Everglades National Park in Florida - Best Time - 9 Things to Do | 7 Tips and 5 Hikes | Bird Watching Guide
 Everglades National Park in Florida - Best Time - 9 Things to Do

Everglades National Park in Florida - Best Time - 9 Things to Do

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

The Everglades is all about water in many dimensions. I provide helpful tips about the best time, boat tours you shouldn't miss, the 5 best Boardwalk Trails, 9 Activities in the Everglades, 7 Travel Tips, 11 fascinating alligator facts , and where to spot alligators, manatees, and birds.

Zoom photo of the head of an alligator at Big Cypress
Big Cypress is exceptional in seeing alligators close.

The Everglades National Park has existed for more than 75 years. In this comprehensive guide, I try to answer all questions about the exceptional Greater Everglades along the Tamiami Trail in two chapters. You can visit the Everglades without a tour, so my guide became bigger than expected. You do not need a printed guidebook; it is all mentioned here. You should know so much before you visit the Everglades, so check out my "Table of Contents" below in the second chapter below the map..

Canoe Tour in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve
Canoe or Kayak Tours in the Greater Everglades are breathtaking and a Must!

Glades is an old English word for an open grassy place. The native Americans, the "Pa-hay-okee," called it "grassy waters." Although it is often described as a swamp, it is actually a vast, slowly moving river. Almost eight million residents depend on this river for their water supply.

Anhinga bird similar to a cormorant
A female Anhinga bird or snake bird - when swimming, only the head looks like a snake.Where to spot Anhinga

The Everglades is a unique ecosystem of tall grass, branching waterways, swampy land, mangroves, hammocks, and rich wildlife that merge into one National Park. This 1.5 million-acre Park is located in the south of Florida, and it became the first National Park for its biological value in 1947.

Cardinal bird in the Everglades
A male cardinal bird - photo taken with my Zoom Camera

There are three entrances to the Everglades and four Visitor Centres. With more than one million visitors each year, mainly in the dry winter, some parts of the park get pretty busy.

An alligator up close in the waters of the Everglades
One alligator male mates with several females.

The best time to visit Florida and the Everglades, with fantastic weather and fewer mosquitoes, is from December to April, which is also the busiest time. It is the dry and colder winter season though showers occur. Day temperatures are pleasant with lower humidity. Wildlife viewing and especially birding are excellent.

Seasons and Weather

Winter - Dry Season (December-April) – Peak Season

Fakahatchee at sunrise in the winter
Kayak Tour at sunrise - This was the best tour of all by GYG at no extra cost

Cooler and pleasant temperatures below 30°C/86°F, lower humidity, clear sky and, in addition, a lower water level. Night temperatures range on average between 17-14°C/62-57°F; occasionally, temperatures are near freezing. Animals gather around the water holes: fewer mosquitoes and biting flies. Florida has a subtropical climate. However, if the state gets hit by a strong cold front, almost freezing temperatures can occur at night.

A zoom photo of a blue heron
We got close to plenty of birds in our kayak.

Birding is excellent in the winter, with migratory and domestic birds, especially wading birds, attracting predators. January, February, and March offer the best opportunities to watch wildlife during the height of the dry season. Usually, April is the mating time for alligators. Their ritual can last from 3-17 days. They may swim or lay together on a bank for days. Due to low water levels, some mangrove channels are impassable by canoe or kayak from February to May. Quick showers occur, bringing a small amount of rain only.

A photo of a pelican at the blue sky

Tip: The winter has fewer daylight hours, 10.5 hours in December only therefore, I recommend checking out the sunrise and sunset before your visit.

Summer - Wet Season (May-November) - Low Season

Rainy Season in the Everglades
Gumbo Limbo Trail - Royal Palm; the heart of the Everglades

South Florida has a tropical climate; temperatures are above 91°F/33°C, high humidity, and torrential rain and thunderstorms occur. The Everglades is located in one of the most active hurricane areas. You can find damages in the entire Everglades from past hurricanes. However, rain plays a vital role in the Everglades.

