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Everglades/Tamiami Trail

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During our 2013 visit, we stayed in Marco Island, but spent several days in the Everglades, travelling across the Tamiami Trail several times. There seem to be more visitor centres and boardwalks than in our previous visits, and we made the most of them to watch the wildlife, mostly birds and alligators. The videos below have been arranged as you travel from the Gulf side, taking in the centres/boardwalks to the south of the trail, then turning around before you get to Miami and doing all those to the north. I have done my best to identify all the birds.

We read in the local paper left in our rental apartment that there was a seafood festival taking place in Everglades City on our first weekend, and went along on the Sunday to have a look.

This intro was actually filmed on one of our first visits, on my old standard def tape camcorder, but there were some good shots, filmed literally from the side of the road, and as we drove along, so I am still including it, even though the picture quality is not as good as the recent ones.

The Marsh Trail, and the observation tower, are fairly new, at least the observation tower is, and there are an amazing amount of birds to be seen. I could happily have spent longer here.

New to me is the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center, with a boardwalk behind it, often visited by Manatee.

This boardwalk stretches  along roughly parallel to the Tamiami Trail from the car park across prairie and wetland to a  pond area, pretty flowers, and snakes!

Shark River is a 'proper' park, with an entrance fee payable to the National Park Service. There is a 15 mile loop road, alongside a waterway, and you can hire cycles or take the bus, at the furthest end is a large observation tower with disabled access, at least to the lower level. Unfortunately we arrived here late in the day, and just walked a short way along the road - a trip to look forward to next time we visit!

The Oasis visitor centre has a viewing boardwalk over a stretch of water almost entirely populated by alligators.


The Turner River Road and HP Williams picnic area, with boardwalk, is home to both birds and gators. I was lucky to be able to film and amazing, and slightlyscary, gator experience.  
An earlier visit in 2005, we stayed near Naples, convenient for the Everglades. We called in at the Big Cyprus Bend Boardwalk, on a previous visit we were driven away by mosquitoes, this time having come equipped with loads of repellent, we found there weren't many around, presumably a different time of year. February/March seems the best time to avoid mosquitoes.

Everglades City is a well spread out small community on close to the sea, approached by Highway 29 south from the Tamiami Trail. The seafood festival was great fun, lots of great food to eat, a music concert going on, a fairground, lots of craft style stalls to brows around, and it is obviously popular with Bikers, 1000s were there, fabulous well kept motor bikes parked in every available space.

Just a little further down the highway, there is a National Park Service visitor centre, and the chance to take boat rides (independent operators) out into the 10,000 Islands and the mangroves. You don't really see many birds on these trips, but it's a lovely peaceful way to pass an hour.

All along the Tamiami Trail, and also from Everglades City, there are many airboat operators offering trips into the waterways and grasslands, the airboats vary from those that just take about 4 passengers, to much larger. All are great fun, and an Everglades page would not be complete without a film of a ride, this one dating from 2008. As my camcorder was suffering from condensation, the film was taken on my husband's still camera, which takes fairly low res Quicktime movies.

Gillian Gatland
                                                                        All video contents of this website are copyright of Gillian Gatland unless otherwise stated