The Florida Everglades Are America's Largest Subtropical Wilderness
Everglades National Park is a wetlands preserve set on 1.5 million acres of South Florida wilderness. The enormity of the park's ecology is stunning. It's the country's largest subtropical wilderness, and it's recognized globally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also noted as an International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance. Ready to plan a visit?
According to the National Parks Service, "Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species." The area is filled with natural wonders of fauna—manatees, leatherback turtles, Florida panthers, alligators, and crocodiles are among the hundreds of animal species present in the park. In fact, it's the only place on earth where American alligators and American crocodiles coexist.
The Everglades are also home to diverse flora, including habitats of coastal mangroves, marshes, and flatwoods. Areas such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (one of the largest stands of old-growth cypresses on earth), Big Cypress National Preserve (alligator central), and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (a park on Florida's western coast that's home to panthers and black bears) ensure that no matter how many times you visit, there's always something new to find in the Everglades.
If you're in the area, you can see the sights by hopping aboard a Shark Valley Tram Tour, which offers two-hour-long guided journeys through the park. Find a list of the tram tour's recent wildlife sightings here. Or, if you're feeling especially adventurous, you can explore the area via the water on a boat tour with Flamingo Adventures.
To get a peek of life in the Everglades without leaving home, tune into the park's Anhinga Trail webcam, which is set along a sawgrass marsh and, depending on the time of day, may reveal glimpses of alligators and turtles as well as anhingas and other coastal birds. For an introduction to the park, you can also watch a Discovery Channel documentary called River of Life here.
Find more information and plan your trip to the Everglades at nps.gov.
For an unforgettable experience, set your sights on one of the South's natural wonders. Where do you hope to explore next?