We made our first visit to Everglades National Park this June with a brief stop over there on our way between Orlando and Key West. Since we were only planning to be in the Miami area for a few hours, we decided to forego nearby Biscayne Bay and concentrate on seeing as much of the Everglades as we could in our limited time frame. We got in the area around 11 AM and were out of the park by 5:30 PM, so it was a true whirlwind visit for a park as large as Everglades.
After doing a lot of research, we decided that we couldn’t pass up the Shark Valley tram tour. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is located near the northern boundary of the Everglades and is about an hour by car away from the southern entrance. The guided tour turned out to be a great choice as we saw a great variety of birds and several alligators.
We stopped at Robert is Here near the southern entrance to the national park. As my name is the same as the owners, it was appropriate to get a few pictures there. We also thought some of their delicious milkshakes were necessary to help beat the heat. We ended up getting a Strawberry Banana and one of their special concoctions with mango, key lime and coconut.
After consuming the shakes, we proceeded to the Anhinga Trail. This is one of the best places to photograph birds and alligators in the park. The anhingas hid from us, but we did manage to get some great photos of an alligator along the boardwalk.
After leaving Anhinga, we saw some smoke from a prescribed fire that the park service was conducting that day. The prescribed burns help manage exotic vegetation, reduce hazardous fuels, and prevent large uncontrolled wildfires. It didn’t impact our plans at all, but it did mean that a small area of the park was closed to visitors. There were rangers patrolling the road area – no doubt to stop cars if the fire somehow approached the road.
The Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook was our final stop in the park. It was an easy and short walk up the boardwalk to the overlook platform. We really enjoyed watching the birds in the distance. You can see some more of our pictures of the Pa-Hay-Okee trail using the link below.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we got down to Flamingo. We will just have to come back in the winter (the busy season) when it is fully operational.