- Parks and Gardens, Tours Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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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, 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 air boat 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 $10 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 December to March (there are also fewer mosquitoes during these months).