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Guide to Everglades National Park

everglades national park

Is the park open year-round?

Yes, Everglades National Park is open all year. The two major seasons for the park are the summer wet season (approximately April–October) and the winter dry season (approximately November–March).

Where is the park located?

Everglades National Park is in south Florida. This was the first national park created to protect a fragile environment, as opposed to preserving unique geographic features.

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How big is the park?

The park covers approximately 1,505,976 acres.

How do I get around in the park?

Most visitors drive their own cars and campers into the park.

What activities are available?

Some of the popular activities in Everglades National Park include:

  • Boating: Because a large portion of the Everglades National Park is accessible only by water, boating—both motorized and hand-powered—is a popular activity. Canoe and kayak trips of just a few hours, longer ones of seven to ten days on the ninety-nine-mile-long Wilderness Waterway, and everything in between are possible.
  • Bicycling: The Pineland area offers 45 miles of former paved and unpaved logging roads for bicycling. Shark Valley contains a fifteen-mile bike path.
  • Birdwatching: Some of the popular birdwatching locales are the Anhinga Trail, the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, Mahogany Hammock, and the Shark Valley trail. Look for wading birds, songbirds, and birds of prey.
  • Geocaching: The National Park Service sponsors this educational activity to help visitors learn about the park’s geological resources during an Everglades National Park visit. Using a GPS device, visitors can explore the park by following the clues and geographic coordinates from the park’s website.
  • Slough slogging: These ranger-guided off-trail hikes through the swamps of the park allow visitors to see a side of the Everglades not visible from boats and roads. Though muddy and wet, this up-close view of the park’s “River of Grass” is a highlight for many.
  • Guided tours: Visitors to the Everglades National Park can select from several guided tours in the park. Whether from a boat, an airboat, or just walking, the rangers share loads of information about the park’s flora and fauna as well as its history. Specialty tours, such as fishing and photography, are also available.
everglades national park

Are pets allowed?

Pets are permitted only in the developed areas of Everglades National Park: some campgrounds, paved roads, and developed areas.

Is the park accessible?

The park’s facilities, including visitor centers and campgrounds, have features to enhance accessibility.

What accommodations and restaurants are available?

Other than camping, there is no lodging available inside Everglades National Park. The surrounding communities offer a multitude of accommodations, from high-end hotels to lower-cost motels to private campgrounds. Restaurants can also be found in the towns outside the park.

What are the most popular areas of the park?

  • Anhinga Trail: Though relatively short, this 0.8-mile trail that starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center brings visitors into the wild, where alligators, wading birds, and other wildlife reign.
  • Paradise Key and Royal Palm: These areas were among the first to be preserved by the park. Visitors can see some of the largest palms in the park here as well as numerous wading birds.
  • Mahogany Hammock Trail: This short hike along the boardwalk leads through nine distinct ecosystems, including a dense forest of its namesake trees.
  • Shark Valley: Located in the northern section of the park, this area boasts a fifteen-mile trail for walking, biking, or riding a tram to an observation deck where one can view wildlife.
  • Visitor Centers: There are four visitor centers, roughly located at each corner of the park. While each center is unique, they all contain educational displays and information about the park, its wildlife, its plant life, and its history. Visitors can find park employees at the centers to answer any questions they may have about visiting the park.

Which national park would you like to visit most? Is Everglades National Park on your list? Tell us in the comments.

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