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Everglades (Shark Valley)

Day trip to the Shark Valley observation towers

If you have always wanted to see an alligator, there's a good chance that you'll see one in Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park.

The entrance of the well-maintained park is located at Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) between Naples and Miami, 17.7 miles west of Florida Highway 997 (Krome Ave). From the center of Miami, it is about a 35-mile drive to Shark Valley.

From the visitor center, you can explore Shark Valley by foot, by bicycle (available at the visitor center for a small fee) or you can take a guided 2-hour tram tour. If you are planning on hiking through the entire park, please don't forget to bring enough water (the trail is about 15 miles (9.3 km) long).

Shark Valley developed from a former service road to an oil production site that was located close to where the observation tower stands today. Later, the area was returned to the state of Florida. When another access road was added to the old service road, the present day loop road was created.

Even when you decide to take the guided tram tour, you can experience nature up-close through the open tram. The tours and descriptions by the tour guides are educational and entertaining. The dry season, for example, and its effects on vegetation are explained very clearly.

During the tour you will repeatedly see alligators at the side of the road as well as a variety of birds and the occasional small snake. At the midway point of the tour, the tram stops at the observation tower. It's worth strolling up to the top of the ramp, as the tower provides a spectacular, sweeping view of the Everglades.

The way back to the visitor center leads through the straight part of the loop road. In the 1940s, this part originally provided access to the road servicing an oil field close to the current location of the Shark Valley observation tower. After 2 hours, the tour ends at the visitor center.

The admission fee is $10, and entitles you to visit to the Everglades National Park for another seven days (different park entrances included).

Shark Valley Everglades, Florida - Impressions

Shark Valley Everglades, Florida
Shark Valley Everglades, Florida
Shark Valley Everglades, Florida
Shark Valley Everglades, Florida

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