Down Under in Florida - Page 3

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Florida Gator
Not A Petting Zoo: A Florida 'gator  (PhotoDisc)

Day 4-5: Homestead to Everglades National Park (10 Miles)
For fresh local produce, have breakfast at Farmer's Market Restaurant (305.242.0008) and get an early start to Everglades National Park's main entrance—just be sure to pick up some camp food, because the park's restaurants are indefinitely closed due to hurricane damage. Take the time to stop at the Visitor Center (305.242.7700) outside the gate and the Royal Palm Visitor Center inside the park. The latter's short Anhinga Trail is most dependable for spotting alligator, roseate spoonbill, wood stork, and other birds. Then proceed 35 miles to Flamingo and stake your campsite (800.365.CAMP), first come first served. The waterfront campground has cold showers, a dump station, picnic tables, and grills. Then head to the marina (239.695.3101; www.flamingolodge.com)—look for saltwater crocodiles sunning around the ramp—to rent a canoe or bike, or to sign up for a boat tour of Whitewater Bay. Note: Some programs and facilities may still be unavailable due to hurricane damage, so check ahead.

Ask at the marina for a trails map and spend two Everglades days on the canoe, biking, and hiking trails around Flamingo and off the main road leading to Flamingo. For the best birding, walk or bike to Eco-Pond early morning or at sunset (check ahead on bike rental availability, or bring your own rigs).

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