A towering yellow structure stands tall, dominating the landscape with its impressive size and vibrant color.

A towering yellow structure stands tall, dominating the landscape with its impressive size and vibrant color.

Shaka Guide's Big Cypress National Preserve Itinerary


Map of Big Cypress National Preserve showing trails, waterways, and landmarks.

Nestled within the enchanting embrace of Florida's wilderness, Big Cypress National Preserve beckons with its untamed beauty. Are you ready to explore?!

Embark on an adventure through lush cypress swamps and towering pine forests as you move across the Big Cypress Scenic Loop Drive, the boardwalks of the many state parks, and the historical landmarks along the Tamiami Trail.

Immerse yourself in the rich natural range of this unique ecosystem, where alligators glide through murky waters and elusive panthers roam beneath the canopy.

Discover the cultural heritage of the Seminole Tribe, whose presence is deeply woven into the fabric of this natural wonderland.

Finally, bask in the calmness of starlit skies, knowing you've experienced the raw essence of the Everglades' rugged counterpart.

Big Cypress National Preserve Itinerary

1. The Tamiami Trail & Canal

Tranquil canal lined with lush greenery.Yanjipy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tamiami Trail runs along the Tamiami Canal, and the Canal plays a crucial role in managing water flow through the Everglades.

It was originally constructed in the early 20th century as part of a drainage system to reclaim land for agriculture.

2. Valujet Flight 592 Memorial

Duration: 10 min

The ValueJet 592 flight memorial in Big Cypress National Preserve commemorates the tragic crash of Flight 592 on May 11, 1996.

The memorial stands as a sad reminder of the airline disaster that claimed the lives of all 110 people on board.

Located in the remote wilderness of the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, the memorial serves as a place for reflection and remembrance, honoring the victims of this unfortunate event.

The site provides visitors with a quiet space to pay tribute to the lives lost and reflect on the impact of the tragedy on both the aviation industry and the families affected.

3. Shark Valley

Observation tower in Big Cypress National Preserve, surrounded by lush greenery.

Duration: 1-4 hours

At Shark Valley, visitors can explore the landscape via a 15-mile loop trail, which can be traversed on foot, by bicycle, or aboard a narrated tram tour.

The observation tower at Shark Valley provides panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness, offering opportunities to spot iconic Everglades wildlife such as alligators, wading birds, and other fascinating species in their natural habitat.

4. Miccosukee Indian Village

A man stands on a rock with a fake alligator in Big Cypress National Preserve.olekinderhook, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 1-2 hours

The Miccosukee Indian Village invites visitors to experience a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the tribe, featuring authentic thatched-roof homes, chickee huts, and handcrafted artifacts.

Visitors can witness captivating demonstrations of traditional arts, crafts, and vibrant tribal dances, providing insight into the Miccosukee way of life.

Surrounded by the pristine beauty of the preserve, the Miccosukee Indian Village serves as a bridge between the past and present, preserving and sharing the unique cultural legacy of this indigenous community.

5. The Big Cypress Scenic Loop

A paved road winding through trees and bushes in Big Cypress National Preserve.Daniel Di Palma, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: up to 5 hours

Spanning 27 miles, this scenic route winds through cypress swamps and pine forests, offering a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems of the region.

The road showcases the area's unique flora and fauna, with opportunities to spot wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species.

As you traverse the loop, immerse yourself in the serenity of the Everglades, enjoying in the beauty of towering cypress trees and the calmness that defines this scenic route.

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6. Tree Snail Nature Trail

Sign for nature trail at Big Cypress National Preserve.Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 1-2 hours

This interpretive trail, approximately 1.5 miles long, unveils the enchanting world of the rare Florida tree snail.

Wander through diverse ecosystems, from cypress swamps to hardwood hammocks, as informative signs guide you.

Marvel at the vibrant flora and listen to the soothing sounds of nature. The trail is not only a haven for tree snails but also home to diverse wildlife.

7. Clyde Butcher Gallery

Visit the gallery of legendary Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher. Butcher's dedication to preserving the Everglades extends far beyond his photography.

He is a vocal supporter of environmental protection, working tirelessly to raise awareness and inspire action.

Visiting the gallery is not just an aesthetic experience; it's an opportunity to connect with the vital mission of protecting this irreplaceable ecosystem

8. Oasis Visitor Center

Wooden walkway winding through the lush landscape of Big Cypress National Preserve.Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: up to 1 hour

At the Oasis Visitor Center, interactive exhibits and educational displays provide insights into the unique ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural history of Big Cypress.

Knowledgeable park rangers stand ready to assist, offering guidance on trails, activities, and conservation efforts. The center also serves as a trailhead for various scenic routes.

9. The Gator Hook Trail

Duration: 3-4 hours

This is a 5-mile, round-trip, strenuous hike along the Big Cypress Scenic Loop. Hikers may encounter cypress trees, sawgrass prairies, and various wildlife species, including alligators, which are common in the area.

