Florida Guide > Other Florida
The Florida Everglades
Although the numerous parks are a must-see for the first time visitor, there is much more to see in "The other Florida". The Everglades National Park is well worth a visit if you can tear yourself away from the Kissimmee area for 2 or preferably 3 days. A day trip is out of the question.
Located in Florida''s south western corner, the Everglades cover all of Monroe County and the majority of Miami Dade. The two main centres for visitors are at Everglades City / Chokoloskee in the north and Flamingo City in the south. Whichever you choose be sure to be armed with mosquito repellent! Our preference would be the Everglades City area. Take the I-4 to Tampa and then I-75 to the Fort Myers and Naples area. Book into one of the many hotels at Fort Myers or Naples for your overnight stay. Another alternative is to stay at Marco Island by taking the US 951 at the Golden Gate junction. Marco Island is one the most expensive areas in Florida and is popular with snowbirds, who own many of the properties. There are only two hotels, the Hilton and the Radisson, which are both on the beach. The residents are very protective of the area and no more hotels will be allowed to be built.
Everglades City is 30 minutes drive from Marco, along the Tamiani Trail. Naples is approximately 180 miles from the junction of I-4 and US192 and takes 4 to 4 and half hours non-stop driving.
The 1.5 million acres of wetlands is one of Earth''s most unique eco-systems. You will see marsh rabbits, ancient mahogany trees and alligators, of course. It is also home to 125 species of fish, 300 species of birds and over 1,000 species of plants. Everglades City itself is quite small although it has the City Motel as well as the Ivey House B & B. Pay a visit to the Museum of Everglades located in the City center at the Old Laundry - open Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Go on a real airboat ride tour with an experienced guide with a commentary on the whole eco-system, from either Captain Doug''s or Totch''s. In the afternoon you can take a tour through some of the Thousand Islands and maybe see manatees and usually dolphins following the boat. Some of the islands are made of piles of shells hauled there by the Calusa Indians as lookout posts for approaching Spanish invaders.
After a good night''s sleep why not visit the Big Cypress Reserve? This is one of the six Seminole tribe Reservations. In the center is the smallest Post Office in the USA at Ochopee, measuring 8ft. 4 inches x 7ft. 3 inches x 10ft. 6 inches high. The Seminoles are in charge of their own destiny on the reservation and receive quite lucrative tax concessions. Also in the center is the Billie Swamp Safari Wildlife Park where Buggy Tours are available.
You can discover much of Florida''s history in the Everglades as well as understanding its importance for much wildlife.
Have a Good Trip.
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