Best Time to Visit - 13 min read

Best Time to Visit Everglades National Park (See the Wildlife!)

Kaylee Giacomini

Kaylee Giacomini, Updated November 13, 2022

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The Everglades National Park is a stunning destination on the tip of Southern Florida. It is in between popular vacation destinations like Miami, Boca Raton, and the Gulf Coast. Take some time on your Florida vacation to explore the gorgeous Everglades. 

There is plenty to do in the Everglades from hiking to kayaking. Although swimming and motorboats are prohibited, there is so much to do that these popular activities go unmissed. With the Everglade’s incredibly central location in Southern Florida, you can always day trip to a nearby beach for these activities.  

Between November and April is the best time to visit Everglades National Park. This is due to the consistent 79-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and an average of only five rainy days. It is also the ideal time for catching festivals and events like the Everglades Seafood Festival. The summer boasts elevated crowds and up to 30% higher cost of accommodation. 

Planning out when you visit the park is extremely important. The summer is a popular time to visit. However, Southern Florida’s climate at this time is brutal. With 15 days of rainfall, high humidity, and high temperatures, plan your trip outside of the tourist high season. The Everglades are far more pleasant (and have fewer mosquitoes) from November through April. 

What is the Worst Time to Visit the Everglades?

The worst time to visit the Everglades is in the summer months from June to September. Temperatures can reach a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit at this time with humidity that makes it feel even warmer. 

It also rains almost 50% of the time between June and September. The Everglades averages around 15 rainy days each month. If sweat and humidity don’t drench you, rainfall will. 

Although the summer weather is unpleasant, this doesn’t keep tourists away. The Everglades has a high rate of visitors during the summer months albeit with the unpleasant weather. So it is crowded, hot, and rainy. Avoid this national park in the summer if possible. 

What is the Cheapest Time to Visit the Everglades?

The cheapest time to visit the Everglades is January through June. Conveniently, this is also when the Everglades has some of its most pleasant weather. 

With crowds at bay, the cost of accommodation also diminishes. Expect to pay around 30% less for a nearby room than you would in the summer high season. You can also score deals on camping and entrance fees at this time. 

What Time of Year Does the Everglades Have the Best Weather?

The Everglades experiences some of its best weather from November through April. Temperatures remain around a pleasant 78 degrees Fahrenheit on average during the day. Compared to the brutal summertime, humidity also isn’t bad.

The Everglades is a rainy place. The winter has the lowest rate of rainfall at an average of only four rainy days per month. Crowds are also low during the winter, so visiting during this time is idyllic. 

January: South Florida Fair

Florida can get extremely hot and humid. Dodge the heat by visiting in the winter. January is an especially great time to take to the flatlands and go biking. 

There are five different bike trails in Everglades National Park. This includes the Long Pine Key Nature Trail, Rowdy Bend Trail, L-67 Canal Road, Snake Bight Trail, and Shark Valley Tram Trail. Each one packs in a unique, two-wheeled experience for bikers of all skill levels.

With trails ranging in length from three to fifteen miles, biking can keep anyone occupied for a few hours. There is also a range of terrains to select. Choose between dirt paths, gravel, paved areas, and nature trails. 

If biking isn’t your thing, you can always walk the trails instead. Be mindful of passing bikers and enjoy the scenery. 

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February: Everglades Seafood Festival

Everglades National Park has a select few annual festivals that happen near park grounds. The Everglades Seafood Festival is the most popular. The Everglades City event has free entry with donations encouraged. 

Once you’re in, spend some time taking in all that the festival has to offer. South Florida certainly has some of the best seafood in the country. However, the festival also has plenty of art, crafts, and live entertainment. Prepare to spend an entire day exploring. 

The Seafood Festival was founded in 1970 and has been serving adoring patrons ever since. It boasts itself as a celebration of fun, family, food, and fireworks. Especially for people coming from colder climates, it is a taste of summertime in the heart of winter.

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March: Best Time for Geocaching and Hiking

For those who aren’t familiar with geocaching, prepare for the treasure hunt of your life. Geocaching is a sustainable, outdoor “treasure hunt”. Although you probably won’t find gold, you’re sure to find a few unique items. 

Everglades National Park is one of the best places for geocaching in the country. Take to the trails with your GPS and see what you can find. It is free and everyone can play. Just be sure to leave behind the prizes for the next adventurers. 

Even if geocaching isn’t your thing, March is the perfect time to take a hike through Everglades National Park. The weather tends to stay below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity isn’t quite unbearable yet. 

Check out a range of trails from wooded boardwalks to nature paths. Just remember to bring plenty of bug spray. 

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April: Best Time to See Wildlife

April is a gorgeous time to visit Florida. Temperatures may be rising, but humidity is still bearable. It is also an excellent time to see wildlife in Everglades National Park. April tends to be the best time to see baby animals and a small, spring migration of birds headed North. 

Some of the wildlife that you can expect to see in Everglades National Park includes alligators, leopard frogs, water birds, and fish that like the brackish swamp water. 

Although guests are encouraged to view wildlife, take precautions for your safety and the safety of animals. 

The National Park Service lays out some guidelines on viewing. They recommend giving creatures plenty of space, recognizing signs of alarm in different creatures, being respectful, and avoiding feeding the animals. 

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May: Best Time for Boating

Summer enters the Everglades in full throttle once May rolls around. Humidity rises with the Florida heat. Some may choose to avoid the outdoors around this time, but it is an excellent period to explore Florida’s gorgeous waterways. 

The Everglades is possibly the most unique ecosystem in the state. Check it out by way of airboat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Be advised that motorboats are prohibited in some of the protected areas. 

