Imagine a huge mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and this in a heavily armored, massive and powerful body – and you’re only standing a few feet away.
This is not a scene from Game of Thrones, but one of our impressions of Station #13 on our road trip from New York to Key West: Everglades Outing!
Today’s article is all about the wild and impressive Everglades and the things to do in Everglades National Park, located in the west of Miami.
And there we want to open the article with a blockbuster-info:
Travelpeeps, the Everglades are not a swamp or a lake, but … a river!
Although with 1 meter per hour a very slowly flowing one, but still a river.
All other really exciting facts and great photo impressions of our day trip are now available in the following …
The Everglades National Park
From Miami, the Everglades National Park is very easy to reach, whether with a rental car or one of the numerous tours offered.
If you start your Everglades excursion from there, you will reach your destination after about 40-50 minutes driving time.
The Everglades as said, are sometimes only ankle deep to a meter deep, but in fact with 37 miles wide, really big!
Nowadays, the Everglades show up in two ways:
For one, half of the river is used for agriculture and the other half is a nature reserve. Interesting as well, that the river is also largely used for drinking water, including for Miami, which has a significant impact on the fragile ecosystem.
Things to do in Everglades National Park
So now we know that the Everglades is the world’s widest river. But the Everglades would not be the Everglades, if this is only the beginning of a whole series of superlatives.
So which famous facts do we have here?
- The Everglades National Park offers numerous hiking trails, campsites and much more.
- The average depth is 1.20 meters.
- When Florida was declared the official state in 1845, one of the first decisions was to dry the Everglades.
- It is North America’s largest subtropical wet-soil ecosystem.
- After the Yellowstone and Death Valley National Park, the Everglades are the third largest national park in the United States.
- It is also officially called “Grass River”.
- It grows there sea grass, which is razor-sharp and cuts easily through clothing and skin.
- Every third Florida resident draws his freshwater needs from the Everglades
- The Everglades is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi.
- The Native American name is “Pahayokee”, which means “grass water”.
Alligators live next to crocodiles, pythons and even black bears
However, what makes the Everglades such a magnet is it’s impressive wildlife.
Not only is the Everglades the only place in the world where alligators live together with crocodiles (yes, they are not the same animals!).
There is indeed such a rich and exotic variety.
Birds alone including ibises, pelicans, storks and the only wild flamingos in the USA call the Everglades their home.
Furthermore, there are manatees and even pumas, although they are unfortunately in acute danger.
But that’s not all, raccoons and black bears are equally at home here. And a great danger for the local wildlife are the snakes, especially the giant pythons. The entangled snarls also take it easy with alligators and crocodiles. Crocodiles, which usually live near the coasts, are far more aggressive than alligators and extremely dangerous to humans.
All in all, about 300 species of fish, as well as 40 mammals and 50 reptile species live in the Everglades.
Everglades trip by Airboat
Yes, and how do you explore such a river? Extremely wide and extremely flat?
There are the so-called Air Boats. These are propeller-powered watercraft that can be navigated very fast and agile on the shallow water.
These in the broader sense amphibious vehicles are powered by the huge propeller, which is driven by an internal combustion engine. They are really extremely loud (do not worry, earplugs are distributed), but also ideal to navigate through this marshland with appropriate travel groups in a flexible way.
It’s best to stop by here to explore the different tours and routes.
The Alligator Park
And what is the main reason for most people to visit the Everglades? Of course the alligators. And there are some providers within the national park to make that happen.
Here we have for you two providers who offer great tours: Everglades.com and gatorpark.com
At the same time you have the opportunity to visit the alligator farms where the huge reptiles are bred. For those who have never tried it, there are also some alligator snacks. Yeah right, this time the lizard does not eat the prey, but the prey eats the lizard. I tried it and have to say – very tasty! Deep fried alligator snacks … taste a bit like chicken.
The tour by boat takes about half an hour and one stops every few minutes. So you really have the chance to see along the way the giant lizards seemingly lifeless lying around.
But these are very lively, which becomes clear at the latest when they flee to the bushes at lightning speed.
After the tour, there will be a show that will tell you lots of interesting facts about alligators and crocodiles. A little show with the animals completes the entertainment and finally there is a “snapshot” (in the truest sense of the word) with a baby gator.
The prices for group tours are moderate:
Adults pay $ 19 admission and kids $ 12. Children from 1 to 5 years are free of charge.
Of course you can also make private air boat tours, but they cost a little more: for a group up to 4 people you pay $ 250, for 5-6 people it is $ 300.
Things to do in Everglades National Park – our conclusion
The Everglades, or rather all the things to do in Everglades National Park are definitely worth the trip.
This type of wildlife in combination with this unique landscape is only available here. As a Miami visitor you should plan a trip or half-day trip, it’s worth it.
The money spent on tourism will definitely be helpful in keeping this beautiful spot still attractive and intact. Since the program itself is manageable, the costs are feasible and make it attractive especially for families.
What we became aware of during our road trip is the fact that traveling is not only fun for the sake of traveling. Actually, this is even a topic with which science deals. The good news: Travel can extend your life! Our colleague Helen of Well Being Secrets has studied the topic more closely and very interesting information on the topic of “Travel and the positive effects on health” you can find here on their website. Really worth reading.
And that’s almost the end of our road trip.
In our next and last section, we share with you the incredible great impressions of Key West, the paradise that Ernest Hemmingway already loved.
Until then, marshy alligatorian greetings from Hendrik
Dear reader, if you enjoyed reading our article we would be very happy about a small donation.
Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.