Subtropical marsh and coastal prairie as far as the eye can see. Endless sawgrass, mangroves and waterways. A natural bird sanctuary.
Boat tours, tram tours, canoeing, kayaking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, ranger programs, eco tours, birdwatching.
One for the Bucket List
Although many might imagine skiffing across the grassy waters in an airboat as the quintessential 'Glades adventure, the greater beauty of the park is much more hidden. Canoe to Hell's Bay and camp overnight on a backcountry chickee (a covered platform over open water) for a subtropical journey in nature few ever see.
Canoeing along the Hell's Bay trail through the mangrove swamp reveals a maze of somewhwat monstrous trees, countless pools, scattered islands and haphazard creeks. Wander off the PVC-pipe-marked trail, and you might need a nautical chart or GPS device handy to find your way back -- so intricate is the marshy labyrinth. Paddle past egrets, red mangroves, draping bromeliads and the occasional gator on the 5.5 mile trail, and expect a good six hours to make your way, unless you stop for little ditties sung by banjo-plucking frogs.
Note: "Reservations for backcountry chickees are not available. You must register and receive a backcountry camping permit at either the Gulf Coast or Flamingo area of the park no more than 24 hours in advance." Lower water levels might make the trail impassable from late February through May.
Seasons and Hours
The park is open all year long, but some of the park's entrances are open only 9am-5pm, depending on the time of year or flooding conditions. The Gulf Coast entrance south off the Tamiami Trail/US 41 and Route 29 is open 24 hours.
During the park's wet season, which occurs in summer, many of the park's tours and facilities may have restricted hours due to weather or flooding.
Although you can access the Everglades in many areas in South Florida, only one fifth of the entire Everglades ecosystem falls with the national park's boundaries. The main entrance to the park is six miles west of Homestead, FL.
Average Temps (ºF) High/Low
January - 77/56
April - 84/63
July - 90/73
October - 86/69
Approximate Distance From...
Biscayne Bay National Park - 12 miles
Miami, FL - 35 miles
Dry Tortugas National Park - 135 miles
Orlando, FL - 270 miles