Everglades National Park#2 in Best Things To Do in Key Largo
Price & Hours
Spanning 1.5 million acres of wetland across South Florida, Everglades National Park is a worthwhile daytrip for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Key Largo. There are multiple entrances into the park scattered throughout the Sunshine State; the closest to Key Largo is the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center in Homestead, which is about a 37-mile drive north.
Upon arriving at Everglades National Park (ideally in your own car, as there is no public transportation and car services have trouble navigating the area), visitors will find the largest subtropical wilderness in America. Manatees, crocodiles, alligators, Florida panthers and other wildlife all call the park home, as do a variety of plant species and diverse ecosystems. Outdoor activities abound for visitors of all ages, including biking and hiking trails, bird-watching, kayaking, camping, fishing and many ranger-led tours and programs. Past visitors were especially fond of the nearly mile-long Anhinga Trail and the tram tour through Shark Valley, and many others were floored by how easy it was to spot alligators and other wildlife throughout the park.
When planning your visit, keep the time of year in mind. The Everglades' dry season (November to March) is its most crowded, as the weather is comfortable and the park's migratory animals are on full display. Wet season lasts from April to November and brings more bugs, but fewer people. Additionally, several ranger-led tours are not offered during this period.
Entrance fees for Everglades National Park cost $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle or $15 per pedestrian or cyclist. Entrance passes may be purchased online or at select visitor centers, and they allow multiday admission for up to seven consecutive days. The park offers a handful of free entrance days per year, so be sure to check its website to see if any of the days coincide with your trip. Everglades National Park is open 365 days a year; hours vary by season.
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#1 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Named after John D. Pennekamp, a former newspaper editor for the Miami Herald and noted Everglades conservationist, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was developed in 1963 as the United States' first park under the sea. The state park is 25 miles long and 3 miles wide, and it is home to many aquatic plant and animal species, in addition to mangroves and various types of birds.
Visitors can enjoy the park in a number of ways. Water enthusiasts can admire colorful coral reef and the popular Christ of the Deep underwater statue on snorkeling and scuba diving tours, while those who would rather stay dry can sign up for a glass-bottom boat tour. There are also 47 campsites and designated spots for swimming, fishing and picnicking.
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