Everglades National Park

#6 in Best Things To Do in Miami
Everglades National Park picture
View Apart/Shutterstock

Key Info

Shark Valley Loop Road

Details

Parks and Gardens, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

About 30 miles west of downtown Miami and a world away from flashy South Beach, the Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wetland in North America. Known as the "River of Grass" for its slow-moving water, the national park offers a unique look into the diverse ecosystem and vegetation that filters water as it moves farther south toward the Florida Bay and Key West.

While most of the 1.5 million-acre park is protected for wildlife preservation, the northern area closest to Miami is open for private airboat tours. The highly rated Everglades Safari Park within the park offers eco-adventure tours that include airboat rides, which recent visitors enjoyed, interactive alligator shows, trails and exhibits about preservation. Other companies also operate similar tours where travelers can get up close and personal with much of the wildlife found within the park. Previous visitors say the tours are an educational experience for the whole family, but do caution that the airboat rides may be too loud for sensitive ears. You can also head to the Shark Valley Visitors Center for two-hour guided tram tours.

A parking fee of $30 allows access for seven consecutive days at all entrances of the park. For the best chance of seeing the wide variety of wildlife, from alligators and crocodiles to 360 different species of birds and the endangered Florida panther, take a tour during the dry season from November to March (there are also fewer mosquitoes during these months). For more information visit the park's website.

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Travelers go to Miami mainly for Miami Beach and they go to Miami Beach mainly for South Beach, the region's unrivaled crown jewel, which visitors say they can't get enough of. Here, the art deco history of the city meets the bright lights and vibrant nightlife of the younger generation.

There's something for everyone in Miami Beach – and a lot of it. White sand, an eclectic dining scene, prime shopping, luxurious spas and world-class nightlife are all staples in Miami Beach. Just make sure to bring plenty of loot – Miami Beach can be done on a budget, but you'll severely limit your options and it won't be nearly as fun.

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