Everglades National Park is one of the national parks we always wanted to visit, but we were unsure how to do a proper sightseeing on the wetlands. This time, we decided to cover the Everglades and it turned out to be a great unique experience.
Covering 1.5 million acres, the Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America, the largest wilderness in the Southeast, the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere and the largest stand of sawgrass prairie in North America. The Everglades is also the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. Although we didn’t encounter any crocodiles, based on the park official, there are only a couple thousands of crocodiles left in Florida while there are in the upwards of 2 millions alligators.
During our time in the park, we did the airboat ride right outside the park territory and the pontoon boat ride in the park. Besides covering Everglades National Park, we also visited the nearby Big Cypress National Preserve based on the park official’s recommendation, which has very different vegetation than the Everglades.
Although we didn’t truly cover Miami, we joined a food tour in the Little Havana neighborhood to sample the Cuban cuisine and learn about the Cuban culture. We also spent one full day driving all the way to Key West while visiting several attractions, such as the Turtle Hospital, Hemingway House and strolling along the famous Duval Street. The remaining 4 days were spent in Fort Lauderdale to attend a conference.