The Best Everglades National Park One Day Itinerary + Tips For Visiting (2024)

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Want to know the best Everglades National Park one day itinerary and some tips for visiting? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

The best Everglades National Park one day itinerary would not be complete without an airboat tour through the park.

This itinerary shares the best airboat ride you can take through the park, plus the best walking trails and boardwalks where you can view the wildlife and sunsets.

In this blog post, we’ll outline a concise one-day itinerary for Everglades National Park, focusing on the key highlights and activities that can be comfortably experienced within a single day.

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The Best Everglades National Park One Day Itinerary

Whether you’re a time-pressed traveler or simply looking for a quick adventure, this itinerary will guide you through the park’s must-see attractions and provide a memorable snapshot of the unique Everglades ecosystem.

You can see our full experience in the Everglades in this video on our YouTube Channel!

The second half of the video highlights Everglades National Park!

? Coopertown: The Original Air Boat Tour

Location: 22700 Southwest 8th Street Miami, FL 33194

The best way to start off your Everglades National Park one day itinerary is with an airboat ride.

Coopertown has been rated the #1 air boat tour company for over 75 years!

My grandparents took me here when I was younger, so I took JP here too on his first trip.

Coopertown The Original Air Boat Tour - best in Florida since 1945

The airboat takes you on about a 9 mile trip through the Everglades.

You can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including alligators.

Coopertown air boat

It can be pretty loud on the boat, so they’ll give you cotton balls to plug your ears, but you can also bring your own ear plugs if that works better for you!

view of the water on the airboat tour

The tour lasts for about 40 minutes, plus an additional 20 minute educational presentation before or after your tour.

During that time you’ll see more alligators and can even get your photo with the smaller ones.

photo with a gator at Coopertown air boat tours

You can buy tickets online in advance or when you arrive.

Tickets for adults are $24 and tickets for kids ages 6-11 are $10.

There’s also a $5 National Park entrance fee, but if you have a National Park Pass that fee is waived.

Everglades National Park airboat tour

? Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

Location: 40001 State Road 9336 Homestead, FL 33034

The main entrance to Everglades National Park is at the above address and visitor center.

You’ll want to go here to get any souvenirs from your visit and to get park maps.

There should also be Park Rangers here where you can ask any questions you might have.

? Royal Palm Visitor Center

The Royal Palm Visitor Center is just a mile down the road from the main visitor center.

It’s where the next several activities are located, so you definitely need to plan to stop here.

In addition to being an information desk, there is also a bookstore here.

? Anhinga Trail

This short 0.8 mile round trip trail is accessible from the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

It’s one of the most popular trails in the park because you can see pretty much every type of wildlife that’s in the park in one small area.

The Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park is a popular and accessible boardwalk trail that offers a close-up view of the park’s diverse wildlife, particularly its namesake, the anhinga bird.

The trail winds through a sawgrass marsh and provides opportunities for birdwatching and alligator sightings.

It’s a short but rewarding walk, making it an excellent choice for visitors with limited time who want to experience the Everglades’ natural beauty and wildlife up close.

? Gumbo Limbo Trail

This short 0.4 mile loop trail is also accessible from the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

It’s on a paved trail that is shaded by the local Gumbo Limbo trees and Royal Palm trees.

The Gumbo Limbo Trail in Everglades National Park is a serene and informative nature trail that meanders through a hardwood hammock ecosystem.

Visitors can explore the lush tropical hammock and learn about the unique plant and animal life in this environment through informative signage along the trail.

The Gumbo Limbo Trail offers a peaceful and shaded walk, making it an ideal escape from the Florida sun and a place to appreciate the park’s biodiversity in a more secluded setting.

? Pinelands Trail

About 6 miles up the road is the Pinelands Trailhead.

This is a short 0.4 mile round trip trail that leads you through pine trees, palmettos, and wildflowers.

There’s an information kiosk at this trailhead as well.

The Pinelands Trail in Everglades National Park offers visitors an opportunity to explore the park’s pine rockland ecosystem.

This short and well-maintained trail provides a glimpse into the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this unique habitat.

While it’s one of the shorter trails in the park, the Pinelands Trail offers a concentrated experience of the Everglades’ ecological diversity, making it a worthwhile stop for nature enthusiasts and those looking to understand the park’s distinct ecosystems.

? Pa-hay-Okee Overlook

Another 7 miles down the road is the Pa-hay-Okee Overlook.

The trail to the overlook is only 0.16 miles round trip.

It’s a raised boardwalk trail that leads to an overlook where you get 360 degree views of Everglades National Park.

The Pa-hay-Okee Overlook in Everglades National Park offers visitors a stunning panoramic view of the “River of Grass” landscape, showcasing the vast expanse of sawgrass prairie and unique wetlands that define the Everglades.

This elevated boardwalk and viewing platform provides an excellent opportunity for photographers and nature enthusiasts to appreciate the sheer size and beauty of the park’s wetlands.

It’s a quick and accessible stop that allows visitors to grasp the enormity and significance of this iconic natural habitat within the Everglades National Park.

