How to Spend a Weekend in Everglades National Park

Located in South Florida, Everglades National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects more than 1.5 million acres. Home to the American crocodile, Florida panther, and West Indian manatee, the Everglades are known for their abundant wildlife which you’ll experience on any of the park’s many guided tours.

What to Do

Guided tours

There are a variety of ranger led tours offered in Everglades National Park that are worth checking out to see and understand all that the park has to offer. There are also plenty of boat tours and wildlife viewing tours to best experience the unique flora and fauna of the park.

Kayak and canoe rentals

Available at Flamingo Marina, kayaking and canoeing is a great way to explore the park by water. There are plenty of canoe trails that wind through the park’s unique marshes and waterways. 


The Everglades has a bunch of hiking trails which are great for viewing flora and fauna. The Anhinga Trail in particular is a great trail for wildlife viewing, especially during the dry season.


You’ll need a permit to go fishing in the Everglades and it’s best to hire a guide to spend a day fishing out on the water, as there are few places to fish from the shore. You can expect to catch tarpon, bonefish, redfish, snook, snapper, and sea trout. 

Wildlife Viewing

The Everglades is a spectacular place for wildlife viewing, so you’ll definitely want to spend time during your weekend checking out the rare animal life. This region is known for its manatee and crocodile viewing in particular. 

Where to Stay

There are no indoor lodging accommodations within the park besides eco tents, located at Flamingo Campground. Your only other options for lodging within the park itself are two drive-in campgrounds, both of which can accommodate tents and RVs.

When to Go

You’ll want to avoid visiting Everglades National Park during the wet season, which runs from June to October, as many of the park’s facilities will be closed and the majority of activities will not be available. Dry season sees a full range of tours and activities and all park facilities will be open, making this the ideal time for a visit.  

How to Get There

If you plan to fly, the closest airport to fly into is Miami International Airport. If you plan to drive, take either Route 41 which runs west, or Route 1 which runs south. Once you arrive in the park, the best way to get around is to drive. 

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Watching Wildlife in the Everglades

Everglades National Park has a unique climate, providing a habitat for wildlife you cannot see anywhere else. Nestled in Central Florida, the Everglades are one of the best places in the world to observe the American alligator. That’s why millions of people this year will make their voyage to Florida to see what all the fuss is about.

The Everglades’ Most Watched Animals

Manatees: The West Indian Manatee is the most symbolic animal of the entire Everglades network, known as the gentle giants or sea cows of Florida. They spend hours each day grazing on marine grasses and other aquatic plants. Presently listed as endangered due to boat propeller injuries, try to use non-propeller machines when touring the Everglades.

American Alligator: Dwelling in freshwater marshes of the park, sometimes venturing into the Florida Bay, the American Alligator has made its way off of the endangered list. Essential to the Everglades’ system since they create “gator holes” that many other species rely on, the American Alligator is a remarkable, prehistoric species we should never take for granted.

American Crocodile: Distinguished from the alligator by its pointed noise and visible rows of teeth when the mouth is closed, these crocodiles can be seen in mangrove swamps, creeks, and bays throughout the Everglades.

White-Tailed Deer: Identified by the white underside of their tails, dappled with spots that disappear as they grow, the white-tailed deer are prey for alligators and the occasional Florida panther.

Turtles: There are over a dozen species of turtle that are known to the Everglades, as well as some tortoises and terrapins. They include the loggerhead, Atlantic hawksbill, Florida snapping turtle, and the Atlantic leatherback.

Florida Panther: This rare and critically endangered animal is a subspecies of the mountain lion that reaches up to 6 feet in length. By 1990, it was estimated there were only 50 cats left. The park authorities are working hard to bring it back from extinction.

Bottlenosed Dolphin: The Atlantic bottlenosed dolphin is commonly found in the estuarine and marine areas of the Everglades. They range in size from 8 to 12 feet long, living in pods that vary from two to 15 dolphins.

In recent years, there have been several baby and pet deaths at the hands of Florida alligators and crocodiles. Do not let children or pets swim in any bodies of water, as well as stand at the shoreline.

Viewing Locations

Where are the best places to get a sight of some of North America’s most famous species?

  • Shark Valley: alligators, wading birds, snakes, turtles
  • Royal Palm: alligators, wading birds
  • Eco Pond: alligators, wading birds
  • Snake Bite: wading birds
  • Chokoloskee Bay: wading birds
  • Flamingo Area: dolphins, manatees, sharks, birds of prey

When Should You Go?

Although winter might make it challenging to explore parks like Yellowstone, it’s actually the best time of year to foray into the Everglades National Park. Weather conditions are most pleasant, with water levels low. Since the levels are low, wildlife will congregate at central water locations.

The Everglades provides a habitat you can’t find in any other park around the United States. It is highly recommended that you make time to see some of these incredible species before they go extinct.

Categorized as Wildlife Tagged