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Old 05-23-2023, 07:47 PM   #1
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Everglades

We are going to Key West in March 2024 and would like to visit Everglades National Park on our way. Any suggestions about where to stay, things to do etc?
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Old 05-23-2023, 07:53 PM   #2
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I don't know your individual circumstances, but when we hit the Everglades, we had three young kids (8-12) and we liked long hikes. Our best time was had when we climbed the Shark Valley Tower (great views) and then did a lot of walking on the trails surrounding it. Lots of wildlife. Small pets discouraged.


(If walking is not desired, they also have (at least they used to have) a tram that goes along the same trails.)
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Old 05-23-2023, 08:34 PM   #3
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Agree, Shark valley is a great visit with kids, and the tram is running, but you need reservations. It's not on the way to the Keys, unless your crossing from the Naples area.

The Miami side entrance gets you to Flamingo, like 36 miles into the park. They have camping, Kayaking and boat rentals.

They only sell multi day passes, no one day, so be prepared to pay for that, unless you have a Federal pass of some sort.
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Old 05-24-2023, 08:47 AM   #4
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Anyone going that brings a boat, even a kayak if I remember needs to take the Everglades (special from other state boating certs) Safe Boating Course.

I believe it's online and is linked to the main park page or try Googling it.

Pretty basic boating stuff but it has some environmental questions that aren't evident to a lot of experienced boaters including me, so read the little study guide.... I think I read it quick and took the test.... easy peezy.
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Old 05-24-2023, 10:21 AM   #5
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Has anyone been to the visitor center near Homestead? Seems like it might be worth going out of the way to do shark tower. Can you do airboat tours at either one? Not really clear to me from the national park info?
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Old 05-24-2023, 10:35 AM   #6
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Most of the air boat rides are along RT 41, just outside of the actual park.

The Visitor Center near Homestead is OK but not near water. There are signs for air boats along the road to it.

The Shark Valley tower is a different entrance between Miami and Naples. We have been there twice, once on the Tram and once on our bikes. It's a 15 mile loop, we did 5 and turned around.

Closer to Naples is RT 29 to Everglades City. A few air boat tours and a National Park service tour boat of the local waters.
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Old 05-24-2023, 01:08 PM   #7
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Just for context - when we went to the Keys, we had a condo in Bonita Springs - west coast above Naples - and took a two-day driving jaunt down and across 41 to Highway 1 and then down to Key West. That whole east-west part of the drive across the everglades was fun - that was when we stopped for several hours at Shark Valley. We stopped many places - fished in some canals, watched gators, etc - the Homestead area was the only boring part of the drive - once we hit Key Largo it was all cool again. The bridges across the Keys were awesome. Key West itself was sort of a letdown - but this was a family/kids trip, and Key West is more of an adult playground.
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:32 AM   #8
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We went to the keys last January. Drove straight from Titusville. When we left for Ft. Myers I Drove thru the Everglades as fast as I could. There’s nothing there. I rather spend an extra 2-3 days in Ft Myers. Lots of good restaurants and things to do.
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Old 05-26-2023, 07:19 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the info! We are in the planning stages except already booked for Key West
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Old 05-26-2023, 07:43 AM   #10
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Can't help with visiting information but I will share this.

We took a day trip to the Everglades many years back, don't remember what month. Our big mistake was not bringing kevlar reinforced mosquito netting. We were swarmed and almost carried away.

Maybe a fluke, maybe we just hit it at the worst month, I don't know. One thing is for sure though, we'll have a couple of gallons of bug spray with us if we ever go back.
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Old 05-27-2023, 06:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by EdJodi View Post
We are going to Key West in March 2024 and would like to visit Everglades National Park on our way. Any suggestions about where to stay, things to do etc?
As others mentioned, Shark Valley is a good place to visit. I also recommend driving Loop Road in your toad. Jane's Scenic Drive is also interesting. If you are on the western side of the glades, just outside of Collier- Seminole Sate Park is Corey Billie's airboat rides. He's a native and offers and interesting trip. Collier-Seminole state park is also a good place to camp. Billie Corrie. Fairly close to Corey's place is Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park with the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. It's an easy and interesting walk thru the woodlands.... as a note, it was still closed earlier this week for repairs... but since you are not going till next year, you should be OK. las
If you are on the eastern side, Miami-Everglades RV park ( used to be a KOA, now an Encore ) is an OK place to camp. On that side is The Flamingo entrance to the park and on the way in, I'd recommend stopping at Everglades Alligator Farm... they have a cool tour and includes an airboat ride. You'll also see a stand called Robert is Here.... sells fresh fruit milkshakes and does a great business.
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Old 05-27-2023, 12:51 PM   #12
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Fairly close to Corey's place is Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park with the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. It's an easy and interesting walk thru the woodlands.
Aha! Thanks! I could never remember the name of that place. It was, indeed, a great walk with the kids.
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Old 05-30-2023, 06:29 PM   #13
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I think we will be on the east side . I may try to see if I can plot a route with minimum exposure to I 95. We are in NC and have not had good experiences on 95 to go to savanna,Orlando ,Jacksonville etc. went to Miami 30 years ago and the whole east coast was already grown up! Canít imagine it now.
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Old 05-31-2023, 05:07 AM   #14
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I think we will be on the east side . I may try to see if I can plot a route with minimum exposure to I 95. We are in NC and have not had good experiences on 95 to go to savanna,Orlando ,Jacksonville etc. went to Miami 30 years ago and the whole east coast was already grown up! Canít imagine it now.
I have been traveling I-95 from NC to FL several times a year for the last 4 years and found I-95 between Savannah, Ga and Port St Lucie Florida to be still pretty good traveling. I do take the 295 loop around Jacksonville (east side).

The roadway isn't bad, nor is the traffic off peak times.

From Stuart, Fl south it is usually crowded and flat out dangerous in my opinion....
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