Everglades National Park Hiking: 11 Best Family Treks

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Everglades National Park is tucked away in the wetlands of south Florida and covers an amazing 1.5 million acres. It’s home to some of the most unique wildlife in the United States, including the American Crocodile, alligators, and the rare Florida panther.

But aside from its wildlife-spotting opportunities, there’s a lot of Everglades National Park hiking to enjoy! From long trails to short and easy walks, there’s something here for the whole family.

Just for context, Everglades National Park has 3 entrances in 3 cities. These are in Miami Dade County, Monroe County, and Collier County. So, make sure you’re coming in from the right place before pulling on your hiking boots!

This list of Everglades National Park hiking spots is geared at families traveling with kids. So, I’ll be focusing on gorgeous hikes that I’d feel comfortable trying with my own kids. There are some beautiful long walks here, but the brutal Florida weather makes them too tricky unless you’re with active teens.

three kids by the Everglades National Park signPin
my kids at the Shark Valley Everglades NP entrance sign

Interactive Trail Map: Best Everglade Family Hikes

Below you’ll find an interactive map that highlights each of the trail recommendations made in this article. You’ll be able to see the relative distance to hikes, as well as other park highlights like visitor centers, etc.

How to Use This Map:

Click on any of the trail recommendations marked with the bed icon in this color. A popup will open discussing the hike in greater detail.

Clicking the star next to the name of the map will save the map to your google account. To access it later on a computer or your smartphone, open google maps and select “Your Places”.

11 Best Places to Go For Everglades National Park Hiking with Kids

1. Bobcat Boardwalk Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles (one way)

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Right behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

The Bobcat Boardwalk Trail is super kid-friendly as it runs for just half a mile along a short boardwalk. This means it’s stroller-friendly with no trip hazards for little ones who are just finding their feet.

bobcat boardwalk trailhead sign in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Bobcat Boardwalk Trailhead

It’s a self-guided walk that passes through the sawgrass slough and tropical hardwood forests. It’s also a one-way trail, so you won’t need to turn back on yourself at any point.

view of Shark Valley visitor center from the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail,  Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
You can see the Shark Valley visitor center at points during along this trail – where you pick up the tram tour, if you plan to book that trip!

I love that you get great views of the gators and pig frogs from here. Plus, the start of the trail is right by the Shark Valley Visitor Center if you need to do any last-minute diaper changes.

along the Bobcat boardwalk trail in Shark Valley Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Bobcat Boardwalk Trail (its quick, easy, and you’ll likely spot alligators and birds among other wildlife during your walk)

2. Anhinga Trail

Distance: 0.8 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Starts from the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

If you’re on the lookout for guided Everglades National Park hiking, it’s tough to beat the Anhinga Trail. This trail meanders through the sawgrass marsh and is amazing for wildlife-spotting…and side note, it was our family’s favorite trail in the park, by far.

sign at beginning of the Anhinga trail,  Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
The Anhinga trail is named for the Anhinga bird, seen on the sign above. Its a water fowl, much like a Cormorant AKA “snake bird”. You have a great shot of seeing them (and lots of other wildlife) along this trail

This hiking trail is best-known for its variety of birds like anhingas (hence the name!), egrets, and herons. But you’ll also spot alligators and turtles as you stroll along.

boy standing along the Anhinga trail in Everglades NP, FloridaPin
Hudson enjoying the Anhinga trail – he spotted a cormorant on a tree – see if you can spot it in this shot as well.

Because this is a short trail, it’s perfect for kids with relatively short attention spans (AKA: toddlers!). This is one of the most popular trails as it’s so easy to see wildlife in its natural habitat here.

family walking the boardwalk on the Anhinga trail in Everglades NP, FloridaPin
Encourage your crew to just stop for a few minutes along this trail…the more still you are, the more wildlife will suddenly come into view…from snails to fish to turtles…you’ll see it all here!

