Where to stay near Everglades

Everglades is a unique treasure that’s located in South Florida. The incredibly vast tropical wetland is home to birds, lizards and gators. This place attracts millions of visitors each year. But where to stay near Everglades for the best experience?

Great options are Naples/Marco Island, Everglades City, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and the Upper Keys.

Staying in Naples/Marco Island

Naples is located west of Everglades. Here you find beautiful beaches, shopping and dining.

The west coast of Florida is known to have calmer waters and a slower paced lifestyle, compared to the east coast and Miami.

And from Naples to Everglades City the driving time is about 45 minutes. Here you find the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, airboat operators and a gateway to a maze of waterways and mangrove islands.

If you want to stay on an island and live at even slower pace than in Naples, Marco Island is a superb option. Marco Island has just like Naples a beautiful beach, and the island is even situated a little bit closer to Everglades City.

All in all, both Naples and Marco Island are great options that merge the beach stay with Everglades. Here you effortlessly can enjoy the beautiful slow paced beach life of Florida’s west coast and the wilderness of the vast wetland.

Waves crashing in on Marco Island
Island vibe on Marco Island.

Staying in Everglades City

If you just want the fastest possible access to the park, Everglades City is a great bet. The town is located on the western border of the park. When you stay here it feels a lot like like staying in the Everglades.

And when you stay that close to wilderness you can’t expect a beach front or dreamy resort. You find some accomodation options here, although they are not five-star options.

In Everglades City you find the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, airboat operators and a gateway to the waterways and mangrove islands in the southern end of the park.

To sum up, Everglades City is a great option if you want to focus on a simple living as close to the wilderness as possible. But you should look somewhere else if you prefer a beach location or higher-end hotels.

Gator in the Everglades
A gator in the Everglades.

Staying in Miami/Fort Lauderdale

If you stay east of the Everglades in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area you can combine beach and urban life with life in the wilderness.

Shark Valley Visitor Center is located around 50 minutes west of Miami. If you stay in Miami/Fort Lauderdale you are also about an hour away from Ernest Coe Visitor Center further south. Close to Ernest Coe you additionally find the short but appreciated Anhinga Trail.

If you want to travel even further south, Flamingo visitor center is about another 50 minutes away from Ernest Coe Visitor Center.

In short, Miami/Fort Lauderdale is a great option for where to stay near Everglades if you want to be able to combine a beach vacation and a big city pulse with exploring the famous wetland.

Beach with palm trees and high rises as base for Everglades visit
Beach and city atmosphere in Miami.

Staying in the Upper Keys

Another option is to have the Upper Keys as your home base while you discover Everglades. Then you get both the laid-back atmosphere of Florida Keys and the wilderness of the huge wetland.

Florida Keys is famous for the relaxed island vibe and fantastic activities in and on the water. Boating, diving, snorkeling and fishing are popular activities here.

From Key Largo it takes about 50 minutes to get to Ernest Coe Visitor Center, southwest of Homestead. If you prefer Islamorada, you need to add another 30 minutes to that. And from Ernest Coe Visitor center you need to add another 50 minutes to get to the Flamingo visitor center.

Summing up, to stay in the Upper Keys is a great option if you want both Florida Keys and the Everglades in one package. When you stay here you combine the laid-back atmosphere and the water activities of Florida Keys with the Everglades wilderness.

Blue water, white sand and green palm trees
Islamorada in Florida Keys.

Continue reading: The best ways to see alligators in the Everglades, Florida >>

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