bird standing in water in the Everglades

A Day in the Everglades

We only had one day in Everglades National Park. This was our first visit, and we wanted to make the most of it. So, we decided to take a guided tour. A friend recommended Garl’s Coastal Kayaking.

Alligator in the water in Everglades National Park

This tour was a full-day Everglades adventure. We met our tour guide, Mike, at the Robert is Here fruit stand around noon.

Tables of fruit at Robert is Here fruit stand

Our small tour group caravaned to various locations in the park due to COVID safety precautions. We stopped in a few different places to learn about the ecosystem of the Everglades.

Tour guide talking in the Everglades.

After learning more about the Everglades, we headed to Flamingo for a saltwater paddle.

The saltwater paddle was quite the adventure. We saw so much wildlife, including crocodiles, manatees, sawfish, and more birds than we could count.

Crocodile eyes in the water in Everglades National Park

This paddle certainly wasn’t leisurely. I felt like the current was working against us in both directions. But, it was so worth all of that hard work.

Pelican landing in the water in Everglades National Park

Next up was a hike through a cypress swamp. I’ll admit that if I’d really realized what we’d be doing, I’d probably have sat this part out since I imagined hiking through a few inches of water. In reality, it was a few feet.

Boy walking in a cypress swamp

Fortunately, I managed to keep my nerves in check and didn’t fall in and ruin my phone. And, my family loved it.

Cypress trees in a swamp in Everglades National Park

We saw some incredible things on this hike. Mike stopped along the way to show us various plants and even a tiny frog. Fortunately, we did not see any alligators or snakes here. I don’t even want to THINK about that!

Small frog in the leaves in Evergladees National Park

Last but not least was the freshwater paddle through mangrove tunnels. I was super thankful to be on the water and not in it!

Water and mangroves

We saw several alligators on this paddle. Fortunately, Mike kept a sharp eye out, making sure we didn’t accidentally hit one buried in the mud with our paddle…

Alligator under water in Everglades National park

The paddle ended well after dark. During the home stretch, we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

Sunset over water in Everglades National Park

This day in the Everglades is one I will never forget. It wasn’t easy. There were times I thought my arms were going to fall off. And, I definitely was way outside my comfort zone in the cypress swamp. But I’m so glad that I got to experience this National Park up close. It’s something I’ll never forget and was a highlight of the entire South Florida trip!

Before heading out on this tour, we took a walk on the Everglades Anhinga Trail.

Check out my Florida page for more info on travel in the Sunshine State.

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I was not compensated for this post and paid full price for our tour tickets.

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