Beat the heat. Stay in the car.
If you’re looking for an isolated, driveable Everglades adventure this summer, Loop Road might be the trip for you.
Although summer doesn’t officially begin for a few more weeks, the season of high heat, humidity and endless mosquito bites is already here. While these conditions make it challenging to hike or kayak South Florida’s iconic wetlands, the Everglades can still be enjoyed from the comfort of your air-conditioned car along the 24-mile Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Accessible from the Tamiami Trail, the mostly gravel road takes you through three counties (Collier, Monroe and Miami-Dade), offering views of sawgrass prairies, cypress strands, slash pines, and plenty of wildlife if you’re willing to take it slow. And you should take it slow — the road can be bumpy, but your patience is bound to pay off with views of alligators, butterflies and turtles. If you’re lucky, you might spy an endangered Florida panther or playful river otter.
For those who aren’t afraid to brave the heat, there are plenty of opportunities to step out of your vehicle and take in the sights. Just be sure to shut the door behind you, because insects will find their way in! The Gator Hook Trail is a great option for stretching your legs on a 5-mile round-trip swamp walk, and the Tree Snail Hammock Trail is a more manageable short hike through hardwood hammock. There are also camping sites on the eastern edge of the road toward the Miccosukee Reservation.
No matter the temperature, the beauty of the Everglades abounds. We hope you get out there to enjoy it!