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1.5 Million Acres of Wetlands
Everglades National Park is a HUGE park filled with so much wildlife and beauty! It is located near Miami, Florida in 1.5 million acres of wetlands. Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.
We visited Everglades National Park for a 15-mile bicycle tour at the Shark Valley Visitor Center and it was SO much fun! We saw a ton of alligators, several turtles, and birds, also. I HIGHLY recommend that you visit during alligator mating season to get the most out of your visit. Alligator mating season starts in early April through June. We went at the end of March and there was an abundance of alligators and they were definitely very active!
There are three entrances to Everglades National Park. Make sure you enter through the Shark Valley Visitor Center entrance at 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194. If you do not have transportation to the park and take Uber, Lyft, or a taxi; please make sure you have return transportation arranged. You are going into a very remote area and internet and rideshare services are very limited; it may difficult or impossible to get a return rideshare service. Please also note that the three entrances into the park are not interconnected so make sure you enter into the correct entrance for the Shark Valley Visitor Center.
To enter into Everglades National Park, you will incur a State Park fee at the entrance. Check out fees and further park information at Everglades National Park.
Come Early, Stay Late
Shark Valley has a 15-mile bicycle and walking trail with a 65-foot observation tower. We opted in for the bicycle tour and it was SO much fun! Make sure you are physically active enough to do this tour; it will take you approximately 2-3 hours to complete and that’s just the ride itself.
Factor in stopping to view and observe all of the alligators and wildlife you will see and your time at the observation tower and you definitely will have a full day of touring. We arrived at the park at 10:00 a.m. and returned back to the Visitor Center at 4:00 p.m.
Plan to arrive no later than 10 a.m. as the temperatures are typically hot year-round, 80+ degrees and humid. The earlier, the better. I recommend bringing your own bicycles but if that is not an option, you can also rent them at the park from Shark Valley Tram Tours.
There is also a 2-hour guided tram tour available if you want to opt out of the bicycle ride. Shark Valley Tram Tours also provides this service.
Mating Season Visit
I highly recommend you visit during mating season to see tons of alligators and wildlife! Mating season begins at the beginning of April and believe me, you will have no shortage of seeing alligators!
As a word of caution, if you choose to bicycle, please be aware that many large alligators sunbath just on the side of the trail and blend in easily to their surroundings. Pay attention or you could easily run right into one!
Respect these animals, they are not pets. Keep your distance, a recommended 10-15 feet or however far you feel comfortable. These animals are VERY dangerous and could easily kill you! Respect their natural habitat and they will respect you.
Since it was mating season, we had the pleasure of seeing several baby alligators, too. Look closely and take your time, they are there but not always easy to locate.
Be prepared for a long, 15-mile bike ride. You are allowed to bring items into the park and make sure you do as there are no options for drinks, snacks, or a bathroom for the full 15-miles. There is a Gift Shop at the Visitors Center that has several basic items if you need them.
Plan ahead! There are a few essential items that I would recommend:
- Helmet or Hat
Be prepared for a full day. Don’t forget, it’s a 7.5-mile trek one way! Prepare for an all-day adventure!
Once you make it to the Observation Tower, you’ll have a whole new experience! The Observation Tower is approximately six stories up and the view from the top is amazing! You can see the Everglades for miles, it’s absolutely beautiful! You will also see many alligators in the water below, fighting for food, mating, and just bathing in the sun. You can easily spend a couple of hours just watching and observing!
Highlights and Details
- Open Year Round
- Mating Season – Early April through June
- Open Daily, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Located At: 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194
- Phone: (305) 221-8776
- Visitor Center
- Gift Shop
- Bathroom Facilities
- 15-Mile Bicycle Trail
- Bicycle Tours
- Tram Tours
- Wheelchair and Stroller Access
Check out all the Everglades National Park has to offer!
I love alligators! I think they are one of the most unique and prehistoric animals that exist. Would you get this close to alligators in their natural habitat?