If you are planning a trip to Florida it’s likely that you hope to see the animal we all associate with the state. The feared and sometimes erratical alligator. It’s possible to find the iconic Florida animal all over the state. But where to see alligators in Florida for the best experience?
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The ultimate place to see alligators in Florida
All waters in Florida can potentially harbor alligators. Time after time it’s reported about alligators found where you don’t suppose them to be. But nothing beats seeing alligators in their natural habitat in the Everglades National Park in Florida.
Everglades is a unique region in the southern part of Florida. The tropical wetland is not like any other in the world. Here hundreds of bird species, lizards and the main attraction the alligators can be found.
You can see alligators as you airboat, drive through or even hike Everglades National Park.
To keep the alligator experience pleasant it’s important to remember to keep your distance. 60 feet (18 m) is generally regarded as a safe distance to alligators. Also, remember that it’s illegal to feed any gators you might encounter.
Airboat Everglades National Park
A popular way to see alligators in the Everglades is by taking an airboat tour. That’s a great option, which with little effort can take you deep into the wetlands. By taking a tour by airboat you get to places you otherwise can’t reach.
A problem with an airboat tour is that most alligators you spot will be in the water. And when they are in the dark liquid the look you get isn’t as comprehensive as if they were on land. On the other hand, the water is really the true home for the alligator and it’s a special thing to see alligators in their natural element.
See alligators in Everglades National Park from your car
At a first thought it might seem a bit illogic to see Everglades by car. Afterall, a car can’t take you to the untouched areas of the wetlands that an airboat can. However, you don’t need to be deep into the wild to spot an alligator.
Loop Road in Ochopee connects to US 41 that goes straight through south Florida from coast to coast. It’s a very interesting detour if you drive from Miami to Naples. Just be prepared that the road is very limited. It’s a dirt road, so you shouldn’t go there if you’re in a hurry anyway.
It’s very likely that alligators will show themselves close to the road or even on the road. But, it of course depends on a lot of factors, including weather and time of the visit, if the alligators choose to stay on the surface or not.
It takes a little more than 1 hour to drive the entire stretch depending on how carefully you drive. With all possible gator stops along the way it’s wise to budget for at least 2 hours. If you’re lucky and a lot of alligators are out it’s like a Florida safari.
Read more: 7 reasons to visit the Everglades >>
See alligators in Everglades NP when you hike
A third option if you are brave enough to exit your vehicle and step out is to go for a hike in the Everglades. One of the most popular trails in the Everglades is the Anhinga Trail.
It’s located close to Homestead between Miami and Florida Keys. That makes the Anhinga Trail a very convenient stop if you make a road trip between Miami and Key West and want to see some Everglades wildlife.
The Anhinga Trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center and from the 0.4 mile (600 m) long boardwalk you have great chances to spot alligators. Other animals you might spot apart from gators are turtles, anhingas, herons and egrets.
Even though the Anhinga Trail isn’t very long it gives you a good feeling for the Everglades. And especially if you spot alligators it’s extremely memorable.
Where to stay when exploring
Use the booking tool below to find the perfect Everglades accommodation. Browse the map for options in various areas, or click on the search button to get all options listed.
Where to see alligators in Florida FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to see alligators in Florida.
Everglades in Florida is one of the best places in America to spot alligators. But American alligators can be found throughout Southestern United States. That apart from Florida includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Although alligators can be found all over the state of Florida, the Everglades is the perfect place to encounter alligators. Here you can take an airboat tour, go for a hike or even see gators from the window of your own car.