, snapper and tarpon are among 70 types of fish in the park’s waters. You’re nearly guaranteed to spot alligators basking on the water’s edge. Walking trails as well as kayak and canoe rentals encourage leisurely exploration. If you plan to spend the night, several campgrounds offer welcoming spots to rest.

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Points of Interest

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Flamingo Marina

Mid-Beach
This year-round marina can accommodate boats with electric and water hookups, fuel and showers for a small fee. Boat tours are available and a fully stocked store offers all the essentials.

Bobcat Boardwalk & Otter Cave Hammock Trail

Mid-Beach
Located near the Shark Valley Visitor Center, these easy trails combine to provide easy access to the area’s beautiful nature areas and wildlife.

Snake Bight Trail

Mid-Beach
No, not bite. A “bight” is a bay inside a larger bay, and this spot within Florida Bay will take you through a tropical hardwood hammock to a boardwalk offering great bird-watching.

Rowdy Bend Trail

Mid-Beach
Take a hike or bike ride to explore an overgrown road through shady buttonwood trees and open coastal prairie, offering a great habitat for birding.

Christian Point Trail

Mid-Beach
Enjoy this rustic path through a wide variety of habitats, starting with dense mangroves and buttonwoods before moving into the vegetation of open coastal prairies leading to Snake Bight bay.

Mahogany Hammock Trail

Mid-Beach
See lush vegetation and the largest living mahogany tree in the United States on this self-guided boardwalk trail through a dense, jungle-like hardwood hammock.

Pa-hay-okee Overlook

Mid-Beach
An elevated boardwalk leads to a raised observation platform offering stunning views of the surrounding “River of Grass” – and a great backdrop for photos.

Anhinga Trail

Mid-Beach
One of the premiere wetland trails in the National Park Service, this hike winds through Taylor Slough and the sawgrass prairie to provide excellent nature-viewing opportunities year-round.

Park Entrance

Mid-Beach
Main entrance into Everglades National Park. Get ready for a wild ride!

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Mid-Beach
Take a self-guided walk that snakes through a shaded, jungle-like hammock featuring a variety of trees and plants, including gumbo limbo trees, royal palms, ferns and air plants.

Long Pine Key Trail

Mid-Beach
Running west from the campground along the main park road to Pine Glades Lake, this trail takes you past pine rockland, prairie and tropical hardwood hammock habitats.

Pinelands Trail

Mid-Beach
Take this paved loop to traverse pine rockland in one of the most diverse habitats in the Everglades. You’ll venture into an open South Florida slash pine forest with a floor of subtropical plants.

Coastal Prairie Trail

Mid-Beach
Located at the back of Flamingo Campground, this trailhead provides easy access to the prairie through a short forest. The 7.5-mile trail takes you through the watery wilderness.

Guy Bradley Trail

Mid-Beach
Tucked along the shore of Florida Bay, this route features a variety of birds and butterflies, plus pier pilings that harken back to Flamingo’s days as a small fishing village.

Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail

Mid-Beach
Easily accessible from Flamingo Marina, this spot is one of the area’s most popular in the park for canoeing and kayaking.

Hells Bay Canoe Trail

Mid-Beach
This popular, but somewhat challenging, canoe trip takes you through mangroves as you explore the beautiful Everglades. Access is off the main park road south of the Homestead entrance.

West Lake Trail

Mid-Beach
Take this self-guided boardwalk trail to stroll through a forest of white, black and red mangrove, plus buttonwood trees. It will lead you right up to gorgeous views of West Lake.

Turner River Canoe Trail

Mid-Beach
Allow up to a full day to take this popular paddling trip, which you can begin near Chokoloskee or Big Cypress. One of the highlights? You’ll paddle through mangrove tunnels.

Shark Valley Observation Tower

Mid-Beach
Providing panoramic 360-degree views of the surrounding “River of Grass,” this 65-foot tower is a must-stop in the Everglades. Take its spiral walkway to the top to see 20 miles away on a clear day.

Everglades Safari Park

Mid-Beach
Take a fascinating tour of the Everglades on a guided airboat ride. You’ll learn all about the area’s unique ecosystem and see the native plants and wildlife that inhabit it.

