Fun in the Everglades: Hikes, Paddling and Airboat Rides

Tourists Riding An Airboat In The EvergladesWhat’s the best way to see the Everglades? There are several options, and each offers a very different experience. Foot soldiers will enjoy the intricate trail systems spread across the Everglades ecosystem. And for water lovers, the adventures are endless. For a workout, pursue a paddle trail. Or for a more relaxed experience, hop on an airboat. Here’s the low down on each Everglades recreational activity.



If you don’t want to get in the water with the gators, stick to the sidelines. Hiking is a peaceful, slow-pace way to explore the inner workings of the Everglades. Trekking through the wilderness gives you an opportunity to see Florida flora up close and personal. Here are few favored trails and what you might see should you choose to embark on them:

  • Anhinga – This is one of the most hiked trails in Everglades National Park due to its close proximity to the entrance and its short distance. Less than a mile long, the hike showcases lots of Everglades wildlife, including the “King of the Everglades,” otherwise known as the American alligator. The Anhinga Trail is rated easy for all ages.
  • Bayshore Loop – At 1.3 miles, this scenic hike winds along the Florida Bay, exposing gorgeous panoramic views. Rated easy to moderate, the trail suits most hikers. Be sure to stop and admire the many shorebirds that come to feast during low tide.
  • Old Ingraham Highway – The seasoned hiker will relish this moderate to extreme 22-mile trail. Originally used as a highway circa 1922, the crumbling road now serves hikers and backpackers alike. This is not only one of the longest trails in Everglades National Park, but it is also one of the only to host backcountry campsites.
  • Otter Cave Hammock – For a short but rewarding hike, opt for the Otter Cave Trail. Only a mile long, the trail promises scenic pools, glimpses at solution holes and opportunities to see wildlife. This trail is often flooded, so be sure to assess the conditions because setting out.

Paddle Trips

Backcountry campers will love the wide variety of campsites sprinkled about Everglades water trails. Take your kayak, canoe or paddleboard and set off on an adventure like none other. Trails vary from day trips to multi-day endeavors, and you’re guaranteed to see remote areas of the Everglades no matter what. Some sought-after Everglades water trails include:

  • Nine Mile Pond
  • Hell’s Bay
  • Turner River

Airboat Tours

Perhaps the most popular way to see the Everglades is by airboat. While all other Everglades modes of exploration require physical exertion, airboat rides allow you to sit back and enjoy the scenery. This family fun option exposes passengers to a wealth of wilderness. Though it’s not guaranteed, plenty of folks leave their airboat tour having seen a gator or two (from a safe distance of course). Airboats successfully jet through the shallow areas of the Everglades due to their airplane-like propellers. Any ordinary boat could not cruise through the marsh like an airboat can, making it a truly unique experience. To schedule your private airboat ride, call Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377.

Save Money with Everglades Camping

Everglades campingAre you planning a vacation to the Everglades, but you don’t want to break the bank? Camping is a fantastic alternative to staying in a hotel, especially when it comes to experiencing the vast wilderness of the Everglades.

From endangered wildlife to rare plant species, Everglades camping immerses you in nature you can’t find anywhere else in the world – all while saving you money. But before you book your campsite, it’s important to understand which campground fits your unique needs. Here’s what you need to know about Everglades camping:

Frontcountry vs. Backcountry

Backcountry camping presents ultimate adventure. This style requires campers to trek or paddle to their campsite while carrying all the necessary gear. While the backcountry will expose you to untouched and lesser-known sections of the Everglades, it’s not everyone’s adventure. Frontcountry camping suits those who aren’t physically able or aren’t mentally prepared to venture deep into Everglades wilderness. With frontcountry camping, you can drive up to your camp site, so all of your food and equipment is handy.

Now that you know about the two different Everglades camping styles, it’s time to learn exactly which campground is right for you.

Everglades Frontcountry Camping

The Everglades has two popular frontcountry campgrounds: Long Pine Key and Flamingo. Sites at each campground range from $15-30 per night.

Long Pine Key, a bit more rustic than Flamingo, features restrooms, water, a dump station, a nearby picnic area but no RV hookups. This campground sits just 11 miles from the entrance to Everglades National Park. All 108 sites are available on a first come first serve basis.

Flamingo, located at the southernmost point of Florida, hosts 234 drive-in sites, 40 walk up sites and 65 RV sites. The campground is fully equipped with showers and a picnic area with grills. With easy access to hiking and canoe trails, campers enjoy plentiful day trips.

Everglades Backcountry Camping

With nearly 50 backcountry campsites in Everglades National Park, backpackers are sure to find the solitude they seek. Backcountry campers can choose from either paddling or hiking to their sites, which come in three varieties: ground sites, beach sites or “chickees,” platform sites found amid boundless water.

Backpackers must obtain permits 24 hours prior to setting out into the backcountry. Permits cost $15 along with camping fees of $2 per person per day. Summer travelers benefit from waived permit fees during Florida’s warmest months. Obtain your permit from the Flamingo Visitor Center or the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

See the Everglades by Airboat

Everglades camping puts you up close and personal with unique plant and wildlife. Plus, it’s affordable. Because camping is so inexpensive, you can put money you’d ordinarily spend on a hotel toward more Everglades activities. An airboat tour is one Everglades activity you can’t miss. Click here or call Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat tours at 239-695-3377 to book your Everglades airboat adventure today.