Things to Do in Everglades City – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Everglades City, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Florida Everglades. This charming town offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich history, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. From thrilling airboat rides through the mangrove forests to exploring historic sites like the Smallwood Store Museum, Everglades City has something for everyone. Join us as we uncover the top things to do in Everglades City, ensuring an unforgettable adventure in this picturesque paradise.

Can’t-Miss Attractions

Everglades City is a hidden gem in Florida, offering a plethora of unique attractions that cater to nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Here are the top 5 must-see attractions in Everglades City:

1. Everglades National Park: As the largest tropical wilderness of any kind in the U.S., Everglades National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts unparalleled biodiversity. Visitors can explore the park through various activities such as airboat tours, hiking trails, and wildlife spotting, including the iconic American alligator. The park’s significance lies in its crucial role in preserving a fragile ecosystem and showcasing the beauty of the Everglades.

2. Big Cypress National Preserve: Adjacent to Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve is a vast expanse of swampland that is home to diverse wildlife and plant species. Visitors can enjoy activities like swamp walks, birdwatching, and kayaking through the pristine waters of the preserve. The unique feature of Big Cypress is its preservation of the indigenous cultures that have thrived in the area for centuries.

3. Museum of the Everglades: Delve into the rich history of Everglades City at the Museum of the Everglades, housed in the historic laundry building of the town. The museum showcases exhibits on the early pioneers, the building of the Tamiami Trail, and the impact of the Everglades on the region’s development. Visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of the Everglades and its importance to the local community.

4. Smallwood Store: Step back in time at the Smallwood Store, a historic trading post that has been preserved to reflect its original 1906 condition. This iconic landmark offers a glimpse into the past, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia from the early days of the Everglades. Visitors can explore the store’s unique architecture and learn about its role in the region’s economic and social history.

5. Ten Thousand Islands: Embark on a boat tour of the Ten Thousand Islands, a labyrinth of mangrove islands and waterways that offer unparalleled opportunities for exploration and adventure. Visitors can kayak through winding mangrove tunnels, observe diverse marine life, and relax on pristine beaches. The unique beauty of the Ten Thousand Islands lies in its remote and untouched landscapes, providing a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts.

Overall, Everglades City is a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities. Each of these top attractions contributes to the town’s reputation as a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Everglades experience.

One-day trip

If you’re looking for exciting day trips within a 2-hour drive from Everglades City, you’re in luck! Here are five fantastic destinations that offer a mix of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences:

1. Naples, Florida: Just an hour’s drive north of Everglades City, Naples is known for its stunning white sand beaches, upscale shopping, and vibrant arts scene. Take a leisurely stroll along Fifth Avenue South for boutique shopping and art galleries, or relax on the pristine shores of Naples Pier. Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary for a chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

2. Sanibel Island: Located about 1.5 hours west of Everglades City, Sanibel Island is a paradise for beach lovers and shell collectors. Spend the day combing the shores of Bowman’s Beach for unique seashells, or visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge for birdwatching and kayaking opportunities. Don’t miss the historic Sanibel Lighthouse for panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Marco Island: Just a short 45-minute drive south of Everglades City, Marco Island boasts beautiful beaches, world-class fishing, and a rich Native American history. Explore the scenic Tigertail Beach for shelling and birdwatching, or take a boat tour to see the iconic dome houses of Cape Romano. History buffs can visit the Marco Island Historical Museum to learn about the island’s Calusa Indian heritage.

4. Big Cypress National Preserve: Only 30 minutes east of Everglades City, Big Cypress National Preserve is a vast wilderness area teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. Hike along the scenic Loop Road for a chance to see alligators, wading birds, and elusive panthers, or take a guided swamp buggy tour for a deeper exploration of the preserve’s unique ecosystems. Don’t forget to stop by the Big Cypress Gallery to admire local artwork inspired by the Everglades.

5. Everglades National Park: Of course, no visit to Everglades City would be complete without exploring the iconic Everglades National Park, located right on your doorstep. Embark on an airboat tour to glide through the sawgrass prairies and mangrove forests, keeping an eye out for alligators and exotic birds. For a more leisurely experience, rent a kayak or canoe to paddle the peaceful waters of the park’s many water trails, such as the Turner River or the Wilderness Waterway.

These five destinations offer a diverse range of experiences for day-trippers from Everglades City, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural discoveries, or simply a relaxing day by the sea. With so much to see and do within a short drive, you’re sure to find the perfect day trip to suit your interests!

Restaurants and bars

When visiting Everglades City, be sure to check out these five fantastic dining spots that offer a taste of local flavor:

1. The Oyster Shack – Indulge in fresh seafood at this charming waterfront restaurant. Don’t miss their famous Oyster Rockefeller, a delectable dish that perfectly combines the flavors of the sea.

2. The Rod and Gun Club – Step back in time at this historic establishment known for its classic Southern cuisine. Try their signature Gator Bites for a true taste of the Everglades.

3. Triad Seafood Cafe – A hidden gem serving up delicious seafood dishes with a Caribbean twist. Be sure to try their Conch Fritters, a local favorite bursting with flavor.

4. Havana Cafe of the Everglades – Experience a fusion of Cuban and Southern cuisine at this vibrant eatery. Their Ropa Vieja is a must-try dish that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

5. Island Cafe – Enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and stunning views at this cozy cafe. Sample their Key Lime Pie, a sweet and tangy dessert that perfectly captures the essence of Florida.

For a more casual dining experience, be sure to visit these top two cafes and bars in Everglades City:

1. The Gator Den – A favorite among locals, this quirky bar offers a unique selection of craft beers and cocktails. The friendly atmosphere and live music make it a perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring.

2. The Mangrove Cafe – Known for its cozy ambiance and artisanal coffee, this cafe is a popular choice for a morning pick-me-up or a relaxing afternoon break. Don’t miss their homemade pastries, which are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Interesting Facts

Everglades City, located in the heart of the Everglades National Park, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Here are three surprising and interesting facts about this unique destination:

1. Airboat Capital of the World:
Everglades City is known as the “Airboat Capital of the World.” Airboats are a popular mode of transportation in the Everglades due to their ability to navigate the shallow waters and grassy marshes of the area. Visitors can take thrilling airboat tours to explore the vast expanse of the Everglades and spot wildlife such as alligators, birds, and turtles in their natural habitat.

2. Stone Crab Capital of the World:
Everglades City is also recognized as the “Stone Crab Capital of the World.” The city is famous for its fresh and delicious stone crab claws, which are harvested from the nearby waters. Visitors can savor this local delicacy at the various seafood restaurants in town or even try their hand at catching their own crabs.

3. Historic Small-Town Charm:
Despite its small size, Everglades City boasts a rich history and unique charm. The city was once a thriving pioneer settlement and served as the county seat of Collier County. Visitors can explore historic sites such as the Smallwood Store, a former trading post turned museum, to learn about the area’s past and immerse themselves in its quaint atmosphere.

Whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors, craving fresh seafood, or interested in delving into local history, Everglades City offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you captivated.

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