Alligator in the mangroves
More than one million alligators call Florida their home - Everglades Tour by GYG

The prairie gets filled up with water. August is the height of the hot and wet summer. During the entire summer, some campgrounds in the Everglades are closed due to high flooding risks, and mosquitoes are an issue often; you even don't want to leave your car or house. 

Camping in the Everglades

Camping in the Greater Everglades
It was chilly in the morning - Our lightweight MSR tent in Collier-Seminole State Park
  • Long Pine Key Campground: 
    Seven miles from the park's main entrance located offers drinking water, restrooms, dump stations, picnic tables, and grills for tents and trailers.
  • Flamingo Campground: 
    It offers drinking water, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grills, hookups, and dump stations. Some sites are available by reservation only, and others are first-come-first-served. Registration is at the Flamingo Marina Store. Reservations are highly recommended during the peak season in the winter, from November 20 to April 15. No reservations are needed during the off-season between April 16 - November 19. During the summer wet season, parts of the campgrounds are closed due to flooding. Mosquitoes are an issue here!
Our tent site and car at Collier Seminole State Park
A fantastic campground to explore the Greater Everglades

Backcountry Camping - What is a Chickee

Chickees in the Everglades
Basic campsites, usually sleeping platforms called chickees and beach sites, are available in the entire Everglades. Permits are required.

Entrances and Visitor Centers Opening Hours

Everglades Visitor Center
Everglades Map with locations of the visitor centres - photo high resolution

There are three entrances from different directions to the Everglades. 

  1. The main entrance leads to Royal Palm and Flamingo, south of the Everglades. Open 24/7
  2. Shark Valley is the entrance in the north, close to Miami. Open 8:30 am - 6 pm - No access after 6; the gate is closed!
  3. The Tamiami Trail leads from the west, from Naples to Everglades City and the Everglades. Open 24/7


Ranger guided tour in the Everglades
Check out the visitor centres for guided ranger tours in Everglades.

Gulf Coast Visitor Center (Google Maps)

A group of dolphins riding the waves of the boat
If you visit Everglades City, a dolphin tour is a Must! Tour by GYG at no extra cost
  • 9:00 am - 4:30 pm (Mid-April through Mid-November)
  • 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mid-November through Mid-April)

Shark Valley Visitor Center; Miami (Google Maps)

A young alligator resting in the bush
Alligators are also here present
  • 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Entrance Gate: 8:30AM - 6:00PM

Shark Valley Visitor Center offers educational displays, a park video and informational brochures. Books, postcards, and other souvenirs are available in the gift store.

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Homestead (Google Maps)

Homestead National Park bus for the peak season
Free shuttle bus from late of November until the end of April
  • 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mid-December through Mid-April)
  • 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mid-April through Mid-December)

Books, films, postcards, and insect repellents are purchased in the bookstore. A series of popular walking trails begin only a short drive from the visitor centre. Restrooms are available.

Flamingo Visitor Center, Homestead (Google Maps)

Information boards about the sightings in the area
Check out the information centre for wildlife sightings
  • 8:00 am - 4:30 pm (mid-November through mid-April).
  • No regular hours off-season (mid-April through mid-November)
A manatee looking out of the water at the Everglades
You may spot manatees at Flamingo in the winter.

Flamingo is the gateway to Florida Bay. The Flamingo Visitor Center offers educational displays, brochures, and backcountry permits.

An osprey sitting in a tree
An osprey with a freshly caught fish at Flamingo.

Campground facilities, a public boat ramp, a marina store, and other hiking and canoeing trails are located near the visitor centre. However, it got it by two hurricanes in 2005 and again by Irma in 2017. The reason is that some services are no longer available.

Royal Palm Visitor Information Station (Google Maps)

The well-maintained trail at Royal Palm Visitor Information
The well-maintained Anahinga trail to the nesting area starts at Royal Palm.

The Royal Palm area was the first protected part and is the heart of the Everglades. The famous Anhinga Trail boardwalk and the Gumbo Limbo Trail start here.

