BOYNTON BEACH — About 260 species of birds and waterfowl find their way here throughout the year, and you can find them by hiking, biking or paddling the canoe trail.
Loop Road is famous for being a wild place. (That once applied to the people as well as the animals.) It’s a gravel road off the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s a rewarding place to explore.
The festival offers tradition — fry bread and alligator wrestling — but also celebrates the diversity of native cultures. Entertainers include a well-known hoop dancer.
Whereas the waterways along the paved path in Shark Valley normally teem with wildlife in winter, this year gators and birds are harder to spot. You’ll see some — just not in abundance. It’s all a result of a very wet January and the South Florida Water Management District sending a flow of water through Shark Valley for the first time in decades.
This entrance to Everglades National Park has one trail, but it’s so special that Shark Valley is hard to top. It’s an especially great place to bicycle.
Halfway Creek is a well-marked kayak trail just off the Tamiami Trail. It’s good for short or long paddles, taking you to a wild green world thick with airplants.
Our Everglades National Park paddle on the Coot Bay/Mud Lake trail offered two hours of gorgeous scenery through magical mangrove tunnels. It also required about two hours of hard paddling against the wind.
EVERGLADES CITY — Whitewater paddling in the Everglades? Well, almost. The tides move in and out of the Ten Thousand Islands so quickly, the water rushes and ripples through the passes, so you need to catch the current going in the right direction if you want to make headway.
Everglades National Park is testing a new structure called an eco-tent. It’s a prototype of lodging that could be coming to Flamingo. Right now, you can rent the eco-tent and be part of the experiment.
EVERGLADES CITY — One of my favorite Florida getaways is to boat out to the outer islands and camp for a weekend on a remote, pristine beach fronting the Gulf of Mexico.
The wildlife experts who monitor Florida Panthers try to keep a clinical tone in discussing them. They don’t name them, referring to them instead by number — K322, for example, was a kitten born this spring. But their field notes can’t mask the deep feelings stirred by working with these endangered animals, and K322 is a panther kitten they will remember.
A canoe or kayak trail at Everglades National Park is a perfect way to surround yourself with the sights, sounds and creatures of the Everglades. On our recent trip, a 15-foot crocodile smiled as we paddled by.