Some of the world’s most mysterious, untamed places are precisely the kind of places we all need to visit in order to get close to nature. Among the wealth of national parks in the world that you definitely need to see, one that’s most likely close to home is the famous wetlands hiding in Everglades National Park in Florida.
“It’s a jungle out there” – or so we tend to say when roaming the streets of New York or Chicago. Until you actually see the tropical wilderness of the Everglades, and this slice of marshland shows you otherwise. The Everglades is home to unique animal and plant species and its slow-paced tempo of life will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into an entirely different universe. Here’s how you can explore it!
Pick your seasons wisely
First and foremost, you’re about to visit a tropical region where temperatures and the levels of humidity can be very difficult for a typical city dweller. The Glades has two distinct seasons, the wet season spanning from April to October, when you can expect immense humidity and plenty of annoying mosquitoes. From November to March, the weather can be quite temperate, but more tourists typically flock during that time, and you’ll still need protection from insects and potential heavy rain.
Visit the Big Cypress National Preserve
What so many people don’t realize is that the Glades isn’t just home to the flat and swampy wildlife and vegetation. In fact, you’ll find that the Big Cypress National Preserve in the Glades hides a few giant cypress trees along with many other plant varieties contributing to the local ecosystem.
This is where you’ll come across some of the world’s most endangered animal species, such as the Florida panther. Also, this is one of the most diverse regions in the area, where you’ll be able to see alligators basking in the shallow marshes, and numerous birds (to which we’ll get quickly).
Take a guided tour – it’s safe and educational
Getting up-close and personal to the wildlife of the Glades takes some courage, absolutely. By far the safest and most exciting way to explore is to book the local Everglades Tours that will give you first-hand access to the wildlife and the jungle while keeping you at a safe distance, too.
In an airboat, you’ll get close to alligators in the swamps, view the birds on the lake shores, and you’ll be able to cruise through some of the less accessible areas in the Glades. Every guide will be able to tell you more about the local ecosystems and the wildlife, helping you understand what makes the Glades so authentic and untamed.
Take a day trip in a canoe or a kayak
Renting a kayak is one of the most exciting day trips you can take during your stay in the Everglades. With many properly marked kayaking trails, you should make sure to follow the signs and not wander off into the unknown – keep in mind that you’re in alligator land.
However, so much of the area in this national park is only accessible by water, which means that you can kayak your way to some of the most scenic little nooks and beaches that you’d otherwise miss. Explore the stunning mangrove forests as well as the open wetlands and you’ll be amazed by this meditative, mind-blowing experience.
A paradise for bird-watching
Aside from the incredible cypress trees, the many marshland animals like gators, snakes, and fish, you’ll also find the Glades is home to an impressive number of birds. You’ll find the majestic Bald Eagle hunting fish nearby large marsh areas and lakes.
You can also get some tips from the locals on where you can spot the beautiful American Flamingoes, boasting their lovely pink plumage, and the Roseate Spoonbill, the Great Blue Heron, and the goofy-looking Reddish Egret. This is one of the dreamiest places for bird-watchers, and even those who aren’t keen on the hobby initially tend to fall in love with it while in the Glades.
The ‘Glades is known for its peaceful, but sometimes intimidating beauty. Its wild spirit will certainly help you reconnect with Mother Nature and appreciate the time spent away from the urban jungle. Make sure to go prepared and learn as much as possible about any ongoing restrictions, so that you avoid unpleasant surprises and make the most of your time there!