Affectionately called the “River of Grass” by author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the Everglades is one of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s most precious natural landscapes. The swamp makes up 1.5 million acres of the Sunshine State and is separated into multiple parks, including Everglades National Park, Everglades Holiday Park, and Big Cypress National Preserve. 

When you visit the Everglades this winter season, here’s what to keep in mind to make the most of your trip.


Everglades weather

While the Everglades are generally warm all year long, the winter months have cooler temperatures (highs in the high 70s with the possibility of dipping into the 50s for a day or two) and drier weather. 


Animal sightings
Alligator in the Everglades

There’s an incredible array of animals that live in the Everglades—but the one that draws visitors from around the world are alligators. Of the 1.25 million alligators that live in Florida, about 200,000 of them reside in the waters of the Everglades. It’s not uncommon to find them sunning themselves in the afternoon sun, but they’re tough to find when water temperatures drop below 73 degrees, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. During the drier and colder months, they’ll burrow into their dens and stop foraging until things warm up.

There are other exciting animal sightings, though. More than 40 mammals live in Everglades National Park, including white-tailed deer and bobcats. Don’t forget to look up, too, as rose-hued spoonbills, egret, Great Blue Heron, ibis, and other birds fly overhead. When your airboat slows for you to take in the scenery, check out the marble-sized water droplets that wobble around the top of lily pads (and any insects that find it to be a good resting spot).


Getting around
Airboat Group EUTS

Airboats are the most iconic way to get around the Everglades. These flat-bottomed boats use a propeller and are able to travel slowly through the waters when animals are spotted, or quickly maneuver at 35 miles an hour.

Airboat Tours Fort Lauderdale leaves from Parkland and offers private and guided one- to two-hour tours through the Everglades. Each airboat accommodates eight riders and guides are able to lead guests on tours both in English and Spanish.

At Everglades Holiday Park, your whole group can enjoy a 60-minute airboat tour. Rides leave the dock every 20 minutes and they can also accommodate groups of more than 10 people. Plus, each ticket gets you access to the thrilling alligator presentation performed by the Gator Boys from Animal Planet’s hit series.

If you really want to take in the sights and sounds of the Everglades, opt for a day trip with Everglades Day Safari. The 9.5-hour adventure led by a biologist or naturalist includes an airboat ride, a one-mile nature hike, a wildlife drive, a boat ride through the mangroves, lunch, and a reptile presentation. If you’re looking for a shorter experience, Captain Bob’s Excellent Adventure offers an airboat ride, a short nature walk, and a reptile presentation in 4.5 hours. Both experiences include pickups in Fort Lauderdale beach, Davie and Weston.

For more than 60 years, Everglades Swamp Tours has guided locals and visitors alike through the Everglades. Guests meet the guides off mile marker 35 on I-75 and can book 1-, 1.5-, and 2-hour private tours or 1-hour group tours. The experienced guides will point out alligators, birds and other wildlife that call the swamp home.

The Florida Everglades is a treasure in Greater Fort Lauderdale, and when you’re in town for the winter months, be sure to explore this jewel of the Sunshine State.