Best Time Of The Year To Visit The Everglades
Of all the national parks. Everglades National Park should be at the top of your list. It’s the perfect way to experience South Florida in all its glory. The park is simply teeming with a diverse range of wildlife including alligators, crocodiles, manatees, and so much more.
The climate is similar to that of Miami or the Florida Keys. If you choose to take an airboat ride across the water, the wind will keep you cool, but anyone who is familiar with the Florida sun knows to make sure to have plenty of bug spray and sun protection!
Whether you’re home to the East or you’re visiting from the West Coast ocean life, the Everglades in Florida is astoundingly beautiful and unique. Everyone should try to see it at least once in their lifetime.
Visiting the Everglades
As with any vacation, it’s important not to go in blind. Let’s look at some of the common questions about visiting the Everglades and their answers.
Is Everglades National Park Open Year-Round?
Everglades National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you visit is entirely up to you, though you will want to consider which entrance you’re using and when they’re open.
The main entrance and Everglades City entrance are open 24 hours a day, but the Miami entrance at the Shark Valley area is only open daily from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. Entrance fees are collected at all locations.
Is There A Best Time Of Year To See Alligators?
You can see alligators in many places in the US, but few spots offer the same amount of opportunity as Everglades National Park. Alligators are everywhere in the park. Seeing one (or several) isn’t an “if,” it’s a “when.”
That being said, the dry season (December through April) is prime alligator viewing time. You can bring a bike or rent one at one of the visitor centers. At the Shark Valley Visitor Center, you can take the 15.4-mile bike loop where alligators love to sunbathe. If you do see an alligator sunning on or near the paved path, don’t be alarmed, just keep a respectful distance and go on your way.
Another favored trail for alligator spotting is the Anhinga Trail which is near the park’s main entrance. Some of the trail is paved and some of it is on a boardwalk.
The Best Things to Do In the Everglades:
The number of things to see and do in the Everglades is so large that you’ll have trouble picking things out!
The obvious choices include visiting the many trails that sprawl across the lands. You can choose to hike or bike, or, if you’re willing to get your feet wet, consider taking a canoe and floating your way down some leisurely canals and waterways. Maybe you can spot some manatees!
For the angler, opportunities abound. There’s saltwater and freshwater that both house a plethora of exciting catches.
If you want something a little more tame and guided, hop on the Shark Valley Tram. The tours last about two hours and cover the fifteen-mile-long Shark Valley loop trail where you can spot so much wildlife, including alligators.
An extended stay is easy enough to manage with all the camping options available to you. There are primitive sites where you’ll be roughing it all the way, and then there are more comfortable sites with running water and covered picnic areas.
Whatever your speed is, no matter how large your group is or what the age range is, there’s something for everybody to enjoy in the wild and thriving nature of the Everglades.
Visit December through April for a Cooler, Dryer, Less Buggy Experience
From December to April, the Everglades are incredibly mild and very pleasant. The daily temperature and relative humidity are very easy to manage, typically ranging from highs of 77 degrees and lows of 53 degrees. Occasionally, a strong cold front may produce near-freezing conditions, but those are very rare.
The insects we usually associate with the Everglades such as mosquitoes and biting flies will still occur in some areas around dusk and dawn. Still, bug repellants, head nets, and bug jackets will easily manage anything you come across.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated, wear cool, loose-fitting clothing, and use sun protection even when you’re visiting in late fall through spring.
May through August For The Least Crowds
May through November is the wet season. Temperatures average highs of 90 degrees and the humidity tends to stay over 90% Afternoon thunderstorms occur almost daily with quick, heavy rainfalls and sudden dissipation. These constant rains make animal sightings more difficult, especially since the animals disperse.
You can probably guess why the crowds are much less during this time of year. On top of the unforgiving weather, the insects are intense. The mosquitoes and biting flies are profuse in some areas and are only manageable with careful steps.
If you’re about adventure and challenge, these months might be just the ones for you! The scenery is still stunning and when the sun shines, it’s still warm and comforting to the soul. A trip during these times will simply require some extra preparation.
September Through November Are Bargain Months — Because of Hurricanes
One of the best ways to save money on your trip to the Everglades is to go during hurricane season. The deals are out, people are sparse, and the temperatures are beginning to lower.
There is risk involved, as you could have guessed. Hurricanes can cause a lot of damage, as we’ve seen in the past. The Everglades are thick with vegetation, but a hurricane that can reach very far inland can also uproot trees and cause a lot of problems.
How many days should I spend in the Everglades?
It is possible to have an exciting, one-day trip to the Everglades, but you’ll barely scratch the surface. To really immerse yourself, consider a three-day trip. This will allow you plenty of time to bask in nature, spot some wildlife, and experience the three main areas of the Everglades: Shark Valley, Flamingo, and Everglades City.
Tips to Have the Best Experience
Take A Private Boat Tour Outside Of The National Park
Everglades Holiday Park offers exciting airboat tours that put the Everglades on full display. The airboat captains are experienced and know just where to go to see the most thrilling wildlife behaving in their natural habitat.
The airboat tours are *60 minutes long, and you’ll not only get to see the Everglades from a unique perspective but also learn a lot.
You can either take one of the regularly scheduled tours or, if you want something a little different, you can schedule a private tour for your group from 2 people to 25. Once you’re back from the boat ride, visit the animal sanctuary and see the Gator Boys put on one of their stellar alligator shows! The entire park is filled with fun-filled, opportune sites for people of all ages and interests.
Check Out The National Park Service Shark Valley Visitor Center
Shark Valley is named after the two estuaries, Shark River and Little Shark River. It’s at the heart of Everglades National Park, making it a perfect springboard for all your adventure. The Center is about an hour’s drive West of Downtown Miami along Tamiami Trail, where visitors see all kinds of wildlife
Near the visitor center are three trails. Tram Road Trail is flat and paved for 15 miles and is the trail that’s used for the Shark Valley Tramp Tours. It leads to the Shark Valley Observation Tower viewing platform, which is the highest point in all of Everglades National Park accessible to visitors.
From there, the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail breaks off and winds through sawgrass sloughs and the diverse landscape of tropical hardwood forests. Otter Cave Hammock Trail, the last of the three trails, is a rough limestone path that takes you over small streams where wildlife abounds.
Other visitor centers also offer a wide array of things to do, so be sure to check them out! There’s the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, the Guy Bradley (formerly Flamingo) Visitor Center, and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.
Consider What Wildlife You Want to See on Your Tours
What you want to see might impact where you focus your efforts on your trip to the Everglades. This world of nature is so full of incredible animal species that you’re not likely to ever see them all. There are more than 360 bird species, 300 types of salt and freshwater fish, 40 different species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles. This doesn’t even account for the countless species of bugs and plants that call the Everglades home.
Among this list, 39 native Florida species that are federally recognized as threatened, endangered, or are candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) may occur in Everglades National Park.
As you can see, there’s much to see and do. Plan out your trip with precision so that your visit is the best that it can be and one you’ll remember for your entire life.