Beyond the River of Grass to Mangrove Coast: Everglades National Park East Entrance to Flamingo is a 80 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Florida City, FL that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for birding, scenic driving, and off road driving and is accessible from November until April.
off road driving
I visited on Thanksgiving weekend last year, driving from the east entrance all the way down to Flamingo and back. It was a beautiful day, and I got out on the trails in many locations along the park road. Happily, I was able to see lots of wildlife (gators, turtles, deer, egrets, herons, anhingas, osprey and a few huge spiders...and also happily, no snakes). I soon realized that it wasn't far enough into the colder months to significantly limit the often relentless mosquitos, particularly in the southern part of the park. I still was able to thoroughly enjoy my visit however.
Did this years ago and again last December. I am not really into the reptiles, but we did not see anything last time anyway.
I have done this drive many times and I must agree with Christine; sometimes you see a lot of wild life and sometimes nothing.
I have driven this route many, many times and at different time of the day and night. Sometimes you see a lot, and sometimes you don't. Keep your eyes open for deer, turtles, gators, snakes, herons, egrets, anhingas, cormorants, kingfishers and hawks. The Everglades are subtle. Don't expect any huge "oohs" and "ahhs" like the Grand Canyon. Beautiful times to see it are sunrise and sunset. If skeeters scare you, go in the winter and they won't be bad at all (though Flamingo seems to always have plenty of 'em!) . Don't forget to stop at the Ernest Coe visitor center at the entrance...nice gift shop, restrooms and informative displays. Oh, and if you go all the way down to Flamingo, look for tarpon and manatees in the basin! Hurricane Andrew destroyed the rental cabins that used to be there, as well as a restaurant and lodge.
This is a very interesting drive, but stay in the car. We saw owls, alligators, cormorants, egrets, and herons. An alligator warming himself in the road hissed at the car and then slipped into the water; he moved so fast we didn't even see where he went in. The mosquitoes were so thick they were like a fog; they got into the car and buzzed us for the rest of the drive :p