mangroves, rivers teeming with alligators and swamps infested with
mosquitoes — that's the image most people
have of the Everglades.
But this fascinating wilderness area, an hour’s drive from the metropolis of Miami, has more to offer than bugs and 'gators.
Everglades National Park, the third largest park in the contiguous 48 states, encompasses several different environments – from sawgrass prairies, hardwood hammocks and pinelands in the interior, to mangrove swamps and estuarine environments along the coast. Together, they form a unique, complex and fragile ecosystem. While the inland waterways are popular among canoeists and weekend fishing parties in motorboats, the coast offers a great touring ground for sea-kayakers.
Here you can paddle through warm waters, camp on kilometre-long sandy beaches or on small islands called Keys, observe a variety of birds such as pelicans, cormorants, herons, spoonbills and ibises, enjoy the play of dolphins, fish for snapper, and, if you’re lucky, spot the gentle manatee. And if waves and winds should turn rough, you can head inland into the green protected mangrove labyrinth by following one of the many rivers, or, by waiting out the storm in a sheltered creek.