Everglades National Park, Florida

After 4 days in Miami and driving from Key West I arrived at the Everglades Hostel in Florida City, a hostel with a big outdoor area, pancakes for breakfast, free wifi and nice big dorm rooms, as I was out of season it was very quiet and on my second night I had the dorm room to myself.  I love it when that happens, though it’s very rare.  That night I spent planning what I wanted to do the next day in the Mexican restaurant next door.

As I was going to the everglades I wanted to do an airboat tour in a small boat and I decided to do this in Everglades City, which was a bit of a drive but the company I went with are the only company that go through both the mangrove jungles and grasslands, Speedy’s Airboat Tours.

I got there met our pilot and off we headed, as we set off from the marina we saw an alligator in the water, the only one we would see on the trip.  As it was a cloudy and cold day I was told the alligators would not be out sunbathing so we were lucky to get to see one.

Everglades City

We also saw a mother and baby dolphin swimming around.  (Not the best shot, after 4 years you would think I would know exactly how my camera works!!)

Everglades City

We then put our ear muffs on, increased our speed and headed through the Mangrove Jungles.

Everglades CityEverglades City

This was great fun, our pilot put his foot down and threw us around corners, loved it.  After the mangroves we then headed through the grasslands, we didn’t see any more animals on the tour but by then the adrenalin was pumping.

After the tour the company recommended a drive down Turner River Road, it’s a few miles from the turnoff for Everglades City and it’s a 21 mile scenic gravel road, with a canal alongside the road, where you can see lots of alligators hanging out.

I then headed to Everglades National Park and the Shark Valley entrance.  There are 2 options to see the area here, either hiring a bike or doing a tram tour as it’s a 15 mile circuit.  As the clouds had arrived and rain was looking inevitable, I decided to go with the tram option, which when the rain arrived I was relieved not to be cycling around.  The tour was great and they kept stopping and showing us different birds, alligators & snakes.  Half way we stopped at the observation tower to get a great view of the everglades.  Definitely worth doing unless you have the weather and time for the bike ride.

Shark ValleyShark ValleyShark ValleyShark Valley

After my fun packed day I headed back to the hostel in the rain, certainly wasn’t expecting rain when I booked Miami.

The next day was my last before heading back to the UK, so my intention was to head into the park via the entrance near Florida City, unfortunately the weather that day was terrible, very little visibility and heavy rain.

I decided instead to facetime home before my flight, to put my dad off the scent that I was flying home to surprise him on his 70th birthday.  His face was a picture when he walked in the pub and he couldn’t understand how I was there and not in Miami.  What a great end to the trip.

Find out about Why I started travelling here, Miami Beach here and Key West here

Read about my trip to Everglades National Park, Florida, USA and what there is to do there.

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31 thoughts on “Everglades National Park, Florida

    • Yes it is a snake. We didn’t see many alligators due to the weather, I believe if it’s good weather you would see a lot, but you could just do the shuttle around and not get out, then you are in no danger 🙂

  1. Very Cool! I often wondered what an air boat ride would be like! very detailed info! I think the water snakes would give me the williies which is strange because I thinks the alligators would do more damage 🙂 I drove a few time across alligator ally from Ft. Meyer, it’s was interesting to the gators everywhere!

  2. This sounds like an adventure I would like to do. I have heard so much about the Everglades, but I have never seen any pictures. I like that there is so natural. Also, I have never seen a water snake before!

    Well done on successfully surprising your dad 😉

  3. This looks like my kind of trip! I hadn’t realised you could get so close to nature so close to Miami. The mangrove jungle looks beautiful and so full of wildlife. I think I would have been too excited by the dolphins to even get my camera out in time so well done for getting such a close up shot. The only time I ever saw dolphins from a boat I nearly fell overboard with excitement!

    I really shouldn’t have read this post on payday as I really really want to book a flight to Florida now!

  4. These boat tours look really amazing. I would be a bit scared of all the widelife but hey, if you don’t risk it, you might never see such a beauty! 🙂

  5. You’re so brave… if you have the adrenaline rush, I maybe fainted if I was on your adventure to the mangroves:)

    Being alone in a dorm-room is indeed a party, esp like me who is more introvert and who can’t afford a room for my own..

  6. What you have described sounded like a nice, relaxing experience, where you just go with the flow..even if there’s nothing thrilling or unusual, it leaves you with a quiet sense of contentment. Birds, alligators and mangroves…just perfect.

  7. This looks fantastic I love wildlife and can see you captured some great pics. I know what you mean with your camera, it’s ok if it’s something that doesn’t move but catching dolphins in action is probably more of a challenge!

  8. The tour through the everglades sounds fun and you got some amazing pictures, especially of that bird! That was a cool surprise you pulled on your dad, I would have loved to have seen the look on his face!

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