Various places in the Everglades make for excellent places to go boating. Freshwater lakes have great visibility for those hoping to see below the water’s surface. Canals are perfect for canoes and similar watercrafts like kayaks. 

Be mindful of wildlife, and remember that alligators will stay clear of you if you don’t disturb them. 

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Related Read: 20 BEST Airboat Tours in the Everglades

June: Celebrate Memorial Day in Florida

Visiting the Everglades is the perfect thing to do over the long, holiday weekend of Memorial Day. Take a day trip to the gorgeous park and experience some of their fun Memorial Day Events. 

Some of the recommended Memorial Day activities include seeing gators and airboat rides. It is a great day to witness a live alligator show hosted within the park. If you are looking for a completely safe way to see the creatures, this is it.

Airboat riding is another excellent holiday weekend activity. Since motorboats are banned in many places within the park, airboats are the next best option.

These vehicles have a flat bottom to easily glide through the shallowest portions of the park. They are powered by a large fan, giving them their name. After a gator show, get out on an airboat to see the real deal living in the Florida waters. 

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July: Celebrate the Fourth of July in Everglade City

July is one of Florida’s hottest months. Take some time away from the park and head into Everglade City. Every Fourth of July, they host a spectacular Independence Day Celebration. 

Opening ceremonies commence at 10 am with parades and contests that are fun for the whole family. Check out some of the shops and dining options while you’re in town. All day, various booths will be showcasing artwork and serving food and beverages. 

After the morning parade, there is an evening parade as well that kicks off at 9 pm. Check it out and stay for a spectacular fireworks display. 

Be mindful that this event doesn’t always happen on the Fourth of July. It usually takes place on the Saturday before to accommodate the work week. 

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August: Best Time for Slough Slogging

No, Slough Slogging isn’t some tongue twister that we made up. It is a very real (and popular) activity in the Everglades. Especially in the August heat. 

Slough Slogging is a wet, off-trail hike. Put on a pair of waders and march through the murky grassland.  It is a unique, hands-on view of the River Grass. Go out with a guide and group for wetland safety purposes and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Since swimming is extremely discouraged in the Everglades, Slough Slogging is the next best thing. It is a safe way to get into the waters without fear of dangerous gator encounters. 

Guided tour dates are available through the National Park Service webpage. Book ahead for this unique experience. 

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September: Clyde and Nikki Butcher’s Labor Day Weekend Gala

Clyde and Nikki Butcher’s Labor Day Weekend Gala is held annually at the Big Cypress Gallery. The Butchers are longtime patrons of the arts and supporters of the Everglades. Clyde even published a book on the ecosystem.

Clyde Butcher is famous for his black and white photography of the Everglades and other areas. The Big Cypress Gallery has a year-round display on him, but there is no better time to celebrate the artist than at the Gala. Come ready for a classical celebration supporting the arts. 

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October: Best Time for Birdwatching

Birds from Northern America migrate down south as winter begins to creep in. The best time to see this great migration over Florida is in October. Many species even make the Everglades home over the winter.

Over 300 species of birds call the Everglades home, especially in the fall and winter. Visit the park to see the magnificent wildlife. 

Anhinga Trail is one of the most popular paths in the Everglades. It is also among the best birdwatching spots. Bring along a pair of binoculars to witness some of the creatures in the distance. You will probably see quite a few from the trail. 

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November: Best Time for Camping

Nighttime temperatures begin to drop in November, making it the perfect time to go camping. There are a few distinct campgrounds in the Everglades to stay at. The more adventurous visitors may also choose backcountry camping.

When it comes to marked sites, guests can stay at a range of campgrounds. Some of the most popular include the Flamingo campground and the Long Pine Key campground. Passes are required for any additional wilderness camping in the park. 

Campgrounds across the park feature a range of amenities including showers, picnic tables, grills, and even amphitheaters. Seasonal ranger programs are hosted here. RVs are also welcome in designated campgrounds. 

Wilderness camping is designated across the Everglades. Sites include beaches, ground sites, and elevated, boarded structures. 

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December: Celebrate the Holidays in the Everglades

This is another popular time to visit the Everglades due to holiday travel and pleasant weather. December is one of Florida’s coolest months, making it a great time to explore the otherwise humid destination. 

Plenty of nearby towns and cities have exciting Holiday celebrations. If you still want some holiday touches on your vacation to the Everglades, check them out or stay in town versus in the park. 

One of the best South Florida holiday celebrations is Holiday Kickoff at the Square. The Palm Beach event features photos with Santa Claus, a ballet performance, and the Palm Beach tree lighting. It takes place annually in early December 

Another exciting South Florida holiday event is Light Up Boca Raton. This event features movies, live performances, and a holiday tree lighting. 

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Related Read: 50 Romantic Things to Do in Miami, FL

What is the Best Time to Visit the Everglades With Family?

The best time to visit the Everglades with family is during the winter months from November through April. Crowds, temperatures, and rainfall are all low during this period. Each of these factors plays into making vacationing with young children more manageable.

There is plenty to do with young families in the Everglades. One of the most popular activities is taking an airboat ride down the Buttonwood Canal. The Buttonwood Canal is a calm, 3-mile stretch of water perfect for kids. It presents plenty of opportunities for safe encounters with wildlife and gorgeous views. 

Another great thing to do with kids in the Everglades is to explore the Florida Pioneer Museum. The museum is placed right outside the Everglades and is a member of the National Register of Historic Places. 

What is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds in the Everglades?

The best time to avoid crowds in the Everglades is from November until April. Not only will you avoid crowds at this time, but you will also avoid mosquitoes and humidity. 

The Everglades are gorgeous. However, they can certainly get buggy. Avoid going in the summer when crowds, mosquitoes, heat, and rain plague the National Park.

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