Entrance Fee for Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Entrance Sign
One of the three main entrances

An individual pass for one week costs $15, which is not expensive for this unique National Park. I highly recommend purchasing your Everglades National Park ticket online and saving time. There are six fee free days so that everybody is able to explore this breathtaking national park. Fee Free Entrance Days at the Everglades

How Long to Spend in the Everglades National Park

A yellow-blue butterfly in Big Cypress
Eastern-Tiger-Swallowtail Butterfly

If you plan to visit the Everglades only, two days are already sufficient, but if you like to get an impression of the Greater Everglades of the Everglades a century ago, I recommend an entire week at least five days. You do not get bored or disappointed it is the opposite. The Everglades are exciting, but honestly, we spotted most of the wildlife and birds in the smaller reserves, which are part of this ecosystem.

Birders with cameras and binoculars in 10000 Islands
View from the watch tower in 10 Thousand Islands.

My favourite spots are Fakahatchee Strand Preserve and Big Cypress, and if you are into birding, don't miss out on the 10 Thousand Islands. It is incredible how many different bird species we spotted in one afternoon.

The Future of the Everglades

The Everglades is a test. If we pass it, we get to keep the planet. Info board
It couldn't be said better.

Restoring the Everglades is a massive project, but the importance of this entire ecosystem also for residents in this area has finally been recognized. Parts of the US HW 41, the old Tamiami Trail, were removed, three miles of new bridges and seven miles of improved roads were built. Now the fresh water can flow south to the Shark River Slough, the main corridor for the Everglades. Water distribution, quality and quantity have top priority, and all reserves benefit from it. Channels for the south. east, and west are under construction.

Packing List for the Everglades

Essential mosquito net for the head - man pitching a tent in the night
It gets dark before 5 pm in January - a headlamp is essential pitching the tent.

Some areas have few mosquitoes; others have masses. I got more than 50 bites around my ankles on our arrival at the campground in the evening in the winter! My trouser was too short and my socks too thin. We camped on different sites in the Greater Everglades, and none was mosquito-free in January.

A picnic area at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve
Late breakfast after our early morning tour - my beloved sit pad for five years already.
  • Insect repellent (Deet-Free) is essential for the entire year, especially around Flamingo and Collier Seminole!
  • Long pants throughout the year or much repellent during the day but sometimes impossible!
  • Long-sleeved shirt instead of repellent
  • Headcover for the sun plus mosquito head net on top to protect your face and neck; this is a life safer even in the winter at dusk and for some areas of the park.
  • If you plan to camp, bring a headlight for the night
  • Binocular for birding; usually, you can spot birds in the distance only
  • I always use sunscreen for the face also in the winter. It is a small bottle but lasts extremely long.
A snake on the paved path at the visitor centre
Snakes occur in the Everglades also on the walking paths.

Best Months to Visit


Location and Tips

Florida, Miami
United States
United States

The Everglades consist of a freshwater river and the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico. This creates a unique ecosystem for a huge variety of animals and birds. Most water comes from the rain. Before 1880 the Everglades were connected with Lake Okeechobee. Due to draining for farming and urban development, only 50 % of the original Everglades remained.

Mangrove Channel
Mangrove Channels exploration by canoe in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve

The Greater Everglades Ecosystem is an 18.000-square-mile unique landscape formed by the Everglades National Park, many preserves, and nature reserves, such as Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, the pristine Ten Thousand Islands, Collier-Seminole State Park, and others. These nature parks are similar to and as impressive as the Everglades but less visited and known.

A fallen tree by a strangler fig remains lying - all wild
The pristine nature is left to its own.

What makes the difference between these parks? Unfortunately, they don't have the same status and are not as protected as a national park as the Everglades. A broader spectrum of use is allowed in a national preserve, which means oil and gas exploration and production are possible. These nature parks and the Everglades are a treasure trove of quiet beauty and wonders of this water system.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher in the bush

We spent seven days in this area; each day was spectacular, with many wildlife sightings and bird spotting. By car is just a fraction of the Greater Everglades accessible. Therefore, to experience the park, you must walk, take a kayak, or a boat.

Pa-hay-okee Trail in the Everglades
Pa-hay-okee boardwalk trail to experience the wilderness of the Everglades. 

With patience and luck, you spot many wading birds at Ten Thousand Islands and, of course, alligators in the Everglades, along the Big Cypress Drive, in Fakahatchee, and in other parks. More than one million alligators call Florida their home.

