Things to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Trip to the Everglades
The Everglades has two seasons: a dry season and a wet season. Conditions can vary significantly between these two times. The dry season is November - March and also happens to be the busy season. Birds love it because they can escape the harsh winters of the north and most people like it for the very same reason.
The wet season is very buggy, muggy and warm. Not all of the programs are offered through the park during this time. There is much to see despite what time you decide to visit. The most important thing is that you come prepared.
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Getting there from Miami
The Everglades National Park is an easy day trip from Miami, and the drive should take you less than an hour. We timed it so we would have time to visit the park on our way back to Miami after having spent a few days in the Florida Keys.
Beware of the Vultures
We found an unexpected surprise when we arrived at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Most of the cars there were covered in blue tarps! It looked bizarre, and we were confused until we read the large signs explaining why. The vultures here have a nasty habit - they like to chew on rubber. This means your windshield wipers, sunroof seals, any rubber really is in danger of being removed. The park provides tarps and bungee cords, I would recommend you use them.
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
We were visiting the Everglades during an unusually cold February. So we found the park to be pretty quiet despite it being high season. The visitor center had some great displays, but I was ready to get going. I wanted to spot an alligator, a crocodile, anything large and toothy!
Everglades made easy - walk the Anhinga Trail
The Anhinga Trail is one of the parks most popular trails due to accessibility and ease. It makes a great choice if your time is limited. The trail starts out paved and then switches to a boardwalk over the marsh. You will be surprised by the variety of vegetation and wildlife you can see from the trail. I found the Everglades to be very unique and unlike any of our other National Parks.
Wildlife of the Everglades
The Everglades have been visited by over 360 species of birds and are home to 16 species of wading birds. You have a good chance of spotting a white ibis or one of the many different varieties of herons and egrets. The Everglades are also full of frogs, turtles, and fish to name just a few animals. Oh, and lots of bugs!
Protect Our Endangered & Threatened Species
Several endangered species also call The Everglades home. The West Indian Manatee and the Florida Panther being the most significant two. Then there is the American Crocodile and the American Alligator, both of which are threatened species. While visiting, please remember these animals need your protection. Don't feed any of the animals and give them space by keeping a safe distance.
Spotting an American Alligator
Because our time was limited, I was feeling the pressure to spot an alligator. I scanned the water only to find that so many tree trunks looked just like gators. Finally, towards the end of the trail, I spotted one! He was a sleepy fella. I don't blame him it was awfully chilly out (well for Florida).
Inspiration - Everglades National Park
I know there is so much more to The Everglades and I would love the opportunity to go back. I especially enjoyed the boardwalk and the unique experience of walking over the swampy marsh. I love plants just about as much as I do animals, so I found lots of inspiration here. Air plants and waterlilies were everywhere. It would be nice to visit while the lilies were in bloom. What do you think?
Cheers! To swamp things!
This trip took place during February of 2016. When planning your own adventures, please be sure to check for any current travel alerts or changes in destination conditions first. Keep in mind that businesses mentioned may no longer exist or offer the same products recommended in this post.