Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades
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Everglades National Parks

Southwest Florida is a region blessed with a rich tapestry of natural wonders, from pristine beaches and diverse wetlands to unique wildlife habitats. Exploring these natural areas through National, state or non-profit parks offers a multitude of benefits, both for visitors and the environment.

Here’s a glimpse into the wonders of natural areas in Southwest Florida and why parks are crucial:

The natural areas in Southwest Florida are home to an incredible array of plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. From the rare and elusive Florida panther to the stunning variety of orchids in the Fakahatchee Strand, these areas showcase the region’s unique and fragile ecosystems.

The Everglades and surrounding wetlands are vital to Florida’s water supply, providing filtration, flood control, and a habitat for countless species. Exploring these areas through parks allows visitors to witness the complex interactions between land, water, and wildlife.

Southwest Florida boasts breathtaking coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico, where pristine beaches meet turquoise waters. Parks along the coast provide a chance to relax, swim, fish, and witness the stunning sunsets that grace the horizon.

Parks offer a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, from hiking and biking to kayaking and birdwatching. These activities promote physical health, mental well-being, and a deeper connection to nature.

Parks serve as living classrooms, offering opportunities for visitors to learn about local ecosystems, conservation efforts, and the importance of protecting natural habitats. Educational programs and guided tours help raise awareness about environmental issues.

Many species in Southwest Florida, such as the Florida panther and various sea turtles, are endangered or threatened. Parks provide protected areas where these species can thrive, contributing to their preservation and eventual recovery.

Natural areas draw tourists from around the world who are eager to experience the region’s unique landscapes and wildlife. This contributes to local economies, generating revenue for communities and supporting jobs in hospitality, tourism, and conservation.

Access to parks and natural areas enhances the overall quality of life for both residents and visitors. These spaces provide places of solace, recreation, and connection with nature, promoting physical and mental well-being.

Healthy natural areas play a critical role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Wetlands absorb floodwaters, forests sequester carbon, and intact ecosystems contribute to overall environmental stability.

Parks in Southwest Florida often hold historical and cultural significance, whether it’s the remnants of ancient Calusa settlements, historic lighthouses, or sites of past human interactions with the land.

The park encompasses 1.5 million acres of tropical and subtropical habitat with one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. For this very reason, Congress established the Everglades as a National Park in 1934. The park has since been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and a World Heritage Site. At least one million people from all over the world visit the Everglades each year.

Enter the park at Gulf Coast Visitor Center, in Everglades City.

In essence, parks are crucial not only for the preservation of natural beauty but also for the well-being of ecosystems, the education of visitors, and the sustainable development of local communities. By exploring these wonders of Southwest Florida’s natural areas, tourists can gain a deeper appreciation for the environment and actively participate in the efforts to protect and conserve these valuable resources for future generations.

Start Exploring


Bear Island (Big Cypress)


Big Cypress National Preserve


Collier Seminole State Park Naples


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary


Everglades National Forest


Fakahatchee Strand State Park


Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

New Parks

Jane Scenic Drive (Fakahachee Strand)


Loop Road Scenic Drive (Big Cypress)


Picayune Strand State Forest


Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

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