Whilst in Florida I thought I’d spend a full day and really try to immerse myself in the Everglades National Park.
I had my hired Jeep Compass, as in this post, and decided to head off for a day of exploring. The most popular route out of Miami is the Tamiami Trail which literally runs from the middle of downtown right through the heart of the Everglades.
I planned to do a 15 mile cycle ride at Shark Valley so wanted to make sure I left early. I didn’t quite fancy cycling in the midday heat of the Florida sun.
The Tamiami trail is littered with plenty of tourist attractions such as airboat rides and alligator wrestling. I knew airboats and cars weren’t allowed in the protected areas of the park so was pretty excited to get into the wilderness.
After arriving at Shark Valley and driving past a huge alligator sat by the road I knew I was in for a treat!
As you are entering a natural and wild habitat you take all responsibility for your life and well being. Whilst there is a toilet block and observation tower half way along the route I was taking, there was no way of getting water, food etc. So after signing my life away – literally – I got my beat up old bike and began my cycle!
Within the first few hundred metres I came across this bad boy!
This is why I was here I wanted to be alone no one but me and the wildlife. This wasn’t some tour where you saw a few alligators from a tour bus (Although they do offer a tram 3 times a day for those who can’t cycle or just don’t want to cycle!) I was actually alone on a bike pedalling past an alligator. Hopefully he had already had breakfast!
Whilst Florida is known for its theme parks there is so much more to see and do so next time you visit I would really recommend going to the Everglades and especially Shark Valley. The 15 mile cycle took me around 3 hours going at a leisurely pace and stopping plenty of times on the way for photos or to perhaps have a little breather. It was really windy on the day I was there so made some of the cycling a hard slog.
I managed to capture some video of this too. Apologies for the wind and my shaky camera hand. I’m hoping I get better at the video side of things and can create some cool vlog posts for you guys in the future.