7 Travel Tips for the Greater Everglades

1 Tamiami Trail

Alligators along the Tamiami HW
Alligators are pretty close

Drive along the scenic Tamiami Trail on HW 41. It's an awesome road trip with alligators along the road. We spent three nights on the Collier Seminole Campground.

2 Ten Thousand Islands

Roseate Spoonbill in the 10 Thousand Islands
Roseate Spoonbills in the wetlands hunted for their wings and feathers in the early 1800s

Visit the Ten Thousand Islands in the afternoon for bird watching. You won't be disappointed. This 35-square-mile refuge is home to masses of wading birds. It was established in 1996 to protect this unique estuarine ecosystem. Several trails and an observation tower give a closer look at this birding paradise.

3 Fakahatchee Strand Preserve

Ibis searching for fish
Ibis searching for food

For me, one of the most beautiful parks in entire Florida is the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve. Walk on one of the hiking trails in the preserve, explore nature along the short boardwalk, or book a guided tour. The Fakahatchee Strand is 20 miles long, 3-5 miles wide and the major drainage slough of the Big Cypress Swamp, the biggest strand in Florida.

A huge royal palm in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve
A native royal palm over 100 ft tall.

Even more, it is the largest subtropical strand swamp in the world. This preserve has the largest population of native royal palms and the largest concentration and variety of orchids in North America. We even got a glimpse of a black bear running away.

4 Big Cypress

Big Cypress Trees
Trees in the Big Cypress wetlands

Spend at least half a day at the Big Cypress Nature Preserve. Make a stop at the Visitor Center, drive along 94 the Long Road Big Cypress, and walk the different short nature trails and boardwalks. Giant cypress trees can survive while standing in water.

Zoom photo of the head of a alligator with open mouth and big teeth
We saw dozens of alligators during our four-day visit.

They often form dense clusters called cypress dom. The trees deep in the centre's soil grow taller than the ones standing on dryer ground. If you ever wanted to see alligators, there are heaps of them.

5 Dolphin Tour Everglades City

Jumping Dolphin behind the motor boat
Dolphin Tour from Everglades City

Take a guided boat tour from Everglades City. During the ride along the channels and residential houses, we already saw alligators and pelicans; when we reached the Gulf Coast, a school of dolphins accompanied us. Depending on where your hotel or campground is located there is also a tour available from Marco Island.

6 Canoe or Kayak Tour in the Mangrove Channels

Guided canoe tour in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve
Canoe tour in the Greater Everglades

Book a canoe or kayak tour and paddle through the mangrove channels and the wide-open slough. Enjoy the quiet beauty and mystic atmosphere from the canoe. This canoe tour was my highlight in the Greater Everglades Park.

7 Collier Seminole State Park

Boardwalk Trail through lush vegetation
Royal Palm Boardwalk Trail in Collier Seminole State Park

Hike on the Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail Boardwalk in the Collier Seminole State Park. This 0.9 mi / 1.5 km long trail is exceptional, with a thick canopy of royal palm hammocks and other trees, which are more common to see in the Caribbean. The boardwalk ends at a platform with fantastic views of the salt marsh and nesting birds.

