TRIP TO THE EVERGLADES.
Would you like to see something different than theme parks?
Then why not try a part of "The Other Florida" - the
fascinating Everglades. This is well worth a visit to get
away from the Kissimmee/Orlando area for two, or preferably
three days. You cannot appreciate its wonder in a day trip.
Covering the entire Monroe County and a large slice of Miami
Dade County it is situated in the far south-western corner
of Florida. The two main visitor centers are at Everglades
City/Chokoloskee at the northern approach and Flamingo City
at the southern (Miami) approach. Having used both centers
our preference is the Everglades City one. From our home on
the Ronald Reagan Parkway (CR54) we headed, after breakfast,
for Tampa via the I-4 then joined the I-75 heading for Fort
Myers and Naples which we reached in approx. 4 hours
non-stop driving of 190 miles. You have several options at
this stage. Book into a hotel and explore Naples or Fort
Myers - we prefer Naples - or carry on to the select Marco
Island via the US951 junction at the Golden Gate. Marco
Island is a popular place for snowbirds and retired American
citizens and rather on the expensive side. There are only
two hotels here, the Hilton and the Radisson, both quite
large and both on the beach. It is approx. 30 miles from
Marco to Everglades City along the Tamiani Trail.
of mother Earth's most unique eco-systems, the 1.5 million
acres of wetlands are home to marsh rabbits, ancient
mahogany trees and of course alligators of all sizes as well
as the home of over 1,000 plant species, 300 species of
birds and 125 species of fish. We went on an airboat from
Captain Doug's and an experienced guide gave us an
interesting commentary about the whole eco-system. In the
afternoon a boat tour was on the agenda taking us through
some of the Thousand Islands seeing manatees and then
dolphins following the boat and leaping above the wash
(waves) made by the boat at the stern end. For those
interested, much can be learned of some Florida history, i.e.
some of the islands are made of shells, laboriously carted
there by the Calusa Indians to act as lookout posts to warn
of approaching Spanish invaders. Everglades City, although
rather small, has the City Motel and the Ivey House B&B.
Located in the center is the Old Laundry, home of the
Everglades Museum which is open Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 4
p.m. The most important thing to take is insect repellent -
mosquitoes are in abundance at certain times of the year.
Whilst in the area why not visit one of the six Seminole
tribe Reservations - the Big Cypress Reservation? Ochopee,
in the center, is home to America's smallest post office -
8ft. 4 inches x 7ft. 3 inches x 10ft. 6 inches. Buggy Tours
are also available in the center at the Billie Swamp Safari
Wildlife Park. Many concessions have been made by the USA
Government, particularly taxes, and in the main the
Seminoles are in charge of their own destiny.
This was a really interesting and educational trip which
gave us an insight and understanding of the Everglades
importance to life. Further information can be obtained by
By Mike & Kath Trevena