Lots of Backroads in the Everglades
(aprox 8 hours)
From Miami to Naples lies the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, this area comprises 7 continuous parks and preserves. Big Cypress National Preserve sits in the middle of this area. The opportunities to view wildlife increase dramatically once we reach Big Cypress. Many unique plants and animals call Big Cypress home including the Florida panther, black bear, Big Cypress fox squirrel, and the elusive ghost orchid.
Most visitors and sightseeing tour operators only go to the first park (Shark Valley) and a local airboat operator. Miami Native Tours brings you to four parks which includes an airboat ride to a Miccosukee Indian village and a boat ride through the 10,000 Islands to the Gulf of Mexico. Our Everglades sightseeing tour includes transportation to and from your Miami or Miami Beach hotel. We can also pick you up at the Port of Miami or Miami International Airport (MIA).
- Everglades National Park
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Ten Thousand Islands NWR
- Fakahatchee State Park
- Miccosukee Reservation
- An hour+ boat ride through the Ten Thousand Islands to the Gulf of Mexico
- All boats captains have 5 and 6 generation history in the area
Boardwalk in Big Cypress National Preserve
30 minute hike on a Big Cypress Boardwalk with a beautiful cypress canopy and an opportunity to see various epiphytes and orchids.
A great bird spot for wading birds and raptors in the fall, and songbirds all year round.
Stop at Clyde Butcher Photo Gallery, considered the Ansel Adams of Florida, which features a cypress swamp trail behind gallery.
There are several stops for gators and birds in Big Cypress, depending on water levels and migration. Gators seen are dozens in the summer, hundreds in the winter.
Depending on the season and the water levels the best opportunity to view a wide variety of wildlife is traveling the backroads of the Everglades and Big Cypress. Loop and Turner Roads are the most popular but do not expect any crowds, few tourists explore this area and even fewer tour operators make this a stop. The “Old Florida” you seek still exists on these backroads. Excellent opportunity to see and photograph alligators, turtles, snakes and birds up close without leaving the tour van.
Airboat ride to a Miccosukee tree island
- Airboat ride to tree island where Miccosukee lived for generations fleeing the US Army.
- Tour highlights the unique history of the unconquered Miccosukee tribe
- How they differ from Seminoles even though both came into Florida fleeing Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act.
Stone crab lunch
Stone crab lunch at the fishing docks in Everglades City the Stone Crab Capital of the World Oct-May only.
Rates ( minimum 4 people)
- Adults (3-4 People) – $160 each
- Adults (5-6 People) – $150 each
- Adults (7-12 People) – $130 each
- Seniors and Children < 12 $ 20 less
Options, Upgrades and Downgrades
Dawn Patrol usually means more wildlife and helps beat the Blue Hair invasion from Naples at the stone crab restaurant.
Sunset tours on the Gulf are spectacular, especially for birdwatchers. The way back means we pass through one of the darkest skies in the US for stargazing. In fact, Big Cypress National Preserve was designated an International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) International Dark Sky Place in late 2016. Big Cypress has ranger led stargazing once a month and the Big Cypress Visitor Center.
I do not charge extra if the group uses a third party for:
- Swamp walks
- Swamp buggy rides
- Private airboat
- Fishing guides
Important: Third parties must have a Big Cypress permit, as I do.
Third parties for swamp walks and swamp buggies take guest to places I can not and don’t want to do.
Swamp walks are usually led by hunters. Swamp buggies by old time Gladesmen, similar to my boat captains.
Once or twice a month during the winter a strong SW or NW wind makes conditions for the boat trip thru the Ten Thousand Islands less than ideal. I will know 3-5 days ahead of time and can offer additional options:
- Downgrading to the 5 hour tour
- More time spent in Big Cypress
The days before and after the strong winds are usually very good days, so my preference is to to reschedule if possible.