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Everglades National Park
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Everglades National Park is so important that it’s considered a World Heritage Site. Coined the “river of grass,” the Everglades are so much more. They are an interrelated ecosystem with distinct subregions. Creeks, bays, and islands dot the southern coast and great expanses of seagrass meadows stretch across shallow, mud-bottomed bays. And throughout this entire ecosystem, a vast array of plants and animals abound. Snakes, fresh and saltwater fish, manatees, muskrats, numerous birds, and alligators and crocodiles (not to be confused with one another), and many rare and endangered species are just a few of the animals that call this place home.
The most popular season to visit the Everglades is the dry season, between December and April. The temperatures in southern Florida at this time of year make this park the perfect destination for a winter getaway, a chance to rejuvenate your self before the start of the next year.
To find out more about the park's fees and visitor centers, visit their website for the most up-to-date information.
The Park at a Glance:
State Location: Florida
Size: The park covers approximately 1.5 million acres and is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.
Activities: Backpacking, camping, fishing, hiking, paddle sports, scenic driving, wildlife observation
Weather: The park considers its busy season to be during its dry, winter season. The Everglades are mild in temperature from December through April, with average temperatures falling between a high of 77°F and a low of 50°F. The wet season, from May through November, brings the humidity and heat, with temperatures soaring over 90°F and humidity over 90 percent. Rain (thus, the wet season) is abundant during this time of year, although most rain showers pass through quickly.
Fees: You will need to pay a fee depending on the type of vehicle you bring into the park and the type of activity you do. Private vehicles are typically $10. There are fees for use of some campsites, so be sure to research the site you want to visit ahead of time so as not to be surprised once you get there. Backcountry camping and hiking requires a permit, which is free in the wet season and is available at a nominal cost during the dry season.
Flora and Fauna: Wildlife in the Everglades is abundant, and is even easier to observe during the dry season, when animals tend to congregate around scare water sources. During the wet, humid season, you’ll see more mosquitoes and bugs, which could be slightly annoying during your visit. The Everglades houses a variety of animals, including over 60 endangered species. Popular plants and animals found throughout the park include the sawgrass marshes, mangrove forests, crocodiles, whooping cranes, and the Florida panther, to name a few.
Family-Friendly Fare: There are a variety of park programs open throughout the year. For family visits, the dry season offers your best bet to maximize the park offerings, as some of the park programs close in the heat of the summer months. Kids can join the Junior Ranger program at the park, which offers up free special activities and tours for the younger crowd.
For more on the Everglades National Park, check out some of our books: Paddling Everglades National Park and A FalconGuide to Everglades National Park and the Surrounding Area.