Make on the park's four visitor centers your first stop here. The best way to see the park is to take time to walk the boardwalks and trails along the main park road to join in ranger-led events. Naturalists give talks and lead hikes, canoe trips, tram tours, and campfire programs. At Everglades City the Gulf Coast Visitor Center is the park's western saltwater getaway. Narrated boat tours explore pristine Ten Thousand Islands and coastal mangrove. At Shark Valley the wildlife-viewing tram tour through sawgrass prairie includes a stop at a 65-foot tower for spectacular views.
Places to Go
The Everglades National Park covers more than 1.5 million acres in South Florida. While most of the park is remote and inaccessible, there are plenty of spots within a few minutes of Miami and Naples, where you can get a feel for the “River of Grass”
Your first decision in visiting the Everglades is which entrance to use; there are three and they are hours apart from each other. If you want the opportunity to observe the heart of the everglades you can either enter through Shark Valley in Miami or the Main Entrance of the Park in Homestead. However, if you are looking to explore the Gulf Coast, then you should plan to take a boat trip at the Gulf Coast in Everglades City.
View the map of the Everglades to get a better idea of different regions of the Everglades.
Shark Valley (Miami)
Named because its water flows southwest toward Shark River, Shark Valley is the heartland of the Everglades. At Shark Valley you can walk, bike, or ride a tram along a 15-mile loop road and see some of the park’s best wildlife concentrations. The Shark Valley observation tower offers a 360 degree view of the Everglades. The viewing deck overlooks a life-filled water hole, providing a bird’s eye view of alligators, turtles, fish, and birds.
Chekika *Currently Closed
This recreation area offers picnic tables and grills beside a pond and a trail through a hardwood hammock.
Gulf Coast (Everglades City)
From the Gulf Coast Visitor Center the town of Everglades City, take a boat -- your own or a scheduled sightseeing boat tour -- to explore the vast mangrove estuary of the Ten Thousand Islands
Royal Palm (Homestead)
Royal Palm is the departure point for two interpretive walks: the Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail. Expect to see plenty of wildlife along the Anhinga Trail, a world famous boardwalk trail bordering Taylor Slough. The Gumbo Limbo Trail is a paved path through a hardwood hammock. On your ride to Flamingo there are many trails to explore in between.
Along the Main Road
Along the main Everglades road, there are a series of stops with short walks that show the Everglades’ diverse ecosystems.
At the end of the park road, Flamingo is the gateway to Florida Bay. The bay and its adjoining maze of mangrove waterways provide homes for thousands of birds and a wealth of fish, crabs, shrimp, and other marine life.
Facilities, products, and services at Flamingo include a restaurant, campground, groceries, gasoline (no diesel), a marina, hiking and canoe trails, and scenic boat tours.