Activities – 9 Things to Do in the Everglades

  1. Airboat Tour
    Airboat Ride in the Everglades
    Airboats in the Everglades Tour by GYG with no extra cost.
    Airboat rides are the only opportunity to get into the shallow waters to experience the wildlife and unique landscape. Rides are allowed outside the National Park only.
  2. Boating from Miami
    Boat Tour in the Gulf of Mexico - boat at a remote beach
    The inland and coastal waterways are a great way to experience the remote areas of the Greater Everglades. You either need good navigation skills for it or book a guided day trip from Miami. The tour we booked led through the channels, an island, and into the heart of the Everglades; two boat rides and lunch were included. 
  3. Canoeing
    Our guide standing in the kayak explaining plants in the tree
    Josh, our excellent guide with an immense knowledge of the vegetation - Tour GYG
    Gliding silently is one of the best opportunities to experience the real beauty of the Greater Everglades. Canoe rentals are available at Flamingo and Everglades City. This activity is best during the winter months. 
    Rosette spoonbill and his morror in the swamp plus a white egret
    The Everglades are marvellous for bird watching.
    Some of the most popular canoe trips are Mud Lake, a 6.8-mile-long loop, Nine Mile Pond, a 5.2-mile loop, Noble Hammock loop is 2 miles long or Turner River near Everglades City, which is 11 miles long one way. A two-day canoe trip is the West Lake Canoe Trail. It takes 8.1 miles to the Alligator Creek campsite and another 8.7 miles to Flamingo. 
    Anhinga in the swamp
    Anhinga bird - also a popular trail is named after this bird
    Even a 99-mile wilderness waterway connects Flamingo to Everglades City, which takes 7-10 days. You spend the night in your tent on a chickee. These wooden platforms are along the canoe trail, providing a dry and safe opportunity for camping. Maps for canoe trips are provided at the end of the article. However, if you are not familiar with the area, we recommend a guided tour. We booked a half-day trip from sunrise to midday, which was definitely a highlight because of our excellent guide, Joshua Lewis. We spotted a racoon in the mangroves, lots of birds, and alligators, and the atmosphere along the waterways was incredible. 
  4. Kayaking
    Kayak rental in the Everglades in Flamingo
    There is a rental station for kayaks at Flamingo. Single and double kayaks are for rental for two and four hours. Prices may vary during the winter and summer seasons.
  5. Hiking
    Boardwalk hiking in the Everglades
    There are many interpretive boardwalk trails within the park and some longer day hikes. However, keep in mind that most of the park is rather wet than dry. The most popular tracks are the Long Pine Key Trail, Rowdy Bend Trail, Christian Point Trail, or Coastal Prairie Trail. Continue reading for our 5 best boardwalk hikes. 
  6. Slogging
    Slogging in the Everglades
    Guided slogging tour with an Everglades ranger
    Slogging is off-trail hiking in wet areas. It is permitted in the entire Everglades park. Usually, snakes and alligators are more scared than you, but I have to confess this wasn't the right activity for us. Rangers also lead this activity. Ask at one of the information centres for the next guided tour. 
  7. Biking
    Rental Bikes in the Collier Seminole State Park
    Shark Valley is great to explore by bike, also the Snake Bight Trail is close to Flamingo. Another one is the Long Pine Key Nature Trail which is 6.1 miles long one-way. Hikers and bikers share this trail. At some parks, rental bikes are available, but you better bring your own.
  8. Birding
    Egret with fish in the beak
    Birding is one of the most rewarding activities in the park. Masses of wading birds are nesting in Florida's wetlands and especially at 10 Thousand Islands. 
    The watch tower in 10 Thousand Islands late afternoon
    The watch tower in 10.000 Islands - A birders paradise
  9. Fishing
    Fishing Sign
    The Everglades are popular for freshwater and saltwater fishing. The Everglades are home to nearly 300 different freshwater fish species. You can charter a boat at Flamingo. Nevertheless, first, check out the park's regulations for fishing. A license for both saltwater and freshwater fishing is required. Eating just one bass per week is recommended because of its high mercury content. Pregnant women and children shouldn't eat any!

5 Top Boardwalk Hikes

Everglades Trailhead Map
Map of the 3 Everglades Boardwalk Trailheads - Map high resolution

Often, people ask if it is worth visiting the Everglades. Yes, even if you have just one day available. To glimpse nature's beauty, walk some of our recommended interpretative trails, and you will get overwhelmed. I am sure you will agree it is utterly worth visiting the Everglades. These trails are not strenuous or long, and they are all well-maintained and wheelchair accessible, showing how outstanding and important the Greater Everglades are.

