One of THE top things that Everglades National Park is famous for is alligators!
So then of course, one of the things you MUST do when you are in the Everglades is see some alligators!
So yes, there are alligators in Everglades National Park!
You have a few places to choose from for a better chance to see alligators in the Everglades. This list is below!
Now, alligators in the Everglades are wild.
This means that they do what they want when they want.
This means that there is no guarantees that you will see alligators when you go to Everglades National Park.
That said, there are places within Everglades National Park that alligator sightings are common.
So by going to these places, you can drastically increase you chances of seeing alligators in the Everglades!
You can even make it a perfect one day in Everglades National Park all about alligators!
Don’t feed the alligators!
While alligator attacks do happen, alligators are generally not interested in people.
It requires everyone’s help to keep it that way.
Feeding alligators is a way for alligators to become more comfortable with humans… and to learn to approach you (and other humans) for food!
And then alligators can become even more dangerous to humans!
When you see alligators, just observe!
Try not to do anything that would cause them to change their behavior.
Here's some info on Florida trip prep!
- What to pack for a Florida beach trip
- What to pack for a Florida springs trip
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Florida
- Do you need water shoes?
- Personal swim buoy float is perfect for swimming in the ocean
I have a lot of 30-90 second Florida outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly below, it might be because you have an ad blocker. Save the Florida outdoors video playlist to watch on youtube later!
More for your time in South Florida and beyond:
- 2 hours at South Pointe in Miami Beach
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park snorkeling in Key Largo
- Bahia Honda State Park camping in the Florida Keys
- Things to do in Everglades National Park
- Tamiami Trail alligators
- Miami to Key West road trip
- Tampa to Miami road trip
Alligators in the Everglades: Best places to see alligators in Everglades National Park in Florida
1. Shark Valley
One of the absolute best places to see alligators in Everglades National Park is in the area of the park called Shark Valley.
THE thing to do to see alligators is to do the Shark Valley Trail.
It’s called the Shark Valley Tram Trail, and it’s a 15 mile paved trail
This trail starts from the Shark Valley Visitor Center of Everglades National Park.
Yes, there is a tram that you can take to go along the Shark Valley Tram Trail. ($)
👆 Spot the baby alligators!
👆 I know, you can’t really see these baby alligators very well. But if you do see baby alligators in Everglades National Park, you’ll be able to see them more clearly in person!
But the tram isn’t the only way to do the trail!
You can bike Shark Valley. ($ for Shark Valley bike rental or FREE if you bring your own bike)
You can even walk part of Shark Valley.
And yes, no matter which option you choose, even walking, you can have a chance to see alligators in Shark Valley… and more wildlife!
The tram will be the most convenient and efficient way to do Shark Valley.
It’s a 2 hour tram ride through Shark Valley, and it will be the least amount of effort!
But the stops you make will be up to your tram driver.
While the tram will make some stops for alligators (and other wildlife), if you see an alligator that you want to get a closer look at, the tram may not always stop.
On the tram we went right by a group of smaller alligators without stopping, since we had to make it back by a certain time for the end of the tram tour. That was a bit disappointing.
If you are biking, you will be able to go at your own pace, stop when you want to stop, and take a closer look when you want to spend longer looking at those little alligators. Of course, it also requires more effort since you are biking on your own!
And similarly with walking, you can go at your own pace and stop when you want to stop… but you won’t be able to cover as much ground!
But, I did also start walking along the trail and saw a few alligators too.
So if you absolutely don’t want to pay for the tram ride or a bike rental, or you don’t want to put it all the physical effort, or you just don’t have that much time, then it is still worth walking a little bit for a chance to see some alligators.
The more you walk, the more you’ll increase your chances!
I didn’t walk that much, but walking maybe 5-10 minutes one way, I saw several alligators and countless turtles swimming.
Start off walking on the West Tram Trail!
There is also the East Tram Trail.
Both trails lead to the Shark Valley Observation Tower.
You can make it a loop if you’re doing a bike ride.
The “destination” can be the Shark Valley Observation Tower.
A Shark Valley tour guide compared the Shark Valley Observation Tower to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So if you have been there, you may feel the similarity!
If you’ll be going to the Shark Valley Observation Tower, then there’s also a nearby short trail that you can do for another chance to see alligators. That’s coming up on the list.
Tickets for Shark Valley tram rides to sell out, especially on weekends, so it’s best to book in advance, which you can do through Shark Valley Tram Tours. That is how you can book a bike rental too.
The Everglades airboat tour starts outside Everglades National Park along the Tamiami Trail.
The Tamiami Trail is US-41 and a road that you can drive if you will be driving between Miami and Naples.
Doing an Everglades airboat tour is riding through the Everglades through tall grasses as seen on TV!
If you ever watched CSI Miami and remember those scenes of an aerial view of a boat ride through the Everglades, that’s an airboat ride!
