Top Ten Activities in Everglades National Park

Enjoying Your Visit to the Everglades

Sunset at Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook, Everglades National Park, Florida

Diana Robinson Photography/Getty Images

Everglades National Park is one of South Florida's natural treasures. Within the park's boundaries, you will find wildlife unique to this swampy habitat, natural formations of great beauty and recreation opportunities that exist only in Florida's southernmost tip. In this article, we look at the ten "must do" activities within Everglades National Park. 

  • 01 of 10

    Ernest Coe Visitor Center

    Ernest Coe Visitor Center

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    The Ernest Coe Visitor Center should be the first stop on your exploration of the Everglades. It is the hub of activity in the park and offers Everglades orientation movies, educational exhibits and information on ranger-led programs. If there are kids in your group, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger program.

  • 02 of 10
    People aboard airboats heading out on a tour of the mangrove swamps in the Everglades in Florida USA

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    While many see the airboat as disruptive to the peaceful environment of the Everglades, there's no denying that it's a really fun way to experience the swamp! Many vendors provide airboat tours and holders of the Go Miami Card receive a free tour as part of their purchase.

  • 03 of 10
    Shark Valley Tram Tour

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    Shark Valley Tram Tours (305-221-8455) offers two-hour guided tours of the paved loop trail that runs 15 miles through the Everglades from the Shark Valley Visitors Center. This is a great way to spot some wildlife and get a high-level perspective of the River of Grass from the Observation Tower at the loop's most distant point. If you're planning on visiting during the park's busy season (December through April), be sure that you call ahead for a reservation.

  • 04 of 10

    Shark Valley Observation Tower

    Shark Valley Observation Tower

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    The Observation Tower at Shark Valley is one of the highlights of the Everglades. On a clear day, you can see for miles around and observe wildlife in the park's swampy habitat. The Observation Tower is located about 7 miles from the Shark Valley Visitor Center on a paved path that is not open to personal automobiles. You may access it by bicycle, on foot, or by riding the park's tram tour.
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  • 05 of 10

    Gumbo Limbo Trail

    Gumbo Limbo Trail of the Everglades National Park. Boardwalks in the swamp. Florida, USA.

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    The Gumbo Limbo Trail, accessible from the Royal Palm Visitor Center, offers a self-guided walk through a forest made up primarily of gumbo limbo trees. The trail is a short half-mile and is paved for easy access. Bicycles are not allowed on the trail but visitors in wheelchairs should have no difficulty navigating it.

  • 06 of 10

    Anhinga Trail

    swamp in the park with Wood bridge.

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    The 0.8-mile Anhinga Trail is a self-guided walk through a sawgrass marsh on an easy, paved trail. Like the Gumbo Limbo trail, Anhinga is not open to bicycles but convenient for wheelchairs and strollers. It's almost guaranteed that you'll see some Everglades wildlife when you walk this trail. 

  • 07 of 10

    Mahogany Hammock

    Mahogany Hammock

    Miguel Vieira/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

    The Mahoghany Hammock Trail is a 0.5 mile loop on a boardwalk through one of the Everglades' unique ecosystems—the mahogany hammock. On this trail, you'll see the largest living mahogany tree in the United States.

  • 08 of 10

    Bicycle Tours

    Florida Everglades National Park

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    If you'd like to see the Everglades up close, a bicycle is one of the best ways to do so. You can either bring your own bicycle or rent one at the Shark Valley Visitors Center. Several trails in the park, including the Shark Valley Observation Tower Trail are open to bicycles. You may also choose to participate in a ranger-led bicycle tour—check at the Visitors Center for the daily schedule and more information.

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  • 09 of 10

    Canoe the Glades

    Canoe Trip

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    Truly experiencing the River of Grass requires taking to the water and a canoe is the least intrusive way to do that. You can rent a canoe in Flamingo and enjoy the park's many water trails.

  • 10 of 10

    Camping in the Everglades

    The Watson Place, Everglades Back Country Campsite

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    The Everglades offers a variety of frontcountry and backcountry camping options. If you're interested in a site on the T-loop that provides electric hookups, you'll pay $30/night. Other frontcountry sites are $16/night while backcountry permits are available for $10 plus $2/person/night. For more information on camping options, see the National Park Service camping site.

No matter where you spend your time in Everglades National Park, you're bound to have a unique experience. On foot, by boat or in the air, the wild nature of this River of Grass will leave an impression on your soul.