  1. Mahogany Hammock Trail - 0.4mi / 700m long (Google Maps)
    Mahagony Hammock Trail - full of huge palm trees
    Don't miss this wonderful walk. You enter a lush tree island that was hidden from logging activities in the swamp. The forest is wild and beautiful with strangler figs, old mahogany trees, palm trees, and more. We spotted an osprey here on top of a tree. Check out our pictures for a detailed map.
  2. Pa-hay-okee Trail - 0.2mi / 250m (Google Maps)
    Pa-hay-okee Trail boardwalk
    You can see the "grassy waters" and bald cypress trees on this boardwalk. You have an even better view from the observation tower. Unfortunately, stairs lead down from the tower, so they are not utterly wheelchair accessible. Check out the pictures for a detailed map at the end of the article.
  3. Gumbo Limbo - 0.4mi / 700m (Google Maps)
    Huge strangler Fig at the Gumbo Limbo Trail
    The trail leads along a boardwalk that is paved in some sections; as long as it is not wet, it should be wheelchair accessible. Also, this is a beautiful wild nature trail that presents the best of the Everglades. It is an excellent example of how the trees mix up in the hardwood hammock. The trail is shady even in the summer, but don't forget the bug spray.
  4. Big Cypress Bend in Fakahatchee - 1mi / 1.6km (Google Maps)
    A man on a bench in the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
    This wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leads into the heart of a swamp with the real wilderness around. It ends at a viewing platform and pool with birds and orchids around. Bald eagles and owls are often spotted. This walk is a hidden gem that has not been visited much, but it is a nature lover's dream. Most of the walk is under a large tree canopy; therefore, it is also worth coming here in the summer. A nice little gift shop is next to the parking and trailhead. Entrance is free, though a donation is requested for maintenance. 
  5. Kirby Storter Boardwalk in Big Cypress - 1mi / 1.6km roundtrip (Google Maps)
    Kirby Storter Boardwalk leading above the swamp
    The wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leads to the heart of a cypress strand and different vegetations. It gives you another view of the unique landscape of the Everglades. Also, this walk is not busy and well known. If you drive too fast, you miss the entrance of this beautiful wilderness walk. We spotted a snake here and many different bird species. There is plenty of parking available.

    11 Facts About the Florida Alligators

    Alligator's upper jaw

    1. More than one million alligators call Florida their home
    2. Growing 6 - 10 inches per year
    3. A male alligator can reach 14 feet in length but on average 8-10 feet
    4. Reaching maturity after 6 - 7 years
    5. They can live without food for long periods by slowing their metabolism, feeding whatever is available, including turtles and birds, roughly 15-20 times per year.
    6. April is the mating time - Some males mate with several females
    7. It is the female's job to build the nest and to protect the hatchlings
    8. Females lay 30-50 eggs
    9. Late August, September the hatchlings emerge
    10. Newly hatched baby gators are 9-10 inches long
    11. Only 20% of the newborn will reach adulthood

    Alligator - Keeper of the Swamp

    Alligator Hole
    Kirby Storter Boardwalk - view from the platform to the pool at the end

    Gator holes are ponds often created by alligators that play an essential role in the dry season. Fish, birds, frogs, snakes, turtles, and mammals all concentrate in and around these holes. Prey is available when needed, but alligators don't often feed; therefore, they share this vital habitat.

    Is Swimming Safe in the Everglades?

    Alligator resting on land at the swamp

    Swimming is definitely not safe and only in marked areas. Don't swim at night or dusk when alligators may be present. Don't let your pet swim in areas where large alligators may be around. I have to confess we didn't swim anywhere. We spotted plenty of alligators on our trip.


    Wildlife in the Everglades

    Raccoon in the tree top
    A racoon is watching us while having breakfast at Collier Seminole
    • American crocodiles: grey to green colour, teeth of upper and lower jaws are visible. Flamingo is home to the rare American crocodile.
    • American Alligator: black in colour, only teeth of the upper jaw visible.
    • Black Bears; over 3000 bears are living in the Greater Everglades.
    • Florida Panther is highly endangered and rarely seen moving at night. Roughly 100 exist here in the Greater Everglades.
    • Bobcats; are widespread, but usually, it is more likely to spot their tracks in the mud.
    • Racoons; are widespread, often seen in the mangroves or around campgrounds.
    • White-tailed deer, the same species as in the east of the US. These deers are smaller because they don't need an extra layer of fat for the winter.
    • West Indian Manatees can be spotted in the Flamingo Marina close to the Flamingo Visitor Center.


    A blue heron and its mirror in the swamp
    A green heron at Big Cypress

    The Greater Everglades is a haven for bird watchers. However, you mainly spot birds of prey and wading birds. These birds wade through shallow water or along the water's edge, searching for frogs, fish, and insects. All of them have different feeding techniques. 