That means it’s one of the spots for Everglades National Park hiking that gets busy. So, try to arrive early if you can. Luckily, there is plenty of parking at Royal Palm Visitor Center.

Anhinga Trail at sunset, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Ahinga Trail at sunset

Top tip!

This is an easy hike that offers a guided ranger talk and a guided walk during the day. These are currently running at 10:30 am (for the guided walk) and 1:30 pm (for the sit-down talk with park rangers). They’re both super interactive and great for little ones who might be new to Mother Nature!

3. Mahogany Hammock Trail – largest living mahogany tree

Distance: 0.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Around 20 miles from the main park entrance (Ernest Coe Visitor Center)

The Mahogany Hammock Trail is another great Everglades National Park hiking option for families. It passes through lush island forest and boasts hardwood hammocks and gumbo-limbo trees that grow out of the marshes (it’s truly a sight to behold!).

trailhead sign for Mahogany Hammock Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The paved trail is stroller-friendly, but it’s quite far from the park’s entrance. However, it’s definitely worth checking out as it’s home to the largest living mahogany tree!

There’s also a lookout point that offers panoramas over the Everglades if you want an impressive family shot. Plus, it takes just 10 minutes to hike from start to finish. Just remember to read the informational signs dotted along the path – they share some amazing facts about the vegetation that you might miss otherwise.

Mahogany Hammock Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Along the Mahogany Hammock Trail

There’s not tons of wildlife on this trail, but you’re bound to spot birds and lizards around. This easy trail isn’t usually quite as busy as other options around the Everglades as it’s slightly out of the way.

Mahogany Hammock Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Along the Mahogany Hammock Trail

4. Pinelands Trail

Distance: 0.4 mile (loop)

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Right by a roadside pullout by the Main Park Road (you’ll spot it by the turning for Long Pine Key Campground)

The Pinelands Trail is short and sweet, but it packs a serious punch. It’s characterized by a load of limestone bedrock and is perched on a high point in Long Pine Key. Don’t worry – the trail is short with virtually no elevation (and is 100% stroller-friendly!).

Pinelands trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Pinelands Trail (Everglades NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

As you walk along the trail, you can point out Liguus Tree Snails to your kids. They have distinctive shells that are usually ivory or tan, and they’re usually clinging to Jamaican dogwood or gumbo limbo trees.

This is one of the best short hikes in the area if you want to see unique wildlife, tropical forest, and the karst rockland landscape that sets this area apart.

Pineland Nature Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Along the Pineland Nature Trail

5. Guy Bradley Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: By the Flamingo Campground and the Flamingo Visitor Center

If you’re around the Flamingo area, the Guy Bradley Trail is a great family-friendly option for Everglades National Park hiking.

It’s named after Audubon warden Guy Bradley who was killed in 1905 trying to protect a vulnerable bird rookery around Florida Bay. You’ll spot a few informational signs along the way explaining this, and they’re well worth reading.

Guy Bradley trailhead sign in Flamingo, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin

It’s one thing that you get glorious views of the Florida Bay from here. But it’s a fabulous way to get between the Flamingo Group Campground and the Flamingo Visitor Center. Oh, and you’ll also see a variety of birds and butterflies as you stroll along!

along the Guy Bradley trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
along the Guy Bradley Trail (Everglades NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s generally considered easy, but the 1.5-mile trail might be slightly too long for toddlers. Luckily, it’s well-paved and stroller-friendly.

Guy Bradley trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
View along the Guy Bradley Trail (Everglades NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

6. West Lake Mangrove Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Just off Main Park Road (it’s around 7 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center).

If you’re interested in seeing white, red, black mangrove trees, you need to check out the West Lake Trail. It’s a boardwalk-style trail that passes through a mangrove forest full of bromeliads before hitting the shores of a huge lake.

