Heading down from Florida’s Gulf Coast, we found a perfect spot south of Miami and 30 minutes from both the Shark Valley Visitor Center at the Everglades and Biscayne National Park. Here’s a video of our experience. Camping, tour and written experience below.
Camping: although you can camp in the Everglades, we opted out due to all the stories of Burmese Pythons and thoughts of Alligators invading our camper! We parked our 5th Wheel at the Miami Everglades Thousand Trails / Encore Park for $20 per night with our Thousand Trails Membership.
Everglades Tour: this is one of the few times we decided to book a tour instead of hiking. We’re glad we did since the tour tram goes along the same narrow path as the bikes and hikers, pushing them extremely close to the edge where they could turn into a Happy Meal for one of the several gators we passed.
Tours book-up fast and you should plan to schedule your tour a few days ahead of time during the summer. They depart every hour from the Shark Valley Visitor Center. You can make a reservations online (links at end of post). When you plan your visit, be sure to add time in case you need to walk from the main state road to the visitor center. Parking is extremely limited at the visitor center and we had to walk it in. It was fun though, since we spotted our first Alligator on that walk in!
The tour guide and driver were very friendly and full of information. They spoke about the history of the Everglades being donate as land from the Oil and Gas Industry, but also about the current issue with Exotic Animals being left there and the impact on the ecology. About half way through, you make it to the only viewing tower in the entire national park. You can see so much wildlife from there.
In all, the kids gave the experience an thumbs up. Definitely worth a day trip or 1/2 day.