This post will show you four short walking trails in the Everglades, Florida. Short and easy, all four are great family hikes in the wild and offer a things see for the kids.
The first one is Anhinga Trail, one of the most scenic in the Everglades and next to it winds Gumbo Limbo Trail its way through a hammock.
Then, in Flamingo at the southern edge of the national park we will see large wetland areas with crocodiles and manatees.
On the way back there’s one more walk, the Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk.
Everglades hiking trails: Anhinga Trail
All four short walks suit all ages and you can even manage them with a stroller. We have been to these places with small kids and babies and they really loved the day out: the marshes and waters, the birds and snails and the shady hammock.
Above all the name Gumbo Limbo Trail.
For all four walks you will need a whole day. Bring your camera, good shoes, sunscreen and mosquito spray. And with kids you can never forget the picnic.
Short Walking Trails in the Everglades: the Map
Location of the four Everglades trails on the map
The map shows the driving itinerary from Miami to Flamingo (and back, that’s why there are so many miles). So the drive will be 100 miles one way which is a two to three hours drive.
Where the short trails are located is marked on the map.
We will begin with Anhinga Trail:
Walking trails in the Everglades: Anhinga bird
Anhinga Trail is named after the Anhinga bird, you can see one in the photo. Along the trail we saw many of them.
The trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center a short way from the Everglades park entrance. The one mile long Anhinga Trail winds it way through wetland and sawgrass marshes and gives you a good idea of what Everglades National Park is about.
Walking in the Everglades: Anhinga Trail in phots
For the most part the trail is on an elevated boardwalk so you’re a bit higher up. From the height it’s easier to see the wildlife in the marsh and water areas below.
To spot even more birds and other water life there are extensions and observation platforms built for that purpose. Right there, below us we saw hungry alligators, lazy turtles and furry raccoons. And black and white Anhingas, ugly vultures and more wetland birds.
Even when Anhinga Trail is just a mile long you will probably stay a long time on this trail, observing Everglades wonders and wildlife.
Walking Trails in the Everglades: Gumbo Limbo Trail
Everglades National Park: a gumbo limbo tree
The second trail starts from the same place, Royal Palm Visitor Center. Gumbo Limbo Trail is just half a mile long and goes into a thick tropical hammock. It’s all the way an easy path and at whiles a wooden boardwalk.
Here you can see gumbo limbo trees, a specialty of the Everglades. You can recognize Gumbo limbo trees from their thick, red bark:
Walking trails in the Everglades: Gumbo Limbo trail through a hammock
During the wet season the trees contain loads of big tree snails in many colors.
We haven’t seen those snails, however. Maybe because we have only been to the Everglades in the dry season. But even during the dry season we did see mosquitoes in the thick hammock and they especially bothered the small ones.
Next stop: Flamingo.
Gulf of Mexico seen from Flamingo, Everglades National Park
Flamingo is far away and needs a long drive (40 miles one way) so you should think if you go there or just skip it.
As we only stayed a couple of hours in Flamingo it’s a good question if the place was worth the drive. What is there to do in Flamingo?
In Flamingo we had no time for marked trails, we just walked around to see what we could find.
In Flamingo you can see the Gulf of Mexico and the south part of the Everglades that’s all wetland and inland lakes. There are marked water trails on the lakes for canoes, something we should try, but not with kids.
Then, Flamingo has huge crocodiles, not any tiny alligators but real crocs. On Flamingo paths we spotted crocodiles hiding in shallow creeks and there should be manatees which we didn’t see.
Flamingo at the south edge of the Everglades
The conclusion: driving to Flamingo is really worth it if you stay longer than two hours, rent a canoe and explore the waterways. You can also walk on the marked trails, there are many of them. Otherwise there is not so much to see and the place is quite basic.
As many travelers stay the night there’s a campsite and Flamingo has a visitor center as well. And on the way to Flamingo you will see a lot of Everglades nature on the roadside: swamp, winding waterways and dark brown marshland lakes.
A brown lake north of Flamingo in Everglades National Park
Driving back from Flamingo we stopped many times to look at those small lakes with dark brown water. Those lakes really look special.
Walking Trails in the Everglades: Mahogany Hammock
Half way between Flamingo and the Everglades park entrance was our last short trail, the Mahogany Hammock boardwalk. It’s a short loop trail in a tropical hardwood hammock and uses boardwalks all the way.
Short walks in the Everglades: Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk
The Mahogany Hammock trail was a nice little walk, a loop of one mile or less. And here we saw something we had been warned about: a rattle snake hiding right below the boardwalk (see the picture on the right).
Back to Miami
The drive back to Miami
The Everglades National Park has one more interesting destination we would like to see, but there’s not yet been time for it, the Long Pine Key. There should be many good trails and a campsite for overnight stays.
But, for us, it was getting late and we had to start driving back to Miami. On the way we stopped one more time, at a roadside vegetable and fruit market. There we got super tasty smoothies that delighted us and made the kids happy. These smoothies helped them sit two more hours in the car!
The stunning Everglades National Park, Florida
More Trails in Everglades National Park
Routes and Trips Travel Guide has more contents on the Everglades: check out our biking trip to Shark Valley
Alligator in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
More about the Everglades and Florida Trails:
- Read about biking in Shark Valley, Everglades
- Check out the Everglades National Park website
- More information on Florida hiking trails