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Everglades Vacation Planning: When Is the Best Time to Visit?

JUAN CARLOS MUÑOZ ROBREDO

You’ve started your trip planning and you just can’t wait to visit the Florida Everglades. Whether you’re drawn to the gnarled old-growth cypress trees, vibrant exotic birds, or serene kayak and bike routes, there are so many reasons to visit the famed River of Grass. With proximity to major hubs like Naples and Miami, it’s easy for Florida natives to plan a quick weekend getaway to the great outdoors. But if you’re traveling from farther away, you probably have additional considerations when it comes to planning your vacation.

As with any trip, deciding when to travel should be the first item on your list. You might be wondering if there’s a best time of year to visit the Everglades. If you’re used to the four seasons, you’re in for a surprise. The Everglades only have two seasons – the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May – November).

While the best time to visit is during the dry season, there’s really no wrong time of year to tour this amazing Florida destination – you might just need to be a little more prepared. Below are some tips to help you plan your Everglades vacation.

Dry Season in the Everglades

December – April

Roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) standing in water

There are a few reasons so many visitors flock to the Everglades during the dry season. During the months of December through April, the area experiences lower humidity and less frequent rain, as well as more comfortable temperatures. You can expect to enjoy highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 50s, making active pursuits like biking and hiking more pleasant.

With 1.5 million acres of wetlands, it comes as no surprise that mosquitos and other biting insects dwell in this subtropical wilderness. One of the top reasons to visit during the dry season is to avoid the dreaded Everglades mosquito season. This is especially important if you want to spend time on the water on an airboat tour. Of course, some bug spray and loose layers always do the trick.

Another important factor in deciding when to visit the Everglades is the diversity of wildlife you might get to see. This part of southern Florida is teeming with fascinating creatures like alligators, manatees, snakes, and the elusive Florida panther. During the dry season, water levels recede, making way for birds like the bright pink roseate spoonbill and slender anhinga.

Wet Season in the Everglades

May – November

Blue sky in Florida Everglades wetlands green plants horizon, nature

Visiting the Everglades between May and November definitely has its advantages if you don’t mind a little rain and hotter temperatures (highs in the 90s, lows in the 70s). The area is a lot more lush during the wet season, with great photo opportunities of the sprawling green vistas.

As one of the most visited destinations in southern Florida, it can get crowded in the Everglades. Why not avoid the hustle and bustle and plan your trip during the wet season? Activities like airboat and kayak tours are much easier to book during the wet season when there are fewer visitors to the National Park.

One big advantage of traveling here between May and November is that flights tend to be cheaper. It’s common for northerners to visit Florida in the winter months to escape the cold, so if you’re traveling on a budget, you’re sure to find some deals during the summer.

When Is the Best Time to See Alligators in the Everglades?

a close up of a reptile

Some of us are scared of alligators, but for others, the chance to see an alligator is their entire reason for visiting the Everglades! If you have your heart set on spotting gators, visit the Everglades during the wet season when these wetland creatures are more active. Alligators love hot temperatures and basking in the sun. You might even get to see baby alligators since adults typically mate right before the wet season.

Want to increase your chances of seeing alligators in the Everglades?

Where Should I Stay When Visiting the Everglades?

Naples, Florida. Aerial view of city skyline and coast.

Everglades National Park is easily accessible with three separate entrances near larger cities and towns with many options for accommodations. You can plan your entire trip to southern Florida around the Everglades or spend some time exploring restaurants, galleries, and shops in cities like Naples and Miami.

Naples is a coastal city with beautiful beaches and family-friendly amenities like parks, museums, and a lot of dining options. With a historic downtown area and high-end shopping, it’s a slice of paradise away from the urban feel of Miami. The best part is that the Everglades are only 35 minutes away! Check out our travel guide on visiting the Everglades from Naples for more information.

Pelikan at Harbor in Everglades City

Want to stay even closer to Everglades National Park? Explore things to do in Everglades City, the gateway to the park. This small town is packed with charm, historic sites, and the best seafood you’ll ever taste. It’s even been nicknamed the Stone Crab Capital of the World.

Now that you know the best time to visit the Everglades, it’s time to start planning your ideal vacation. View top-rated Everglades activities and learn more about the park here.

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