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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our Top 4 Activities at the Everglades and Camping Advice

The Everglades were spectacular!  Really enjoyed the natural beauty and wildlife.

Our favorite activities in no particular order were:

1) Do a canoe tour with a park ranger.  It is 2-1/2 hours and leaves early in the morning at 8am from the 9 Mile Pond (hey we're retirees).  Paddling through the back waters and seeing the Everglades and its wildlife up close while a ranger explains things is a wonderful experience. Reservations are required; we were on the wait list and made it.

2) Walk the Anhinga TrailThe trail winds through a sawgrass marsh where we saw alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets, and many other birds. This is one of the most popular trails in the park because of its abundance of wildlife and how you can immerse yourself in it.

3) Bike the park.  The best biking trails are at Shark Valley, the Snake Bight Trail near Flamingo, and along the Long Pine Key Nature Trail.  Shark Valley at dusk is spectacular.  The observation tower provides a majestic view of the Everglades.  Biking the Long Pine Key with a ranger is lots of fun as you learn more about the ecosystems of the parks.

4) The Nike Missile Tour (JUST DO IT.) At the visitors center ask who they recommend for the tour guide.  If you can get the retired Marine - he is knowledgeable, passionate and has many great stories of the young men that served at this base (many who served there have returned and shared their stories).  He really makes this a memorable tour!

Camping Advice:  We camped at Flamingo which is about 40 miles from the park entrance.  The mosquitoes were FEROCIOUS at dawn and dusk.  We bought head nets to wear that helped.  We tent camped and had a screen tent - that was a God send.  We also used DEET based repellants and Thermacell's to protect ourselves and the tents.  Even with all of that - we were bit.  There is a camping area in Flamingo that is wide open (no trees) that we wish we had camped in.  We believe the open areas and breezes would help to keep the mosquitoes down.

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