Everglades National Park - Anhinga Trail

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by hellotmf on June 26, 2006

This past weekend I drove through Everglades National Park, starting from Homestead, Florida, and going down to Flamingo, which is at the southwest edge of the park near Florida Bay. This time of year (January), in the dry season, an abundance of birds congregate in the drying ponds around the Everglades, so many photo enthusiasts like myself also congregate there with intricate cameras, lenses, and tripods in hand.

Without question, the best trail on my trek was the Anhinga Trail, which is the first marked trail after entering the park at Homestead. The Anhinga Trail is named after a big, beautiful black bird (also called a Water Turkey, probably by someone who didn’t like it too much) that frequents the area. The Anhinga bird has difficulty flying with water on its wings, so it will stand still in the sun for a long period of time, providing for some great photographic opportunity. Other birds on the trail included Great White Herons, Great Blue Herons, and Cormorants.

Getting There:

There are two official entrances to the park, one in Homestead and one in Flamingo.

When to go:

The Anhinga Trail is open year-round, and you will likely see wildlife all times of the year. The dry season (January through March) is a particularly good time to visit because there are not many mosquitoes and other biting bugs and there is less water for the animals to flock to. The Anhinga Trail is on an abundant water source.

Note that the park hours are 8am to 5pm. Try to get their as early as possible. Crowds of people scare the wildlife off. The earlier you get there, the more you will see. If you get there before 8am, explore the roadside wildlife.

Don’t Forget to Bring:

Do not forget to bring mosquito repellent, even in the dry season. Cases of malaria are on the rise in the Western world due to a rise in eco-tourism in exotic places, so be careful. Bring food and snacks. There are concessions at the visitor center near both park entrances, but once you are in the park, there are only a few vending machines at the major trails. Good walking shoes are a must.

Notable Side Tracks:

If time permits, get a milkshake from the "Robert is Here" fruit stand. The fruit stand has been awarded for the Best Milkshake in Florida. They make each milkshake fresh with their own produce.

Where to Stay:

There are camping facilities at Long Pine Key and Flamingo and a lodge at Flamingo. Check their websites for the latest information on openings and fees. NOTE THAT HURRICANE DAMAGE is still prevalent throughout the park, and the lodge at Flamingo is currently closed. There are also some trails that are closed due to hurricane damage, though they are few and are closer to Flamingo. At the time of this writing, January 2005, they told me that the lodge would still be in construction a year from now.
Everglades National Park
Various Visitor Centers
Everglades National Park, Florida
(305) 242-7700


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