Everglades National Park

What to See and Do and Where to Stay When Visiting
Everglades National Park:

Get critical information, insider tips, and pictures, as well as ideas for where to stay when visiting this national park located in southern Florida, west of Homestead.

Everglades National Park Details and Background

  • Address: Everglades National Park, P40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034
  • Phone: 305-242-7700
  • Date established as a national park: December 6, 1947
  • Size: 1,507,850 acres
  • Visit the Official Park Service Biscayne National Park and Preserve site for park (which includes information such as entrance fees).

    Special advisories:

  • Visitors need insect repellant year-round, but especially April to December.
  • Swimming is not advised because of alligators, crocodiles, and snakes.
  • 10 interesting facts about Everglades National Park

    1. Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. [NPS]
    2. The park has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance [NPS]
    3. By the early 1900s, the drainage process to transform wetland to land ready to be developed was under way. The results would be severely damaging to the ecosystem and the species it supported. The park was established less to preserve scenery than to safeguard a unique ecosystem created by a slow-moving river, inches deep and some 50 miles wide and to benefit its unique diversity of life. The boundaries of Everglades National Park protect only the southern one-fifth of the historic Everglades ecosystem. In its entirety, this massive watershed boasts a multitude of habitats that provide a subtropical refuge to an enormous variety of wildlife. [NG] [NPS]
    4. The Everglades served as the backdrop for much of the military action during the Seminole Wars. The Seminole and Miccosukee people sought refuge within the isolated and relatively unknown expanse of land and water. [NPS]
    5. The park is the third largest in the lower 48 states, covering 2,500 square miles. [NPS]
    6. The park is home to more than 1,000 species of plants. However, more than 20 percent of the plants are non-native. Researchers in the park are working to remove those that cause the most problems. [NPS]
    7. More than 40 species of mammals inhabit Everglades National Park. Though they often utilize drier habitats, many are also adapted to the semi-aquatic habitats of the Everglades. White-tailed Deer can often be seen wading through the sawgrass prairies. The endangered Florida Panther is closely monitored in Everglades National Park by aircraft and radio collars. Information about territory, movement, and food preference is critical in managing the future of the animal. [NPS]
    8. Nine distinct habitats have been identified in the park. [NPS]
    9. Of the 27 species of snakes in Everglades National Park, only four are venomous -- the cottonmouth, the diamondback rattlesnake, the dusky pygmy rattlesnake, and the coral snake. [NPS]
    10. Much of the wildlife left in south Florida depends (since the early 20th century, around 93 percent of the wading bird population has vanished) on Everglades National Park for a home. [NPS]

    10 tips for getting the most out of a visit to Everglades National Park

    Everglades National Park

    1. The dry season (mid-December through mid-April) is the best time to go because heat, humidity, and mosquitos make the park uncomfortable in the wet season (the rest of the year). [NG]
    2. The National Park Service provides audio and video podcasts to help visitors plan their trip. [NPS]
    3. Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail (at Royal Palm), and Eco Pond (one mile past the Flamingo Visitor Center) are good for viewing alligators, wading birds, and other freshwater wildlife. Canoeists can paddle into Snake Bight (near Flamingo) and Chokoloskee Bay (Gulf Coast) before low tide to witness large numbers of water birds feeding in the shallows and on mud flats. A productive freshwater canoeing area is Nine Mile Pond and adjacent borrow pits (11 miles, or 18 km, up the road from Flamingo). [NPS]
    4. Concession boat captains narrate boat tours along the mangrove coast at both Flamingo and the Gulf Coast (Gulf Coast boat tour of the Ten-Thousand Islands, phone: 239-695-2591; Flamingo area boat tour, exploring the Whitewater Bay backcountry north of Florida Bay, phone: 239-695-3101), and Tram Tour naturalists guide your explorations of the Shark Valley Slough (Shark Valley Tram Tours, phone: 305-221-8455). [NPS]
    5. Bicycle rentals are available at Shark Valley and Flamingo (through Shark Valley Tram Tours, phone: 305-221-8455). Canoe rentals are available for self-guided exploration at the Gulf Coast and Flamingo areas of the park. [NPS]
    6. If you have just one day to visit, take self-guided walks at road turnoffs on the drive from the Ernest F. Coe Vistor Center to Flamingo. [NG]
    7. Although airboat rides are offered outside the park (private operations along the Tamiami Trail, around Everglades City, and between Homestead and the Ernest Coe Visitor Center off route 9336), they are not licensed to operate in the park and can have harmful effects on the environment. [NG] [NPS]
    8. Guided tours are available for those who'd like to see the park with assistance of someone who's familiar with different aspects of this 1.5 million-acre wilderness, but want to do this on their own schedule. There are trips for those who'd like to fish, canoe, birdwatch, or just see the flora and fauna. These tours are in addition to the regularly scheduled concession or ranger guided tours available in the park and are provided by permitted, licensed, and insured businesses authorized to provide visitors additional options. [NPS]
    9. Ranger-guided programs at the park include Slough Slogs and Nike Missile Tours. [NPS]
    10. Visitors can download a Car Audio Tour of the park. [NPS]

    Where to stay when visiting Everglades National Park

    Everglades National Park
    Camping: See the National Park Service's Frontcountry Camping and Backcountry Camping information.

    RV parks and Hotels: None in park. Lodging is available in communities that border the park, including Homestead, Florida City, Miami, Everglades City, and Chokoloskee. Contact the local chamber of commerce or visitor information bureau for a listing of local accommodations. [NPS]

    While you're visiting Everglades National Park

    While you're in the area, you might want to also explore the Biscayne National Park to the east and the Dry Tortugas National Park to the southwest, as well as the Big Cypress National Preserve to the north.

    Guide to sources:
    NG = National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States
    NPF = National Park Foundation's The Official Guide to America's National Parks
    KB = The National Parks: America's Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
    AAA = AAA Guide to the National Parks
    NPS = National Park Service Website

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