EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK

Expect the unexpected at the amazing Everglades National Park, Florida, the third largest national park in America! A "River of Grass" is its foremost attraction, along with a fragile and remarkable eco-system that supports a variety of plant and animal life ranging from microscopic algae to giant alligators and the Florida panther. Come here for excellent wildlife watching and walk away  marveling at Mother Nature's ingenuity and survival tactics.

The 1.6 million acres of the Everglades National Park offer tremendous opportunities to be one with Nature. Explore the amazing wildlife in the park as you wish - hiking, fishing, boating or cycling. The River of Grass is at its best in the Shark Valley, home to the Miccosukee Indians. There is an excellent 2-hour tram ride through this section of the park.

The Flamingo section of the park at the southern tip of Florida is a wildlife enthusiasts idea of paradise -- spend a couple of days here observing the complex and magical bio-systems of the Everglades. Sport fishing enthusiasts also head for Flamingo -- as a former fishing colony, it offers the best of fishing in the park. Bird watchers, rejoice for Flamingo has some things up its sleeve for you too - the Pelican Backcountry Cruise and the Bald Eagle Sunset Cruise are just mindblowing.

In the Gulf Coast section of the park, you can go for informative boat tours with guides who take you around the many mangrove islands called Ten Thousand Islands where you can spot dolphins, eagles and other resident animals. Other interesting trails in the Everglades are the Mahogany Hammock Trail to the largest mahogany tree in the country, the Nine Mile Pond Loop accessible by canoe which travels through alligator infested waters.

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Entry Permits

An entry pass costs US$ 5 for pedestrians and bikers. This pass is valid for 7 days. Private vehicles pay US$ 10 for a period of 7 days. Annual passes worth US$20 are available too.

American citizens are eligible for lifetime passes, which allow entry to all the national parks in the country. These passes are free for those with permanent disabilities, and cost a nominal amount- between US$10 and 50- for everybody else.

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Best time to visit

Though the park is open throughout the year, winter, i.e. between December and April, is the best time to visit. The weather is pleasant with less of humidity and the wildlife gather more prominently around the 'gator holes' , the only source of water. There are fewer mosquitos and bugs in winter, making life easier! Summer is a difficult time as it is very hot and humid with temperatures reaching the 90s (F) and the insect/mosquito population is tremendous. Also, summer storms cause flooding, making it hard to do anything!

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Access

The nearest airport is the Miami International Airport which is served by major domestic and international carriers. The airport is 35 miles away from the gateway to the Park at Florida City and Homestead.

There are several roads which lead to Everglades National Park: From the south, get on to Florida's turnpike (Route 826/874) and the Florida's Turnpike Extension which will lead you to the gateway towns. To get to the eastern part of the Everglades, get on to Route 9336 at Florida City. The U.S 41 allows you to access the northern part of the Everglades. You can also enter the park for free via Everglades City, on Route 29 off the U.S 41.

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Accommodation

Within the park, accommodation is limited to one lodge, the Flamingo Lodge -reservations are a must, especially in winter. However, you can choose to camp at the good campgrounds at Long Pine Key and Flamingo sections of the park. Outside the park, especially in Florida City and Everglades City, there are some reasonably priced motels and hostels. Campgrounds are available around the park and are quite reasonably priced.

If you are camping, be sure to stock up enough food supplies as there are no facilities to do so within the park.


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National Parks

- Acadia National Park
- Denali National Park
- Everglades National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Mammoth Cave National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Redwood National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
 
State Parks
- Adirondack Park

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