Just about an hour’s drive from the bustle of Miami you will find one of America’s most unusual national parks covering more than one and a half million acres of southern Florida. The Everglades National Park is one of the most diverse ecosystems to be found anywhere in the world and is simple a wonderland for wildlife.
Great Blue Herons, American Egrets and White Pelicans are a common sight in the park as of course are alligators which find a plentiful supply of food along the edges of the miles of freshwater sloughs.
There are also many hiking trails through the famous mangroves and paths such as Anhinga trail allow hikers to get a close-up view of one of the freshwater sloughs. Although this particular trail is only about a half mile long through the saw grass it is a wonderful walk and you find not simply alligators but also turtles and many other species along the way.
One unique feature of the park is to be found in the fact that both alligators and crocodiles, which are often mistaken for one another, co-habit in reasonable peace and perhaps surprisingly this is the only place on Earth where this happens.
Although many people believe that the Everglades National Park is entirely composed of marsh and swampland this is not in fact the case and it also includes an area called Pine Forest which is the higher areas of the park and consists of species such as slash pine, palmetto and others.
On of the most beautiful areas of the park in to be found close to Mahogany Hammock where a short hiking trail offers a wonderful view of trees growing within the saw grass marshes and providing fascinating areas of dappled shade and a close-up view of royal palms, strangler figs and other hardwood hammocks.
If in addition to day hiking you also enjoy camping then the park provides over 200 campsites and, as long as you abide by the rules as far as speed and wash are concerned, you are even allowed to use a small motorboat in the park. Care needs to be exercised however because the park is also home to a large number of beautiful manatee which the park is eager to keep from being harmed by careless boaters.
Unlike many of America’s national parks one of the best times of year to visit the Everglades is during the winter months when the temperature is pleasantly in the mid 70s and the air is relatively dry. In the summer by contrast the temperature can hover uncomfortably in the 90s with the humidity way up towards 90%.