One of the single best things about the US is the sheer number of protected national parks that offer a close and in-depth look at the massive biodiversity of the country. Perhaps one of the most impressive of these parks is the Everglades, the tropical wetlands in Florida that sprawl over 1.5 million acres. But what can you do there? Here, we’re going to look at some of the best activities to get stuck into.
Take in some of the wildlife
The wetlands of the Everglades offers some of the most diverse flora and fauna you’re likely to see in the country. This makes it one of the best National Parks to photograph, especially for your wildlife photographers out there. Whether you hit up the Gulf Coast Area to see the large birds and alligators or the dolphins and flamingos that can be seen around the Gulf Coast area, there’s no shortage of critters to get a close look at.
Go for a ride
Whilst the wet terrain might sound like it’s not exactly conducive to it, the truth is that there are actually some great cycling routes to find in the park, as well. The Long Pine Key Bike Trail takes you over 7 miles of campground, sprawling forest, and then right along the Pine Glades Lake. It’s a great way to take in the sites of a wide range of locations while also getting some exercise.
Take a boat out
More than 30% of all the Everglades is covered by water. There’s saltwater and freshwater alike, from the bays and islands along the coastline to the lakes and rivers running throughout. With the right license and the right tackle to catch bass you can end up coming back with some pretty impressive catches, as well. You might even get to catch sight of a manatee.
Enjoy a rush in the water, too
You don’t have to worry about running into any alligators, there are plenty of places that you can explore the water without any risk by canoe or kayak. It’s an excellent way to get a lot closer to the water, to explore some of the faster-flowing parts of the Everglades, and to get a much closer look at some of the vegetation and wildlife you might normally only see from a deck, too.
Spend the night
If you’re visiting the Everglades, then it really demands more than just a single day of sightseeing. Thankfully, there are plenty of camping spots to find, which put you right on the doorstep of some of the most activity dense parts of the park, but with all of the comforts that you would hope for from a modern camping site. You can even rent out your own eco-tent, so you don’t have to pack as much.
The Everglades deserves a lot more time from its visitors than it usually tends to get. The above examples are but a snippet of what you can do there, so take the time to explore the other possibilities by inquiring when you get there, too.
**Post contributed by Debbie Lang, a peer travel writer who splits her time between the U.K. and Florida's East Coast**