Gulf Coast Ranger Guided Tours
This page provides an overview of programs offered at Gulf Coast during
Check in with the park during the summer season to see if there have been changes
to the current schedule before packing up your car and heading to the park. Warm and
wet weather sometimes lead to cancellation of programs.
December - March - Dry Season - Increased Ranger programs
Offered year round, every hour from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (1½ hours, fee charged). Discover the Ten Thousand Islands of the Gulf Coast. Concession operated boat tours are narrated by a naturalist. Offered every day, year round.
8:30 am (1 hour). Learn about the plants and animals of the area. Meet in front of the visitor center.
Nature’s Notebook Boat Tour
9:30 am (1½ hours, fee charged). Become a citizen scientist and help us conduct research by identifying and counting the birds and other animals we see while learning about the mangrove estuary on the boat tour. Through simple yet critical observations of bird species, numbers, and location, you will help us identify trends in populations. Watching these numbers over time will show whether populations are increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable. Program is included as part of the Ten Thousand Island Boat Tour ticket.
10 am (4 hours). With a ranger as your guide, paddle through the Ten Thousand Islands to look at wildlife and mangroves and learn about the park’s natural and cultural history. If tide and weather allow, trip may include a short walk on an island. Bring your own canoe/kayak or rent one. Call 239-695-3311 to make reservations (up to 14 days in advance). Jan - Mar
10 am (2 hours) Learn about the history of Everglades City and its surrounding area. Bring your own bike or rent one. Bike helmets are required for participants under age 16. Meet at the visitor center. Program offered winter season only, beginning in late January.
11 am & 2 pm (20 minutes). Join a ranger for a short talk on Everglades ecology, history, and environmental issues. Wheelchair accessible.
Afternoon Canoe Trip
2 pm (2 hours). With a ranger as your guide, paddle along the shoreline near the visitor center and look for wildlife and learn about the park’s natural and cultural history. Bring your own canoe/kayak or rent one. Call 239-695-3311 to make reservations (up to 14 days in advance).
4:15 pm (35 minutes). Learn about the plants and animals of the area. Meet in front of the visitor center.
A Beginner’s Guide to Saltwater to Fishing
Are you new to fishing or just want to get a refresher? Join the rangers to learn about the saltwater fish of SW Florida, how to identify fish, how to cast, and how to throw a cast net. Stop by between 1:30 – 3:30 pm. Fun for all ages.
Do you know that over half of all Americans live near an estuary? Come learn what makes estuaries so full of life and environmentally unique. Join a Park Ranger and discover the place where waters meet. Stop by between 1:30 – 3:30 pm. Family Fun Activity
Tamiami Trail Triathlon
Explore 3 different areas of the Everglades in 3 different ways: Bicycle the 15-mile loop at Shark Valley. Hike 3 miles of trail from the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve. Paddle roundtrip from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City to Sandfly Island in the Ten Thousand Islands. Complete all three activities and earn a decal and the title “Tamiami Trail Triathlon Finisher.” Bring your own bicycle, canoe/kayak, or rent one. This activity does not have to be completed in one day. Stop by the Gulf Coast, Oasis, or Shark Valley Visitor Centers for more information.