Take an Alternative Miami Holiday

Think of Miami and it is likely that pictures of sun-kissed golden sand, crystal blue waves, surfers and bikini-clad ladies come to the fore. Or maybe for TV addicts, it’ll be images of Crockett and Tubbs, or Horation Caine. But the backdrop will remain constant – sun, sand and beaches.

However, for tourists looking for an alternative to the beach, surfer dudes and constant sunshine, the Everglades National Park can provide welcome relief. .

The Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual in the United States and is situated on the southern-most tip of Florida. Covering more than 1.5 million acres, comprising of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles, it is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. The Everglades is also the only place on earth where crocodiles and alligators exist side-by-side.

The park will call out to tourists’ adventurous side, and the bolder tourists will enjoy ample opportunity to walk, camp and canoe through the park’s fields and waterways rather than spending their holidays in basking on the beaches of the city.

Wilderness Waterway is a popular tourist excursion but not one to be taken lightly; a 100 mile marked route which wends its way along creeks, rivers and bays from the Gulf of Mexico to Flamingo on Florida Bay. Campsites are scattered throughout the trail, many of them land-based while others involve raised pontoons still in the water. An exhilarating experience, it will appeal to experienced canoeists, but novices are likely to find the demands great.

For an easier time, jump on board an airboat and traverse around the park’s outskirts or join one of the boat tours which allow access to parts of the park that are inaccessible by land. Take your camera for the chance to snap alligators, leatherback turtles, manatees, hawks and snakes in their natural habitat.

If you want to keep your feet firmly on dry land, then a tram tour from the Shark Valley Visitor Centre offers a two-hour narrated tram tour along a 15 mile loop of the -River of Grass’ and provide an opportunity to see native wildlife while avoiding the heat and bugs that may otherwise interfere out on the lakes.

There are many more tours, trails and excursions available throughout the massive expanse of the national park, so it is always wise to consult the park rangers at any of the four visitor centres found throughout the park, who will be able to advise on the best trails for the particular season you visit.

When you’re done exploring, settle down to a snack and a beer in Everglades City, where there are some excellent seafood restaurants serving local fare – and also fried alligator, adding another twist to your alternative holiday in Miami.

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