Now that you have rented your car from Miami discount car rentals, you might want to drive outside of Greater Miami and see some of Florida’s less populated points of interest. What beckons to an adventurous traveler more than alligators and the famous Florida Everglades?
You can stop and visit the observation tower in the middle of the loop for an amazing view of this teeming swampland. Shark Valley also offers a variety of fun and interesting road side stops.
There is a tram tour which departs from the Shark Valley Visitor Center which ventures deep into the park. The Miccosukee Indian Village also offers an alligator farm and swamp boat rides for the adventurous.
Not only is Alligator Alley the fastest route through the Everglades, it also offers amazing views of the ecosystem and offers several nice stops along the route. Among these stops is the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. Fakahatchee is home to the native Royal Palm and a wide variety of other unique plant life.
You stay out of the wet via a system of wooden boardwalks making the viewing clean and pleasurable. Please remember to stay on the boardwalks.
You can get on highway 41 at the south end of Miami and you will reach the northern end of the Everglades (and the start of Shark Valley) in about an hour. Highway 41 is a pre-turnpike, two lane road which offers a variety of interesting sites and stops.
Shark Valley (mentioned above) is the first point of interest. About 10 miles after Shark Valley, you will come to Big Cypress National Preserve. The vast stretches of green pine and cypress trees make for impressive site-seeing.
Big Cypress Swamp is a shallow wetland basin which is home to hundreds of different species of animals including the Florida Panther. If you are an adventurous eater, The Swamp Water Café on the Big Cypress Reservation offers alligator tail nuggets, catfish filets, and frog legs among other things.
If you take the Tamiami Trail to the end, you will pass through the town of Ochopee and eventually reach the gulf coast and it’s Gulf Coast Visitor Center.
Head southeast out of Florida City on S.R. 9336 to find the southern entrance to the Everglades National Park.
This route will bring you directly to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
The trip from Miami to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center should take you about an hour and a half. At the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center you can get all kinds of information here about tours, boat rentals, wildlife and the trail systems. Four miles beyond the EFC Visitor Center, you will find the Royal Palm Visitor Center.
This is the starting point for several popular trail systems including the Gumbo Limbo and Anhinga trails. An amazing variety of plants and wildlife can be seen from these trail systems. Thirteen miles to the west of the Ernest F. Coe Visitor center along S.R. 9336, you will find the Pa-hay-okee Overlook Trail.
Here, visitors frequently venture across the wooden boardwalk system to reach the observation tower which provides amazing scenic views and frequent sightings of vultures and hawks.