National Parks of SE Florida

Our location by Homestead was perfect for exploring Biscayne, Big Cypress and Everglades National Parks.

Biscayne was the closest just 5 miles east and the smallest of the three. It offers a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay and boat rides. Entry is free and there’s a visitors center. We especially liked the boardwalk and trail.

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The park is close to Miami and it draws many of its visitors from there. Through the haze the city of Miami was visible.

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Miami

Big Cypress National Preserve is the farthest away from where we are staying at Goldcoasters in Florida City. We visited the Oasis Visitors Center and walked along the boardwalk to view alligators basking along the canal.

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The last of Florida’s wild panthers can be found here and in the everglades.

The Everglades National Park encompasses 1.5 million acres at the tip of mainland Florida. We found it to be an amazing place to visit. There’s a tram tour at Shark Valley that is 15 miles round trip and takes you among the gators and birds to an observation tower and back.

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One of the highlights was seeing baby alligators.

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Momma and babies. Babies have yellow bands

The beautiful Ernest F Coe Visitors Center is a good place to learn about the park and look at exhibits.

At the Royal Palm area we walked the Anhinga Trail and were rewarded with this view of alligators

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We also saw many birds along the trail

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Anhinga drying its wings

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Purple gallinule

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Heron

One of the unusual offerings in the park is a ranger led tour of the historic Nike missile site that was manned from 1963 to 1979 in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Nuclear missiles were housed here ready to defend the US.

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We also made the 38 mile drive from the Coe Center to the Flamingo Visitor Center in the Everglades located at the southern-most paved road in the continental US. Here we saw the American Crocodile basking at the boat ramp.

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Yes, we were this close

We learned that this is the only place in the WORLD where one can see both alligators and crocodiles. We also saw a few manatee in the boat basin.

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One of 4 manatees in the marina basin

We went on a ranger led car caravan to several other points in the park and saw Wood Storks and the elusive Roseate Spoonbill nesting.

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Wood Stork – wish I had the longer lens

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Roseate Spoonbill in flight

We were definitely impressed with the diversity of wildlife and the beauty of the area.

 

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