NPS ranger talks with visitors along West Lake in Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
NPS ranger talks with visitors along West Lake

It’s shaded throughout, which is amazing when you’re baking under the midday Florida sun. I also appreciate that there are several benches along the boardwalk that let kids rest their legs (with great views of the lake!).

water view from West Lake Mangrove Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
view from the West Lake Mangrove trail

7. Eco Pond Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Right at the tip of the Main Road in Flamingo.

Most of the Everglades National Park hiking spots are relatively relaxing, but Eco Pond Trail takes the cake. It’s a short grass path that trails along the edge of the freshwater pond. The views are gorgeous, and you’re very like to see gators, soft shell turtles, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, and herons around here.

Snowy Egrets, Eco Pond, EvergladesPin
Snowy egrets along Eco Pond Trail (Everglades NPS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s perfect for kiddos, as the entire walk takes under 10 minutes and is easy to cover without stopping. Just try and reserve around 30 minutes of your day to do this trail – I’ve found myself spending ages watching the wading birds here (so, don’t rush it!).

The only downside to this one is that strollers can sometimes struggle with the unpaved walkway. It’s not a deal-breaker, but you’ll need to push your stroller with relative force and check the wheels afterwards for any mucky grass. If you’re unsure, it’s an easy walk that most little ones can do without a stroller.

Eco Pond Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
view from the Eco Pond trail

8. Pahayokee Overlook Trail

Distance: 0.16 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Around 12 miles from the park entrance (there’s parking right by the trailhead)

Coming in at just 0.16 miles, the Pahayokee Overlook Trail offers a raised observation platform. So, it’s wonderful if you want to take in panoramas over the sawgrass prairies and wetlands from every angle.

trailhead sign for pahayokee overlook, everglades national park, floridaPin
Pahayokee Overlook Trail

Aside from the lush vegetation, you’ll also see alligators, snakes, and wading birds from your awesome overhead vantage point.

Pahayokee Overlook Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Pahayokee Overlook Trail

The short length means you can cover this trail in about 3 minutes, and it’s a great tail to shove in just before heading home. Just be aware that it’s a fair distance from the park entrance if you’d rather do it at the start of the day. It’s also mostly in the sun and doesn’t offer much shelter – so, it’s best to get in and get out!

sign at the Pahayokee overlook, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
sign and view at the Pahayokee Overlook

9. Otter Cave Hammock

Distance: 0.25 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Near the Shark Valley Visitor Center just off Tram Road

Otter Cave Hammock is one of my favorite picks for Everglades National Park hiking trips. It’s a limestone trail that passes through tropical hardwood forest, and you get an excellent view of the solution holes on the Everglades floor.

I love that it gets you into the best of the Everglades quickly, but has 0 elevation gain and a very short total distance. So, it’s generally suitable for all ages. Just be wary of the trail after it rains if you have a stroller – the mud can be tricky to navigate around here.

Top tip!

It’s a bummer, but this trail can sometimes get flooded during the summer. So, it’s wise to check in at the Shark Valley Visitor Center for current conditions before wading in (literally!).

Everglades National Park Hiking Guide: Otter Cave trailhead, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Otter Cave Hammock Trailhead (Everglades NPS Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

10. Gumbo Limbo Trail

Distance: 0.4 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: It’s around 4 miles from the Main Park Entrance and starts from the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

If you’ve been searching for self-guided Everglades National Park hiking spots, the Gumbo Limbo Trail is tough to beat. It’s just 0.4 miles long and is littered with hammocks of gumbo limbo trees, air plants, ferns, and royal palms.

Gumbo Limbo trailhead signPin
Gumbo Limbo trailhead

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the Tourist Tree with its red, peeling bark (yep, it’s named after a “burnt-looking” tourist’s skin!).

It’s a paved trail and is great for strollers, and kids tend to find the hardwood hammocks fascinating. I also have never found it particularly crowded, and it’s a nice change from the bustling Anhinga Trail if your kids are feeling overstimulated. The trees themselves also provide plenty of shade (which I appreciate!).

Everglades National Park Hiking Guide: Gumbo Limbo Trail, Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Gumbo Limbo Trail

11. Tree Snail Hammock: A BONUS PICK!

Distance: 0.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Location: It’s right by the Loop Road Education Center.

