Ever engaging, ever beautiful and ever surprising - that's the Everglades, the jewel in the crown of South Florida. This massive prairie wetland, with its endless miles of saw grass, its tangled mangrove thickets and treasure chest of rare animal and plant life is one of the world's most unique environments - which makes Everglades National Park tours an absolute must for anyone holidaying nearby.
Think Everglades and you think 'swamp' - but it's actually a 50-mile wide, slow-flowing river that's rarely more than a foot deep and where one gallon of water takes a month to meander its way south to the ocean. It's also a wonderland of amazing plants, with 'rivers' of saw grass, tree islands studded with cypress and tropical hardwoods, and rare orchids, as well as a haven for wildlife: look out for bottlenose dolphins, manatees, alligators, crocodiles, bald eagles and herons.
Everglades National Park tours are made easier with the help of some top-class visitor centres stationed close to the park entrances and areas of interest. Here you can find out all about this mesmerising region via films, interactive exhibits and live talks. You can also book onto a ranger-led walk or activity and get to see the Everglades through the eyes of an expert.
But just how you explore the park, and how close up you get to its spectacular scenery and wildlife is up to you. For the most intimate of experiences you might want to hire a canoe and paddle through channels arched with foliage, where otters dive for cover. Or you might want to cruise through the backcountry on a guided tour, or walk one of the marked trails. You can even take a two-hour tram ride.
Whichever way you choose to experience the mind-blowing beauty of the Everglades, it'll be a trip you never forget.