Top Five Ways to Explore the Everglades

Tour ideas for the Everglades enthusiast.

Shark Valley Bike Ride 
You won’t find sharks along this 15-mile paved path, but you are sure to encounter many species of birds, turtles, snakes, frogs, and – of course – alligators of all sizes, sunning themselves along the trail. The trail is a loop, and at the midpoint you will find Shark Valley Observation Tower: at 45 feet tall, this overlook provides the highest vantage point in Everglades National Park, offering miles of visibility across the wetlands. Bikes are available for rent, or hop aboard the tram, which makes the journey over the course of two hours. Still curious about the name? Shark Valley is named for the nearby estuaries, Shark River and Little Shark River, which are both home to many shark species. 

Birding at Anhinga & Gumbo Limbo Trails 
These neighboring trails offer short, wheelchair-accessible treks at just 0.4 miles (Gumbo Limbo) and 0.8 miles long (Anhinga). The Anhinga Trail is one of the most popular in Everglades National Park, thanks to the abundance of wildlife visitors can see at close range from the boardwalk portion of the trail. For birders in particular, these trails are a treasure trove at any time of year: Purple Martins, ibis, migrating warblers, wading birds, and many more species (such as the Anhinga, of course) frequent the wetlands around these trails. 

Visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 
From Florida's west coast, visitors can access the Everglades via Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located 30 minutes from Naples. The Sanctuary’s 2.25-mile boardwalk trail is known for its scenic landscapes, including the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. Fifty feet above the boardwalk, nestled in the bald cypress canopy, you will find the Corkscrew “Super” Ghost Orchid, discovered in 2007 as the largest ghost orchid on record. The white blossoms typically appear June through October each year, but Sanctuary staff have recorded blooms in just about every month. 

Rent a Kayak in Flamingo 
Located at the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula, Flamingo is a hub for a variety of outdoor recreation activities, including camping, boating, stargazing, fishing, birding, and biking. Rent a kayak from Flamingo Adventures and set out on one of two routes: north through Flamingo Canal to Coot Bay, or south across the open waters of Florida Bay. Visitors can rent kayaks for just a few hours and up to seven days. 

Florida Back Country Boat Tour 
For a more relaxed boating experience, board a vessel from National Park Service concessionaire Flamingo Adventures for a 90-minute journey through Buttonwood Canal to Coot Bay, then over to Whitewater Bay via Tarpon Creek. Your onboard naturalist will share the rich history and geographical features of the Everglades, highlighting the unique flora and fauna you encounter along the way. 

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