This is a hike that’s technically in Big Cypress National Preserve, but it borders the freshwater marl prairies of the Everglades. It’s an incredible quarter-mile interpretive trail that boasts informational boards and a whole host of liguus tree snails.

I’ve included it on this Everglades National Park hiking rundown as it’s one of the best places to see tree snails in the area. You’ll also spot whisk ferns and sword ferns if you look carefully.

It’s a super educational spot for little ones, and you get unparalleled views of the subtropical hammocks from virtually every angle. I know I’m cheating slightly by including this one, but it’s worth the short drive from the Everglades!

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Tree Snail Hammock Nature Trailhead (Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Top Tips For Everglades National Park Hiking with Kids

Don’t forget to pick up a Junior Ranger Pack

If you’re looking to do some Everglades National Park hiking with kids, grab them a Junior Ranger Pack before you start. They’re available in English, Spanish, and Creole.

A Junior Ranger Booklet is completely free and is designed to connect young visitors to the park with activities, scavenger hunt bingo games, and everything in between!

You can pick them up at any of the Visitor Centers, but you can also download them online before going. You just need to email the park beforehand and they’ll send a copy to your email address.

junior rangers with Yellowstone Ranger after taking the pledgePin
The Thibodeau clan + friends as new Junior Rangers after completing the program and taking the pledge with Ranger Bob (in Yellowstone NP)

Don’t fail to prepare for the environment

Florida’s hot and humid weather can be particularly brutal during the summer months. We were in Everglades in the spring, and the weather was great…not too hot, and the bugs weren’t bad at all. But that’s not the case at all times of year.

family at the Shark Valley Everglades National Park entrance signPin

Besides the heat, you’ll also need to think about biting bugs along with the sun’s rays! I recommend dressing the family in long sleeves and applying bug spray liberally (don’t take this lightly!). You’ll also want to stay hydrated, as even the shorter hikes can tucker you out when its really hot.

family at the shark valley overlook tower Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
Our family at the Shark Valley overlook tower. You should always have water bottles nearby (on ANY national park adventure) on a family hike…everyone in our family has their own favorite. Mine is this national parks themed version!

Visit during the dry season

If you want to see wildlife while you’re hiking at Everglades National Park, the dry season (December to April) is a winner. The water levels tend to drop during this period and wildlife will start to gather near the remaining water holes out in the open.

kayaks in Everglades National Park, FloridaPin
kayaks in Everglades National Park

Rent a car (or drive your own!)

Many of the Everglades National Park hiking trails are quite far away from each other. If you have a car, you can easily cover the park in a couple of days. But if you don’t, you won’t even be able to get to popular spots like the Anhinga Trail or the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

I also find the car useful for stocking snacks, air-conditioning breaks, and reducing overall walking time with the kids.

person seen taking picture through side mirror of car in yellowstone national parkPin

Check the park website before heading out

Although most trails will be open, unexpected flooding can put a dent in your Everglades National Park hiking plan. To avoid disappointment, call ahead or check in at the Visitor Center before making your itinerary for the day.

sunset airboat ride in everglades national park floridaPin
sunset airboat ride in the Everglades NP

Pin this Everglades family hikes information for later! And if you found this article helpful, leave a comment on the pin. That helps others decide whether to use this information, too!

Everglades National Park: 11 Best Family Friendly HikesPin
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About Heather Thibodeau

Heather Thibodeau is the founder and mom behind nationalparksmom.com.

She and her husband Dave (AKA Tib) are on a mission to travel to as many US national parks with their three kids in tow as they possibly can, doing their best to keep the little ones out in nature and off of screens in an increasingly digital world.

Heather has earned degrees in biology & chemistry from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies), and holds master's and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke University (Go Blue Devils).

Heather is also the creative force behind The Heathered Nest where she shares her love of all things DIY and home decor.

Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, This Old House, Today.com, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more.

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