It was a no brainer that whilst road tripping Florida we would experience The Everglades and jump on a tram tour! We visited the Shark Valley loop trail and had way more fun than we ever expected.
The Everlades National Park
The Everglades are a huge part of Floridas natural habitat, infact, they make up 1.5 million acres of the state. SO BIG! It’s actually the third largest park, losing only to Death Valley and Yellowstone.
Sadly, it’s now around half of its original size due to construction works and the local wildlife is really seeing the impact of that. Humans could also start to have concerns about too, as millions rely on it for drinking water.
It’s obvious The Everglades are the eco heart of Florida and one that I couldn’t wait to learn more about on a tram tour in Shark Valley.
Where is Shark Valley?
Shark Valley Visitor Centre is on the northern tip of the Everglades border. It’s 39 miles from downtown Miami, so only about an hours drive. Not bad to be submerged in nature!
Exact address is Shark Valley Visitor Center, 36000 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194, United States.
It’s certainly one of the more famous areas of the glades partly down to the fact that it’s so easily accesible. We actually chose to visit for a few hours on our return from Florida Keys to Naples.
(AD) Hotels we stayed in nearby:
MIAMI – James Hotel. Cheap, free parking and close to beach.
MARATHON – Sea Dell Motel. Free parking, comfortable, clean and close to food.
NAPLES – Naples Garden Inn. Breakfast included, hotel pool and lots of free parking.
How much is a tour?
Make sure you book online in advance for your 2 hour tour! Even though they run multiple trips a day, they fill up fast. Tickets are $27 and $14 child.
There is ALSO an entrance fee required to enter Everglades National Park. $30.00 per car. This is then valid for 7 days at any Everglades National Park entrance.
The best place to see gators
It’s actually the only place where crocodiles and alligators coexist. And we saw lots of them lurking in the wetlands. Among tonnes of other wildlife that is.
In fact the Everglades is home to about 150 species of trees, 40 species of mammals, hundreds of colorful birds, and reptiles and amphibians. It’s a unique habitat that you won’t see anywhere else on Earth.
The tour lasts two hours as you are driven around the loop pausing whenever wildlife is spotted. You have one opportunity to leave the tram at the base of the 45 foot tall viewing tower. Here you can climb the ramp to enjoy sweeping views of the glades. And spot more crocs in the waters.
It is by far the best tour I have ever been on. The commentary was utterly fascinating and light hearted. I learned so much about the environment, local wildlife, challenges they face and quirky stories. The guides are so knowledgable and friendly. Trust me, it’s so worth the money!
Whilst you’re on the glades, you might aswell book a totally thrilling ariboat ride! Could you get any more Floridian?
Their staff are completely respectful of the environment and the tours are environmentally friendly in a bid to protect the land, water, plants and animlas.
- Reusing tickets prevented more than 75,000 tickets from being wasted
- Corn and soy-based merchandise bags removed traditional plastics
- Paper products contain a minimum of 40% recycled content
- The trams run on Biodiesel, which is basically a vegetable oil
- They recycle more than 8 tons of materials
- They have a visitor refill station to help eliminate the amount of plastic bottles
The Everglades National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetlands of International Significance by the United Nations.
- Arrive 30 minutes before tour to check in
- Bring water!
- Sit on the left side of the tram for the best view
- Wear long clothing and insect repellent
- Janaury and February are the best months to see gators lounging on the paths!
- There is the option to cycle or walk the flat 15 mile route but it’s a long way in heat! Bring your own bike or rent one at the visitor centre on a first come first served basis. ID required. $9 per hour.
I can not recommend the Everglades Tram Tour enough! We left incredibly educated and fascinated by this natural wonder. I hope you found this guide useful for your Florida trip.
Let me know if you’ve done this tour or visited the Everglades below.