Everglades National Park
Dubbed “River of Grass” by those who fought for its protection, the Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi, and home to many rare and endangered species and more than 350 documented species of birds. The Anhinga Trail is named for one of those birds, a Southern swamp native also called Water Turkey (for its broad tail) or Snake Bird (for the bird’s swimming style, with only its long, thin neck poking out of the water). Starting at the Royal Palm Visitor Center, the wheelchair-accessible path winds through sawgrass marsh. Wildlife viewing abounds, especially in winter. Look for alligators, turtles, herons, egrets, and, of course, anhingas.
Park: Everglades National Park
Location: Homestead, Florida
Length: .8 miles roundtrip
Peak Season: December through April
Before You Go: Plan your trip according to the weather. Mild, pleasant winters make the Everglades a prime destination for escaping the cold elsewhere. June to November, expect high heat, humidity, a lot of rain, mosquitoes, and possible hurricanes. In other words, go in winter.
Bring With You: Water and insect repellent, especially in summer. Sunscreen is necessary year-round. Rain gear is never a bad idea in the Everglades, but an especially good idea June to November. Bring binoculars for viewing wildlife a little closer.