“The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and the water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass.”

No one captures the essence and beauty of the Everglades quite like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, founder of Friends of the Everglades. This watery expanse encompasses a remote world of sawgrass and wind, vast sky and enormous cloudscapes — where kayaks and airboats are the preferred means of travel and you’re likely to run into more alligators than people. This is the magic of the Everglades.

Everglades National Park was officially established in 1947 — the same year Marjory published her iconic book, The Everglades: River of Grass. To honor her dedication to protecting the Everglades, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness was created in 1978, featuring an area inside the park completely free from development.

We hope you enjoy our guide to exploring the only Everglades in the world. Have a suggestion? Email info@everglades.org with your favorite Everglades tips.

Where to begin on your Everglades adventure.

There are three main entrances to the park and five visitor centers. Refer to the map to locate the entrance closest to you. Keep in mind that not all entrances connect.

Make the most out of your Everglades trip.

Take a tour.

Bird watching.

Stare at the stars.

Top 10 Walks and Hikes to experience the abundance of the Everglades ecosystem.

Anhinga Trail

This is a great way to observe birds and aquatic animals from a boardwalk path. It begins at the Royal Palm Visitor Center near the Homestead entrance to the park.

Anhinga Trail (0.8 miles roundtrip)

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Shark Valley Tram Road

Shark Valley offers a flat pathway that turns into an observation tower, giving you a birds-eye view of the Everglades. Many people also prefer to bike this road.

Shark Valley Tram Road (15 miles long)

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Gumbo Limbo Trail

This is a short walk near the Royal Palm visitor center through a jungle of gumbo limbo trees.

Gumbo Limbo Trail (0.4 miles roundtrip)

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Snake Bight Trail

In Flamingo, this is a path that turns into a boardwalk. It is great for birdwatching and observing species of trees.

Snake Bight Trail (1.6 miles one way)

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Mahogany Hammock Trail

This trail is a boardwalk through a hardwood hammock jungle with lots of air plants.

Mahogany Hammock Trail (0.5 miles roundtrip)

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Bayshore Loop Trail

Observe mangroves and a view of the water from this hike in Florida Bay. Find the start at the Coastal Prairie Trailhead in the Flamingo Campground.

Bayshore Loop Trail (2 miles roundtrip)

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Long Pine Key Trails

These connected trails start near the campground by the Homestead entrance into the park. This is a popular place to bike as well.

Long Pine Key Trails (over 22 miles of trails)

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Christian Point Trail

Near the Flamingo Visitor Center, this hike offers a wide variety of habitats. At the turn-around point, you reach the Snake Bight shore.

Christian Point Trail (3.6 miles roundtrip)

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Bear Lake Trail

Following the Homestead Canal, this path takes you along hardwood hammock trees and mangroves by the Flamingo Visitor Center.

Bear Lake Trail (3.2 miles roundtrip)

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Coastal Prairie Trail

This is a long hike in Florida Bay through prairies that begins at the Flamingo Campground.

Coastal Prairie Trail (7.5 miles one way)

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* For more details on hiking, visit the National Park Service website.

Top 10 Water Activities to discover the aquatic ecosystems of the Everglades.

Top 10 Tips when visiting the Everglades to be prepared for anything!

  • 1

    Fill up your gas tank: The Everglades is one of the largest national parks in the United States and it can be a long drive to reach certain destinations.

  • 2

    Check the weather: The best time to visit the Everglades is in the dry season from November to March when it’s not as hot or rainy. You’ll be outside the majority of the time, so make sure to check the weather to ensure it’s a good day to visit.

  • 3

    Get an early start: Arriving at the park early is always a good idea to make sure you have time to make the most of your trip, especially if it’s a day trip.

  • 4

    Carry a water bottle and snacks: These are essentials as there are not many food options available inside the park.

  • 5

    Wear hiking shoes and athletic clothing: A comfortable, sturdy pair of sneakers are very important when it comes to hiking. Make sure you wear clothes that are moisture-wicking, as it tends to be very hot and buggy. A hat isn’t a bad idea either to protect your face from the sun.

  • 6

    Don’t forget bug repellent and sunscreen: Mosquitos are present year-round in The Everglades as is the hot sun. Make sure you carry some bug spray and UV protection.

  • 7

    Leave no trace: Be mindful of the environment. Take only pictures and leave only footsteps.

  • 8

    Bring a camera: Even though you can snap pictures on your phone, bringing a camera to the park will help you enhance your nature photography skills.

  • 9

    If it’s too hot outside, stay cool in the car: There are many scenic roads to drive through if the heat is too extreme, such as Loop Road.

  • 10

    Keep your kids entertained: with this junior ranger book from National Park Service.

* Best time to visit: November – May (dry season, not as hot)

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