Florida's Everglades National Park is a must-visit spot. Boasting more than 2,300 square miles of subtropical wilderness and wildlife, here's how to do the Everglades like a pro.

Original story by Julio Poletti

It’s hot outside, people! But it’s also August, which is a month for celebrating Florida’s national parks. Why? Because August 25 marks the 103rd birthday of the National Park Service. It’s a great reason to visit one of the state’s most cherished spots, Everglades National Park.

Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, with 1.5 million acres of wetland. That’s more than 2,300 square miles. This gigantic wetland is a natural habitat for thousands of alligators, snakes, birds, the Florida panther and other wild creatures. It’s sad that Floridians aren’t rushing to see it at least once in their lifetime.

There’s so much to see and do, so make it a day trip!

Every season, enjoy several events and tours at the park for free simply by paying the entrance fee. This doesn’t include any camping or equipment rentals. Check the park’s website for more information on admission prices and fees.

If you plan to visit, check the 'Alert' area on the park's website for safety alerts and warnings. It's best to know of precautions before you plan your trip. And since we’re talking about national parks, Yosemite National Park in California is one you should do too. It might be a bit far from Florida, but we did it for under $500.

HERE ARE 5 REASONS TO VISIT THE EVERGLADES:

1. History

This shallow, slow-moving sheet of water covered almost 11,000 square miles for thousands of years — then humans came around.

By the 1900s, people started turning the wetland to dry land in order to build farms and cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Everglades National Park was established in 1947 to conserve and protect the natural landscape and prevent further damage to the land, plants and animals.

The Everglades is also home to the Nike Missile launch site, an abandoned missile site. Learn more about the Everglades National Park history.

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2. See wild animals

The Everglades is home to many animals that have adapted to the tropical wetland. The park’s swamps are a mixture of both sweet and saltwater. Some of the threatened animals living at the park include the Florida panther, American crocodile, American alligator, West Indian manatee, wood stork, and snail kite. You can also see turtles, dolphins, snakes and more.

Here’s the checklist to some of the animals you can encounter.

3. Outdoor Explorations

The park offers an endless list of outdoor activities. Biking through the trails, hiking, bird watching, camping, boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing are just a few of them. Many people take science workshops and guided tours or volunteer to learn more about the ecosystem and nature of the park.

When you go, don’t forget to plan a stop by ‘Robert Is Here’, the Disney World of fruit stands.

4. Thrilling boat rides

You can’t come to the Everglades and not take a boat tour (and then not post it on social media). So be sure you to plan ahead of time and make all the calls prior to your arrival. Things can get booked completely, so you’ll want to reserve your spot.

An airboat tour through the Everglades is a fast way to see a lot of the park in a short amount of time. You’ll go through narrow canals and open water areas, and you’ll see animals in their natural habitat.

5. Alligator Heaven

Whether you’re from Florida or not, seeing a wild alligator is a thrilling experience. And to see these creatures hunt and feed in person is quite a scary show. The Everglades is the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

WARNINGS:



Visit the Everglades National Park website and call to verify if the visitor centers, hiking trails and rest stops are open before your trip.
Check the weather before you do anything. This area is extremely seasonal and water can rise. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of The Everglades.
If going on a wet walk (water can be waist high), it is recommended that you have a hiking stick to poke the trail ahead of you, wear your regular tennis shoes since high boots would fill with water and become too heavy to walk in and have plenty of Zip-loc bags for your stuff.
If hiking during hunting season, wear a lightweight, blaze-orange vest. You can buy these at any sporting goods store. The last thing you want is to get hunted.
Besides the obvious of not littering, don’t throw away any fruits or vegetables that aren’t native to the area. The Everglades already has enough non-native plants and species damaging the natural ecosystem. It doesn’t need more, so don’t throw away your apple, avocado or whatever you’re snacking on.
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Last weekend’s wet hike was a success! A big thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the wetter side of the Everglades and to celebrate Latino Conservation Week! NPS Photos #EvergladesNationalPark #LatinoConservationWeek #FindYourPark

A post shared by Everglades National Park (@evergladesnps) onJul 25, 2019 at 12:57pm PDT

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A post shared by iOutdoor (@ioutdoor) onAug 6, 2019 at 12:38pm PDT


If you go: Call to make sure which entrance is open and near you, and to check on any weather or natural disaster status. Free tours and free days change every year. Call before you arrive.

The Everglades National Park: 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead; 305-242-7700. www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm

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