Everglades

In the winter, visitors have no trouble seeing dozens   of alligators up close. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Shark Valley: South Florida’s best bike trail is an Everglades adventure

Everglades National Park is vast and there are many deep-into-the-wild places to explore. But one of my favorite Everglades experiences is Shark Valley off the Tamiami Trail west of Miami. The 15-mile loop path is the best traffic-free scenic bicycle trail in South Florida.

The view from the water (Photo by Constance Mier)

Smallwood Store in Chokoloskee: Everglades icon still owned by original family

Smallwood Store is an exceptional slice of Florida history at an end-of-the-road site overlooking Chokoloskee Bay near Everglades City.

Several ponds near Flamingo are good places to spot roseate spoonbill. This was photographed by Adam Fagen at Edo-Pond.

Visitor tips for exploring Everglades National Park

If you have one day or its your first visit to the Everglades, this guide will help you see wildlife and experience the essence of Everglades National Park. We offer tips, too, for more in-depth Everglades experiences.

Robert Is Here bursts with flowers, fruits, colors and fun.

Robert Is Here: Get a key lime milk shake on your way to Everglades

HOMESTEAD — Robert Is Here, just outside Everglades National Park, is a must-stop for my family on the basis of its Key Lime milkshakes alone. But we also love the menangerie out back, the exotic tropical fruits there for the tasting and the overall ambiance.

Anhinga

Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge: Window to the Everglades

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: Storied road through Everglades is full of wildlife

Loop Road: Storied road through Everglades is full of wildlife

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.

Bicyclists ride through water at The Shark Valley section of Everglades National Park. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Everglades Shark Valley 2016: Lots of water, much less wildlife

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.

At Shark Valley in early January, this pair were so close, you had to walk to the other side of the paved path to avoid crowding them. (Never crowd a Mama Gator!) There were six oher young gators in the grass around Big Mama.

Shark Valley at Everglades National Park: Great bike trail; terrific wildlife

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.

Everglades kayak trail: Halfway Creek off Tamiami Trail is all about the plants

Everglades kayak trail: Halfway Creek off Tamiami Trail is all about the plants

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.