Gulf Coast offers many exciting ranger guided tours! These programs can vary greatly by season, and are subject to rescheduling or cancellation in the case of inclement weather.
Check our park calendar to see scheduled programs. You can also check the current status of programs by calling the Gulf Coast Visitor Center at (239) 695-3311 or the main park line at (305) 242-7700.
Below are summaries of all ranger-led programs available at Gulf Coast. Most programs are offered in the Dry Season (November - April).Programs are free unless otherwise noted.
Paddling Explorations (Reservations Required)
With a ranger as your guide, paddle through the mangrove to look at wildlife and mangroves and learn abotu the park's natural and cultural history. If tide and weather allow, trip may include a short work on an island. Bring your own canoe and/or kayak or rent one. Call 239-695-3311 to make reservations (no earlier than 14 days in advance).
Citizen Science Bird Count
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. (1.5 hours, fee charged for boat tour)
Nature's Notebook Boat Tour
Become a citizen scientist and help us conduct research by identifying and counting the birdds 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 are increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable. Program is included as part of the Ten Thousand Island Boat Tour ticket.
Join us a for a short talk on Everglades ecology, history, and issues. Meet at the picnic shelter. (Talk - 20 Minutes)
Stroll the grounds of the Gulf Coast Visitor Center and learn what makes this area so unique. Meet in front of the visitor center. (Easy walk, 1 hour)
Afternoon Canoe Trip (Reservations Required)
With a ranger as your guide, paddle along the shoreline or across the bay 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.
A Beginner's Guide to Saltwater Fishing (1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on the following dates: Jan. 25, Feb. 9 & 15, and Mar. 30)
Are you new to fishing or just want to get a refresher? Join park staff to learn about the saltwater fish of Southwest Florida, how to identify fish, how to cast, and how to throw a cast net.
Where the Wild Things Play! (1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 28, Jan. 19, Feb. 16, and Mar. 8)
Can you run as fast as an alligator? Can you jump as far as a panther? Learn more about how and where some of the magnificent animals of Everglades National Park live. Stop by between the hours listed to participate in Everglades Animal Olympics with activities and fun for all ages!
Introduction to Paddling (Reservations Required 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on the following dates:
Jan. 12, Feb. 1 & 23, Mar. 7 & 22, and Apr. 4)
The best way to see the 10,000 Islands is by canoe and kayak. If you have never canoed or kayaked or feel it has been too long since you last paddled, then sign up to get a 2-hour introduction to paddling. You will learn basic strokes and gain the confidence to paddle with a ranger in the Everglades. Call 239-695-3311 to make reservations up to 14 days in advance.
Tamiami Trail "Try"Athlon
The best part of the Everglades are off the main road! For those that want to do and see it all. Information about this self-guided program is available at Gulf Coast and Shark Valley within Everglades National Park. Most visitors start the day at Gulf Coast with a canoe trip in the mangrove estuary, followed by a hike through Big Cypress National Preserve begining at Oasis Visitor Center and then finish with a bike ride through the saw grass prairie at Shark Valley. Be prepared with plenty of water, food, and protection from the elements! Canoes can be rented at Gulf Coast. Bring your own bicycle or rent one (bicycle rentals are available daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at Shark Valley.
Narrated Boat Tours (fee)
Discover the Ten Thousand Islands off the Gulf Coast on a large catamaran boat headed to the Gulf of Mexico. Concession operated boat tours are narrated by a naturalist. Offered every day, year round. To make reservations click here.