? Mahogany Hammock Trail

Another 10 miles down the main park road is the Mahogany Hammock Trail.

This is another boardwalk trail that is only 0.5 miles round trip.

You should plan to end your night here because it’s one of the best stargazing spots in the park.

It’s likely on a clear night you’ll see the International Space Station.

The Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park takes visitors on a short and accessible walk through a beautiful tropical hardwood hammock.

One of the highlights of this trail is the presence of a massive mahogany tree, which is a rare sight in the park.

The boardwalk leads you through a dense canopy of trees, providing shade and a sense of serenity, making it an excellent escape from the Florida sun.

While it’s a relatively brief trail, the Mahogany Hammock Trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the park’s diverse plant life and experience the tranquility of this lush hammock ecosystem.


Where To Stay When Visiting Everglades National Park

Whether you’re looking to get the full experience by camping in the park or you need some more home amenities, there’s plenty of options near Everglades National Park.

✅ Camping In Everglades National Park

There are 2 campgrounds in Everglades National Park.

The Flamingo Campground is at the main entrance, where the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is.

Additionally, Long Pine Key Campground is open from November through May.

There are also some wilderness camping spots that require permits if you’re interested in even more primitive camping.

✅ Hilton Garden Inn Homestead

If you stay at a hotel in Homestead, you’ll be closest to this area at the end of the day, which is so satisfying at the end of a long day.

But if you want to be closer to where you start your day in Coopertown, you’ll want a hotel closer to Miami, but then at the end of the night you’ll be driving 45 minutes to an hour to get back to your hotel.

?? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Hilton Garden Inn Homestead Today!


10 Tips For Visiting Everglades National Park

Visiting Everglades National Park in Florida can be an incredible experience, but it’s important to be prepared and respectful of the environment.

Here are ten tips to help you make the most of your visit:

1. Plan Ahead

Check the park’s website for up-to-date information on hours, closures, and any special alerts or conditions.

Make reservations for campsites or tours in advance, especially during peak seasons.

2. Bring Sun Protection

The Florida sun can be intense, so wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn.

3. Stay Hydrated

Bring plenty of water, especially if you plan on hiking or exploring for an extended period.

Dehydration can happen quickly in the Everglades.

4. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Dress in lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing, suitable for the warm and humid climate.

Long sleeves and pants can help protect against mosquitoes and sunburn.

5. Mosquito Protection

Insect repellent is essential, as mosquitoes can be numerous, especially in the wetter months.

Consider bringing a mosquito net for added protection if you plan on camping.

6. Stay on Designated Trails

Stick to established trails and boardwalks to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems and disturbing wildlife.

Off-trail hiking is discouraged.

7. Wildlife Safety

Observe wildlife from a safe distance and never approach or feed them.

Keep your pets on a leash and away from wildlife to prevent conflicts.

8. Be Mindful of Alligators

Alligators are common in the Everglades.

Keep a safe distance from them and never feed them.

Avoid swimming in areas where alligators are present.

9. Leave No Trace

Practice Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all trash and litter.

Dispose of waste properly and respect the environment.

10. Know The Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations.

Fishing, boating, and camping may have specific rules and permits associated with them.

Bonus Tip

Take your time to appreciate the unique beauty and biodiversity of the Everglades.

Consider taking guided tours to learn more about the park’s ecosystems and history from knowledgeable rangers or naturalists.

Remember that the Everglades is a delicate ecosystem, so responsible and respectful behavior is crucial to preserving its natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.


Best Tours In The Everglades

In addition to the Coopertown Airboat Tour that I highly recommend, there are a handful of other ways to explore the Everglades as part of a tour and here are the best ones.

? Small Group Guided Boating And Walking Tour

These tours will take up to 6 people through the Everglades.

For a portion of this tour, you’ll take a powerboat through the Ten Thousand Islands for an interpretive nature tour.

Throughout your time on the tour, you’ll be on the lookout for manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, bald eagles, and more.

Tours start in the morning or in the afternoon, whichever time works best for you.

?? Click Here To Book Your Small Group Guided Boating And Walking Tour Of The Everglades Today!

? Small Group Guided Boat, Kayak, And Walking Tour

This tour is slightly different in that it also includes a portion for kayaking through the Everglades.

You’ll kayak to Barrier Island Beach and it doesn’t require any previous experience.

The walking tour portion will take you through beaches, dunes, and mangrove swamps.

Don’t worry, these tours are totally safe.

All guides are certified by the US Coast Guard.

?? Click Here To Book Your Small Group Guided Boat, Kayak, And Walking Tour Today!

? Everglades National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

A great way to explore the Everglades, or any National Park is through downloadable self-guided audio driving tour bundles.

We’ve done these all through Maui and in some other spots like Valley Forge and it makes visiting these places so easy.

You download it before you go so that even if you lose cell service or wifi, your tour (and GPS) will still work to guide you through where you need to go.

?? Click Here To Book Your National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour Bundle Today!