Gator Park

Mid-Beach
Take an exciting airboat tour into the Everglades for close-up views of its natural surroundings and wildlife. Tours cater to both children and adults, plus private charters are available.

Coopertown

Mid-Beach
This friendly town is the home of top-rated Coopertown Airboats, offering exciting rides into the heart of Florida’s Everglades. Afterward, fuel up on homestyle favorites at Coopertown Restaurant.

Everglades Alligator Farm

Mid-Beach
See more than 2,000 gators at South Florida’s oldest alligator farm, located right near the entrance to Everglades National Park. Enjoy alligator feedings, a snake show and airboat tours.

Shark Valley Visitor Center

Mid-Beach
Find educational displays, park brochures and a gift shop offering books, posters and souvenirs. Guided tram tours, bicycle rentals, drinks and snacks are also available.

Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Mid-Beach
Rebuilt after being destroyed in Hurricane Irma, this gateway to the area’s maze of islands and waterways offers informational films, displays and brochures, plus boat tours and canoe rentals.

HM69 Nike Missile Base

Mid-Beach
Now on the National Register of Historic Places, this former Nike-Hercules missile base is one of the country’s best-preserved relics of the Cold War. Take a tour to learn its fascinating history.

Flamingo Visitor Center

Mid-Beach
This is a great spot to browse educational displays, collect brochures, get permits or pick up supplies from the marina store. There’s also a campground, boat ramp and trails nearby.

Royal Palm Visitor Center

Mid-Beach
A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was.

Bayshore Trail

Mid-Beach
Start at the Coastal Prairie Trailhead at the back of Loop C in the campground, then veer left to take this loop to Florida Bay. You’ll walk along the shore – and remnants of an old fishing village.

Sandfly Island Loop

Mid-Beach
This strenuous 5-mile paddle crosses the Chokoloskee Bay and leads to Sandfly Island, which features a hiking trail on a Calusa Indian shell mound. Allow about 3.5 hours for the trip.

Everglades Florida Adventures

Mid-Beach
The official concession at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center for boat tours, plus rentals of canoes and kayaks.

Flamingo Adventures

Mid-Beach
The official concession at Flamingo for houseboats, eco-tents, boat tours, rentals of bikes, canoes and kayaks.

Miccosukee Indian Village

Mid-Beach
Home to the world-famous “Alligator Wrestling Show,” this village of the Miccosukee Tribe is a great place for kids and families. A popular gift shop offers native clothing, crafts and more.

Eco Pond

Mid-Beach
Situated close to the Flamingo Visitor Center, this saltwater pond attracts a variety of birds and wildlife, making it one of the premier spots for bird-watching in Everglades National Park.

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

Mid-Beach
Watch an informational video to orient you with the park, then browse educational displays and pick up brochures for your visit. Special exhibits by local artists are sometimes featured as well.

Long Pine Key Campground

Mid-Beach
Easily accessible from the park’s Homestead entrance, this drive-in campground offers tent and RV sites, with a limited number of group camping spots available.

Flamingo Campground

Mid-Beach
This popular campground offers both tent and RV sites, plus limited group camping spots. You can also try "glamping" here by renting one of the park's Eco-Tents.

Bear Lake Trail

Mid-Beach
Walk or paddle through a dense hardwood hammock mixed with mangroves on a trail that follows the old Homestead Canal built in 1922. With 50 different tree species, it’s a haven for woodland birds.

Everglades National Park Photos

Amazing Bird-Watching in the Everglades
Amazing Bird-Watching in the Everglades

Amazing Bird-Watching in the Everglades

More than 350 bird species have been sighted in Everglades National Park, like this flock of great white egrets.

Everglades National Park Chickee Hut campsite
Everglades National Park Chickee Hut campsite

Everglades National Park Chickee Hut campsite

Get away from it all and stay overnight at an Everglades National Park Chickee Hut campsite.

Day's End in Everglades National Park
Day's End in Everglades National Park

Day's End in Everglades National Park

A fiery sunset paints the sky over the "River of Grass," in Miami.

Hiking in Unique Environments
Hiking in Unique Environments

Hiking in Unique Environments

Walk trails such as the Gumbo Limbo - known as the "tourist tree" trail near Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. 

Double Crested Cormorant
Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

Close-up of a Double Crested Cormorant, or "Snake Bird".

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Spotlight: Everglades National Park

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