When to Go
Everglades has two seasons: dry (mid-December through mid-April) and wet (the rest of the year). The park schedules most of its activities in the dry season; hot, humid weather and clouds of mosquitoes make park visitors quite uncomfortable during the wet season.
How to Get There
South from Miami, take US 1—Florida's Turnpike to Florida City, then go west on Fla. 9336 (Palm Dr.) to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, about 50 miles from Miami. West from Miami, take US 41 (the Tamiami Trail) to Shark Valley Visitor Center. From Naples, head east on US 41 to Fla. 29, then south to Everglades City. Airports: Miami and Naples.
How to Visit
If you can stay only a day for a drive-in visit, get out of your car and learn about Everglades ecology by taking self-guided walks at road turnoffs on the drive from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center to Flamingo. For a longer stay, pick either Flamingo or Everglades City as your base and time your travels to the schedules of concession boat tours. In wet or dry season, only a boat or canoe gives you access to the backcountry. Because of mosquitoes, the dry season is best for canoeing. (Near park entrances you'll see signs advertising airboat rides; airboats, which can disturb wildlife and tear up saw grass, are not licensed to operate in the park.)
Where to Stay
A wide variety of lodging options are available in and around the park.
There are two front-country campgrounds in the park: Flamingo and Long Pine Key. Tent and RV sites are available, but there are no hookups. The cost is $16 per night, and during the dry season there is a 14-night limit. You can also opt to go backcountry camping at various ground and beach sites. To visit these remote areas of the park, you will need a $10 backcountry permit. Reservations cannot be made for backcountry camps or Long Pine Key. To make camping reservations at Flamingo, go to: www.recreation.gov.
Hotels and Motels (Outside the Park):
The Coral Roc Motel is a small facility of 17 units. The rooms are air-conditioned and there is a pool. To make reservations, call 1 305 246 8888.
The Knights Inn, located off US 1, offers 48 air-conditioned rooms, some with kitchenettes. There is also a pool.
Ten miles from the park is Best Western Gateway to the Keys. The hotel has a pool and offers free continental breakfast.
Come prepared! Bring sunscreen, bug repellant, and plenty of water. If you are camping, bring all of the supplies you will need because no equipment is for sale in the park.
No pets are allowed in the park except at the campgrounds.