United States is a country with stunning landscapes and natural expanses. There are 59 protected national parks, among them, some of the most famous in the world, such as Yellowstone, home of Yogi Bear, and the Grand Canyon in Colorado. To help preserve these treasured parks, the National Park Service was created in 1916, with the mission to preserve landscapes, wildlife, and natural and historic objects.
Incredible destinations, each park has its own beautiful and unique geological features, exceptional ecosystems and recreational opportunities. Since many of these parks are close to major cities, they can be the ideal place for a family vacation, or to visit with friends, partners, and fellow backpackers.
One national park that we especially recommend is the Everglades. A UNESCO national world heritage site, its proximity to Miami has made it one of the most frequently visited parks in the US.
Located in the southern tip of Florida, the Everglades are considered the largest subtropical desert in the country. Its marshes are home to 36 protected species, including pumas, deer, crocodiles, turtles, and a multitude of birds.
Would you like to make the most of your adventure? Here are some tips for getting to and around the Everglades:
The Park has two well defined seasons during the year: wet and dry. The dry season (winter) is the Park´s busy season due to mild and pleasant temperatures.
In summer (rainy season), access to the park’s facilities is limited, due to high temperatures and humidity levels. The observation of wildlife is also limited as the animals hide more easily in the higher water levels.
If you live in another state and do not want to endure the long car ride, we recommend traveling plane as the Everglades are located in the Southern end of the state. If a plane ride is too costly, you can save quite a bit by taking a bus or train. Besides enjoying the scenery, you can rest along the way, avoiding the stress of driving and traffic. To see prices or schedules check the GoTicket site, and make your trip easier by organizing your travel in advance.
In Miami, we recommend staying in a hotel; the Everglades park offers shuttle service from many registered hostels directly to the park. For more information please review the park´s official website.
An adult ticket is $25, children between 5 and 10 years pay $12, and children under 5 are free. If you are feeling adventurous, you can book a private tour or purchase a VIP pass (which allows access into the Everglades 365 days a year).
Tour rides are very well organized; visitors receive a complete map with an overview of the history of the Park and an explanation of the main attractions. You can also discover more about the importance of the ecosystem and crocodile habitats.
Most visitors take the opportunity to ride aboard an Air Boat. With capacity for 40 persons, the tour usually lasts about 30 minutes. During the tour, visitors learn more about the local biodiversity and get to see the impressive crocodiles up close.
For those looking to immerse themselves in the park, meet the Park through meandering hiking trails, cycling (you can carry your gear or rent in the Everglades), plus a walk to kayak path in the Flamingo Visitor Center.
To complete your adventure, we suggest a meal at the restaurant located within the grounds, and browsing the souvenirs available in the gift shop.