If you just can’t bring yourself to sample the wildlife you’ve just viewed, stop in at the Pit Bar-B-Q for smoked chicken and ribs, plus beans and rice with a Latin flair, which is also located on Tamiami Trail. Restaurants located in the Everglades itself tend to serve good ol’ Southern cuisine or focus on regional seafood, such as City Seafood, located in Everglades City. Others have developed from airboat concession stands, such as Coopertown Restaurant on Miami’s side of the Tamiami Trail, and offer a dose of local colour to go along with the cornmeal-breaded, fried alligator tail that’s on the menu.
As for airboats, they’re not allowed in the Everglades National Park. However, a northern tract of the River of Grass was added in 1989, and it’s here on the Tamiami Trail, running between the two coasts, that private concessions operate tours. Some find the airboats loud and intrusive, but children tend to like them, and the tours are generally educational. Plus, locals who regularly fish the area for bass and trout rely on them to move over mere inches of water. Sometimes, they’re the only way to get into a deeper part of the ecosystem without getting your feet wet. Then again, some don’t mind a little water. If that’s you, feel free to join a ranger for slough slogging – a wet hike through the River of Grass – for the ultimate up-close Everglades experience.
Written by Jen Karetnick
Everglades Swamp Motorboat © iStock: Juanmonino
Fishing at Dusk NPS Photo G. Gardner, Courtesy Everglades NPS
Lane River NPS Photos, Courtesy Everglades NPS
Swamp Wetland Mangrove Landscape in Everglades © iStock: YinYang