Frequently Asked Questions About Everglades National Park

These are the most frequently asked questions we get about visiting Everglades National Park.

✔️ What Are The Everglades Known For?

The Everglades are America’s largest subtropical wilderness in the US.

It’s one of the most widely protected areas in the world.

It’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.

alligator at Coopertown Airboat Tours

✔️ Can You Do The Everglades In One Day?

Yes!

The above itinerary can all be done in one day and it takes you through all the highlights of the park.

While it’s possible to visit Everglades National Park in one day and experience some of its highlights, fully exploring and appreciating its vast and diverse ecosystem would require more time.

Visitors can access popular areas and take short hikes or scenic drives in a day, but to truly immerse oneself in the park’s unique landscapes, wildlife, and activities, it’s recommended to allocate more time, ideally a few days, for a more comprehensive experience.

Everglades National Park

✔️ How Much Time Should I Spend At Everglades National Park?

At a minimum, you can go for an hour, take an airboat ride, and you’ve seen the Everglades.

But if you want to see a few different areas, walk some of the trails, and stop by the visitor center, then you want to plan for at least a half day of about 4-6 hours.

To fully appreciate the Everglades National Park, it is recommended to spend at least 2-3 days exploring the area.

This allows visitors to experience a variety of activities, from wildlife viewing and birdwatching to hiking and boating, and to gain a deeper understanding of this unique ecosystem.

However, even a single day can provide a taste of the Everglades if you have limited time, with opportunities to visit popular spots and enjoy some of its natural beauty.

Everglades National Park airboat tour

✔️ Do You Need A Reservation To Visit Everglades National Park?

No.

To visit Everglades National Park, you don’t need a reservation, but some tours you may need to book in advance if it’s peak travel season.

The park is generally open to the public, and visitors can enter without a reservation.

However, it’s advisable to make reservations for specific activities within the park, such as camping or guided tours, especially during peak seasons, to secure your spot and ensure availability.

Everglades National Park airboat tour

✔️ What Is The Best Time Of Day To Visit Everglades National Park?

It depends on what you want to see and do.

Night time is great for stargazing, but not really anything else.

The earlier morning hours before about 11 am are nice for visiting on hot and humid days because it’s more tolerable earlier in the day.

The best time of day to visit the Everglades is early morning or late afternoon.

During these times, wildlife is often more active, temperatures are milder, and the lighting is favorable for photography and wildlife observation.

Additionally, the midday heat can be intense in the Everglades, making it less comfortable for outdoor activities.

Everglades National Park airboat tour

✔️ What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Everglades?

The best time of year to visit the Everglades is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April.

During this period, the weather is cooler and drier, making outdoor activities more comfortable, and the reduced water levels concentrate wildlife around accessible areas.

It’s an ideal time for birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

However, keep in mind that this is also the park’s peak tourist season, so popular spots may be more crowded.

The wet season, from May to October, brings higher temperatures, humidity, and frequent rainfall, which can limit outdoor activities and create challenging conditions for visitors.


More Fun Places To Visit In Florida

Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US.

There are so many places to go all over Florida that it can be hard to narrow down.

☑️ St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the US.

This historic town is the perfect place for couples to spend a day or weekend getaway.

From romantic carriage rides to haunted cemeteries, there’s something for everybody.

St Augustine carriage ride

☑️ Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center is an experience everyone should have at least once.

It’s on Florida’s Space Coast near Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.

There are outdoor and indoor exhibits, interactive exhibits, and you can even meet real astronauts.

Kennedy Space Center Atlantis Experience

☑️ Florida’s Treasure Coast

Florida’s Treasure Coast is made up of towns like Vero Beach, Port St Lucie, Fort Pierce, and Jensen Beach.

It’s a quieter and less visited area, but equally as exciting to visit.

Florida's Treasure Coast overhead view

☑️ Florida’s A1A Road Trip

Florida’s A1A runs from Miami all the way up to Fernandina Beach.

This road trip route, in either direction, takes you to some of Florida’s best destinations.

Art Deco District in Miami

☑️ Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is just outside of Miami and is almost entirely under water.

A day trip here consists of snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, picnic lunches on an island, and more.

Biscayne National Park

☑️ Key West

Key West is one of my favorite places in the world I’ve ever visited.

There is so much history here, but it’s also so much fun.

Southernmost Point In The Continental USA in Key West

☑️ Disney World

Disney World is a great place to go whether it’s for your first visit or your hundredth visit.

Having grown up visiting Disney World multiple times a year and then later working there for several years in college, I decided to create a list of my favorite hidden gems at Disney World.

These are all things that not every guest gets to experience when they go.

Disney Springs Hot Air Balloon

☑️ The Ultimate One Week Florida Road Trip Itinerary

This post combines everything I’ve listed above, plus this Everglades National Park itinerary into a week long epic road trip through all of Florida.

It’s a must-do road trip.

Florida road trip itinerary map

Conclusion: The Best Everglades National Park One Day Itinerary

The best Everglades National park one day itinerary takes you on the best airboat tour and along all the best (and short) walking trails throughout the park.