There are 3 airboat tour companies that are conveniently located along US-41 Tamiami Trail that are also partners of Everglades National Park.
Here is where to go for Everglades airboat tours along Tamiami Trail:
These are the “authorized airboat businesses,” as authorized by the National Park Service to do business in Everglades National Park.
Out of the 3 Everglades airboat companies, I ended up doing a Coopertown airboat tour, more or less because the name sounded less commercialized and more “natural” and “wild” compared to “safari park” or “gator park.” 😜
But well, it turns out Coopertown one also had a “gator show.” (And you might as well go see it because it’s included in your ticket cost!)
The gator show lasts about 10 minutes and they will tell you about the alligators they have in captivity. It’s even said that one of the alligators has a claim to fame with an appearance on CSI Miami! (And other movies and TV shows.)
Aside from that, I asked one group on the tour why they chose Coopertown and one of the reasons they said was because it had the best reviews.
You also do have a chance to see alligators if you do an Everglades airboat tour.
According to a park ranger at an Everglades National Park visitor center, the airboat tour seems to be more about the ride than it is about seeing alligators.
Still, I did see a few alligators during the Everglades airboat tour!
👆 Spot the swimming alligator!
👆 Spot the swimming alligator!
3. Anhinga Trail
The Anhinga Trail is considered to be one of the best spots to see alligators in Everglades National Park by foot.
Although, I only got a good look at one. (Better than none!)
When I got started on the trail I asked people who were returning if they saw alligators. I was told to just keep going straight back, so that’s what I did!
I followed the paved trail to the end where there a lookout spot.
And sure enough, there were alligators!
One was just popping its head out.
Another you could see more clearly!
👆 Spot the alligator!
Part of the Anhinga Trail is also a boardwalk.
So on the way back I walked the boardwalk.
There was someone who seemed to be looking at something off in the water, and it turns out you could see a alligator’s head (eyes, really!) popping out of the water! You had to look carefully!
Aside from alligators, you also have a chance to see the bird called the anhinga on the Anhinga Trail!
And I did see an anhinga on the way back! It was just standing on the railing with its classic look of wings spread out.
4. Borrow Pit Trail
This is the short trail that you might as well do if you will be going to the Shark Valley Observation Tower!
Once you get past the bike parking area and you are walking towards the Shark Valley Observation Tower, you will see a trail sign off on the left side.
It can take like 5 minutes and you can see if there’s an alligator hanging out when you get to the bridge!
👆 Spot the alligator! Just kidding. I took this picture and I could barely figure out where the alligator is! 😆 When you are out looking for alligators, you do sometimes need to look carefully though! It may not always be obvious!
If you do the Shark Valley tram, you can make time to do this trail as well.
More places to see alligators near Everglades National Park: Tamiami Trail
👆 Alligators laying along the Tamiami Trail. If you will be driving the Tamiami Trail to get to or from Everglades National Park (like driving between Naples and Miami), stop by the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve to get a closer look at the alligators!
If a chance to see alligators is VERY important to you, then I also HIGHLY recommend making it out to Big Cypress National Preserve.
You will find this as you are driving along Tamiami Trail.
While there are many places within Big Cypress National Preserve to see alligators, for the best chance, be sure to stop at the Oasis Visitor Center.
When coming from Naples or Marco Island, you can drive Tamiami Trail (aka US-41) to get to Everglades National Park, and you will drive right past Oasis Visitor Center.
You must stop!
There seems to be a very good chance you will see tons of alligators!
There were truly so many alligators.
Lots of alligators were just laying around, and some alligators were swimming!
If you have more time, then also try the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk Trail in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, also along the Tamiami Trail.
First I did see alligators here in the parking area before even starting the trail.
And then I did see alligators more at the very end of the boardwalk. This is a walk of about 1 mile round trip.
And then a quick stop along the Tamiami Trail for a chance to see alligators is HP Willliams Roadside Park also in Big Cypress National Preserve.
I did also see alligators here.
So you will drive right past all of these stops with a chance to see alligators if you are driving the Tamiami Trail between Naples and Miami:
- Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
- HP Williams Boardwalk, Big Cypress National Preserve
- Oasis Visitor Center, Big Cypress National Preserve
Listed in order as you will come across them when driving the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Everglades National Park.
If you are driving to Everglades National Park from Miami, then it will be a drive of about 20-30 minute drive to get from Shark Valley in Everglades National Park to Oasis Visitor Center. (map) And then the other mentioned stops are further west.
See more about alligators in the Everglades:
And those are some places to try to see alligators in the Everglades!
More for your Florida road trip:
- Where to see crocodiles in Everglades National Park
- Things to do in Everglades National Park
- One day in Everglades National Park
- Miami to Key West
More of where to see alligators in Florida:
HAPPY SEEING ALLIGATORS IN THE EVERGLADES… HOPEFULLY!
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The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming.
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