Hike through diverse ecosystems
Are there alligators and pythons all over the Everglades? Yes. But be reminded you're in a 1.5 million acre ecosystem where there are also bears, and panthers, and… well, a lot of humans. Put your fears aside, lace up your mud boots, and head out hiking through the most unique biological communities in America. You’ll be able to catch trailheads at both the Long Pine Key and Flamingo camping areas. Though you won’t encounter much in the way of elevation, you will be dealing with mosquitoes and humidity. So pack lots of water and even more insect repellant.
From Pine Island, you can take a number of short hikes over pavement and boardwalks, through mahogany forest, sawgrass marsh, and gumbo limbo trees. None of them are more than a mile long, so you can literally explore it all in a morning before it gets too hot.
At Flamingo, you’ll be closer to the water so hop on the two-mile Bayshore Loop Trail, where views of Florida Bay peek from behind mangroves. For something a little more challenging, jump on the Coastal Prairie Trail, a 7.5-mile path once used by cotton farmers and fishermen, lined with buttonwood trees. The journey ends at Clubhouse Beach, an isolated stretch of sand at the end of the Everglades you’ll rarely have to share.