Experience the Florida Everglades
One of the most unique and engaging ecosystems in the world, Florida’s Everglades National Park (ENP) spans 1.5 million acres and three counties — Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Collier. Established in 1947, the Everglades’ nine distinct habitats house everything from manatees, alligators, and crocodiles to more than 360 species of birds.
Depending on your interests and time, you can access different parts of the Everglades as a day trip from Marriott Vacation Club® resorts and properties in Miami’s South Beach, Doral, and Fort Lauderdale.
EXPLORE NATURE ON THE WATER
If it’s your first time visiting the Everglades, schedule an airboat tour with dozens of outfitters located on Interstate-75 (Fort Lauderdale) or SR 41 (Doral and Miami Beach). Airboats allow you to skim over just a few inches of water to get a close look at wetlands and wildlife you might not otherwise access. Many of these outfitters also offer fishing charters, wildlife shows, and concessions with tastes of native fare like gator tail.
First-timers and repeat visitors may want to start at Shark Valley, an official visitor center named for the Shark River. Bike part — or all — of a 15-mile paved loop or take a ranger-led, two-hour tram tour for more wildlife viewing.
These activities generally take a morning or afternoon, so you can also arrange a visit to the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Fort Lauderdale and Miccosukee Indian Village & Airboats in Miami. Both indigenous tribes live in the Everglades.
Plan a Day Trip
If you want a more immersive experience — or plan to explore extensively by foot, bike, or boat — the park’s main entrance is just off the Florida Turnpike, south of Miami in Homestead. This leads to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, where you can pick up a map and chat with rangers about guided tours, such as slough-slogging or wading through the wetlands. It’s recommended to book ranger-led programs ahead of time.
The main park road leads you through the Everglades from east to west, with turn-offs marking the ways to various interpretive walks for bird watching and wildlife viewing; more strenuous hiking and biking trails; geocaching; and bodies of water where you can canoe, kayak, and fish.
After 38 miles, you’ll arrive at the Flamingo Visitor Center, a marina where you can rent watercraft or take a guided boat tour. This is the furthest you should go for a day trip to allow time to return to your resort.
Plan for the day by bringing snacks, long-sleeved shirts, closed-toe shoes, hats, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and lightweight pants. At the end of your visit, remember to leave no trace of your time in the park, and don’t remove anything. The Everglades’ restoration efforts work to preserve these ecosystems, so the next generation can continue to enjoy this amazing natural resource.
The examples provided herein are subject to change.