Visiting the Everglades?

We’re most likely travelling to southern Florida in April, for Spring Break (staying with grandparents in Boynton Beach).

It occurred to me that we’ve never been to the Everglades, and it might be worth a day trip or an overnight jaunt.

But I know nothing about it, except that there are swamps and alligators and there’s some major road through them.

What would be a good itinerary? What must we see? Is it reasonable to do a day trip or should we plan on staying overnight?

Its just a big swamp. I guess you could take an airboat ride. I would not walk around in it at night though…

A day trip. No one wants to be in the glades at night.

You mean Alligator Alley?

That is a long boring road with nothing on it.

How come (since both replies have said the same thing)? because that’s when the gators come out and play? because of mosquitoes / other bugs?

Are there mosquitoes in April? I know that may be a dumb question, but where we live, skeeters aren’t a problem until June or July.

The Shark Valley Tram tour is pretty interesting; you get a nice view from the observation tower. You can rent bikes and ride around, as long as you’re not afraid of gators on the bike path.

I took a boat tour out of Flamingo Bay. It was kind of meh, except for seeing an american crocodile.

I loved the airboat ride, and they can take you out at night to see thousands of little beedy eyes staring at you reflected in the boat lights.

South of Miami and Homestead is the eastern entrance to the park, just south of which is the Anhinga Trail. You should check it out. It consists of boardwalks over the swamp, and every time I have been there I have seen wonderful birds (including anhingas drying their wings), alligators, snakes and turtles, all from a safe distance.

Shark Valley is cool, too, but you will probably see less wildlife there, and it is out in the middle of nowhere.

Well, it’s more dangerous in that you are in a swamp at night and can get lost. Seriously, it’s pitch black out there and you are in the complete wild with no supplies or shelter other than what you bring with you. This is in addition to gators, bears, panthers, mosquitos, water mocassins and armed poachers.

Oh, and being pitch black, there’s not much to see.

Sounds like fun!

The Anhinga Trail is always what I recommend too. It is close to Miami and it has the best mix of up close wildlife that I am aware of in the Everglades. I saw an otter there once.

Most other places are just a lot of sawgrass and water. Not much to see, unless you get out in a boat real close and quiet.

I hope it’s OK to post this link- I have no vested interest in this company, but I did a tour with them and I loved it so much:
Garl’s Coastal Kayaking

We drove down the Tamiami last year on our way to Key West. We spent the night in Everglades City and did the cheesy airboat ride. It was actually fun. There’s not much in Everglades City, but around sunset we went driving down some nearby dirt roads and would stop to look for gators. It was pretty cool to see them out in the wild. The hotel we stayed at offered kayaking tours through the glades that seemed pretty interesting. You can also see the smallest post office in the US in Ochopee, FL!

Nothing to add as I’ve never been there but this is a trip I have always wanted to make!

I highly encourage coming down to the everglades. Maybe they’d get a little more protection if more people got to see them.

But remember: if you really want to see what’s out there you have to be still, quiet and patient. You will see a lot of things that would otherwise stay hidden. Zooming around in an airboat doesn’t give you the real feeling of peace that the place gives off.

You can see the Glades from Loxahatchee (just north of Boynton Beach west of West Palm) here. Definitely a day trip; you definitely don’t want to be out there at night unless you’ve been adopted by a Seminole guide.

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for all the suggestions! I’m really getting psyched for the whole trip, and seeing the Everglades in particular. We’ve never spent much time in that part of Florida, and always just hanging with the grandparents.

We told the kids about the trip, yesterday. Haven’t officially decided on how to travel but it’s looking like (unless we get some stupid-cheap airfare) we’ll be driving.

Second this. Shark Valley is worth the trip. Ignore the gators sunning themselves on the bike trail but NEVER EVER pick up a baby gator. They will call Mama and she will eat your ass, along with the ass of anyone who gets in her way.

If you ride a bike, always keep the bike between you and a resting gator; let the bike get eaten first in case the gator gets irritated.If you have to run from a gator, run in a zig zag pattern; they are faster than most any human on the straighaway.

Shark Valley and the Airboat ride – but make sure it’s warm. 70 degrees can feel like 45 riding on an airboat.