    • Roseate spoonbills are breeding between November and February. Only a few hundred occur in the south of Florida.
    • Wood Storks, the more than 3 feet tall stork, is the only breeding stork in the US. It prefers tropical and subtropical habitats because it inhabits the Greater Everglades. 
    • Caribbean Flamingos were here in abundance during the 1800s, with flocks of over 1000 birds. Nowadays, they are rare to spot due to overhunting locally and in the Caribbean.
    • Osprey; You find plenty of nests around the Flamingo Visitor Center area. They nest high above the grounds.
    • White Pelicans; thousands of white pelicans winter in Florida Bay. They are often spotted in front of the Flamingo Visitor Center.
    • Black Vultures are often seen in larger groups in the swamps.
    • Owls; different species of owls occur in the Everglades. They are night active. You may spot a roosting owl high in a tree during the day.

    The Greater Everglades Landscape

    Red mangroves and alligator
    Red Mangroves

    The mangroves in the Everglades are under threat due to the rising sea level. They form coastal channels, waterways, and islands. They protect the coast from heavy storms, and the roots are a habitat for many aquatic species, the nursery for young fishes. Three different types of mangroves exist.

    1. The red ones are evidence of saltwater.
    2. The black mangroves are at a slightly higher elevation where saltwater and freshwater mix up. 
    3. White mangroves are found landward also in a mix of saltwater and freshwater. 


    Prairie in the Everglades

    The prairie is a wide-open slough that fills up with freshwater during the wet summer months and heavy storms with seawater. The prairie is salt-tolerant. 

    Woodpecker in hardwood hammock
    Hardwood Hammocks

    The biggest islands are hardwood hammocks laying on higher and dryer ground which usually don't get flooded. They are rich in plant and animal life. Often woodpeckers are found on the trees.

    Skeleton Forest in the Everglades
    Skeleton Forests

    In the winter, the bald-cypress trees look bare and lifeless. These conifers shed their needles, becoming green again when the wet season starts. This is their way of coping with the seasonal drought. 

    Please get in touch with me if you wish to use any of my photos, but I will take action against picture theft.

    Nearby Places
    John Pennekamp State Park - Key Largo Snorkelling
    99 km
    John Pennekamp State Park - Key Largo Snorkelling
    Key Largo it is known for a dozen excellent snorkelling dive spots. The most…
    Key West - Snorkeling
    160 km
    Key West - Snorkeling
    Located at the western end of the Florida Keys, Key West offers a great jumping…
    Birding and Beaches at Honeymoon Island in Florida
    316 km
    Birding and Beaches at Honeymoon Island in Florida
    Honeymoon Island was offered for newlyweds for two weeks free honeymoon by…
    Birding at Zapata, Playa Larga
    369 km
    Birding at Zapata, Playa Larga
    Birding at National Park Zapata is outstanding. We did this guided tour twice…
    Snorkeling at Playa Larga in Cuba
    372 km
    Snorkeling at Playa Larga in Cuba
    Best months to visit Playa Larga are November/December through April. The reef…
    Crab Migration Playa Larga in Cuba
    374 km
    Crab Migration Playa Larga in Cuba
    In April female land crabs start to migrate from forests to the sea to release…
    Snorkeling at Cayo Levisa
    381 km
    Snorkeling at Cayo Levisa
    Cayo Levisa is 4 km long and accessible only by ferry which takes about half an…
    Swim With Manatees in Florida - 7 Must-Know Tips - Tours
    389 km
    Swim With Manatees in Florida - 7 Must-Know Tips - Tours
    Many years ago, I saw a picture of hundreds of manatees close together. When we…
    Valle Ancon - Vinales
    415 km
    Valle Ancon - Vinales
    Valle Vinales once covered by a mountain limestone range, but today much has…
    Vinales - All About Tobacco Plantations in Cuba
    416 km
    Vinales - All About Tobacco Plantations in Cuba
    Vinales is a must to see where real Cuban cigars come from. But Vinales is more…
    Created by
    Micha Herber-Bleich
    Micha Herber-Bleich
    I am always open, curious about new…