10. Kirby Storter Roadside Park

Two birds perched on hilltop in Big Cypress National Preserve.KimonBerlin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 1-4 hours

Kirby Storter Roadside Park is a natural haven along the Tamiami Trail. This scenic spot boasts a boardwalk trail winding through lush cypress swamps, offering an immersive experience of the Everglades' diverse ecosystem.

Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing, and spotting birds and alligators, while educational signage enhances the understanding of this unique environment.

With convenient picnic facilities, it provides a tranquil setting for nature enthusiasts to unwind amidst the captivating beauty of Florida's flora and fauna.

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11. H.P. Williams Roadside Park

Scenic view of Big Cypress National Preserve with lush greenery and winding waterways.Gzzz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 1-4 hours

A short boardwalk snakes through cypress swamps, its wooden slats leading you over tranquil canals.

Beyond the boardwalk, a raised platform grants panoramic views of the shimmering swamp, its emerald hues stretching toward the horizon.

It's a front-row seat to nature's theater, where egrets and herons stage balletic fishing routines, and hawks soar overhead, casting fleeting shadows on the sparkling water.

12. Skunk Ape Headquarters

Bigfoot statue standing outside a store.

Duration: up to 1 hour

serves as a quirky hub for enthusiasts and curious visitors intrigued by the legendary creature known as the Skunk Ape.

The headquarters features exhibits detailing the history and folklore surrounding the elusive Skunk Ape, with lifelike displays and interactive presentations.

Visitors can explore the mysterious swamps and dense forests where sightings have been reported.

From merchandise to guided tours, the Skunk Ape Headquarters provides an immersive experience for those captivated by Florida's own cryptid phenomenon.

13. The Ochopee Post Office

Single white post in a grassy field under the sun.

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Visit the smallest post office in the continental US! Housed in a former toolshed, this postage-stamp-sized establishment has become a beloved roadside attraction.

Serving the local community with charm, it exudes a quaint atmosphere that transports visitors to a simpler time.

The one-person office has its own unique mailbox and exudes a rustic charm, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking an offbeat experience.

14. Nathaniel Reed Visitor Center

A massive alligator swimming in the water, showcasing its impressive size and strength.Bill Golladay, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: up to 1 hour

Named after environmental advocate Nathaniel Reed, this modern facility offers a warm welcome to nature enthusiasts.

Surrounded by the unique ecosystems of Big Cypress, the center provides educational exhibits, interactive displays, and insightful information about the preserve's flora and fauna.

Its architecture smoothly blends with the natural surroundings, emphasizing sustainability. Visitors can embark on trails from the center, immersing themselves in the vast landscapes and diverse wildlife.

15. Chokoloskee

Roadside sign points to campground, beckoning travelers to relax outdoors.LittleT889, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: up to 5 hours

Chokoloskee Island is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, offering abundant opportunities to explore its mangrove-lined waterways.

The village, with its small population, exudes a laid-back charm and is steeped in Native American and pioneer heritage.

Historic sites like the Smallwood Store Museum showcase its past.

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16. Museum of the Everglades

The First Lady's residence, a pink house with a signqwesy qwesy, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 1-2 hours

Housed in the former laundry building of the Collier Inn, the museum chronicles the captivating history of this unique region.

Exhibits showcase the area's Native American roots, pioneer era, and the impact of the Tamiami Trail.

Artifacts, photographs, and multimedia displays offer a vivid narrative of the Everglades' evolution.

17. Deep Lake

Water lily in pond with green leaves.Gzzz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 2-5 hours

Deep Lake is a pristine freshwater oasis surrounded by cypress swamps and pine flatwoods.

Fed by a natural spring, the lake boasts crystal-clear waters and a peaceful ambiance.

Nature enthusiasts can explore the surrounding wilderness, discovering diverse flora and fauna.

Elevated boardwalks provide immersive views of the lake, offering glimpses of alligators, wading birds, and the vibrant aquatic ecosystem.

18. Deep Lake Trailhead

A serene wooden walkway winding through a lush forest, embraced by towering trees on both sidesGzzz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: 2-4 hours

The approximately 3-mile loop trail offers an immersive journey through diverse ecosystems, including cypress swamps and pine flatwoods.

Visitors traverse elevated boardwalks and well-maintained paths, providing stunning views of Deep Lake's clear waters.

The trail caters to hikers of various skill levels, with interpretive signs highlighting the unique flora and fauna of the region.

Birdwatchers relish spotting local species, while the peacefulness and natural beauty make Deep Lake Trail a captivating adventure for those seeking a peaceful wilderness experience.

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19. Marsh Trail

Duration: 1-3 hours

Spanning approximately 2 miles, the trail curves along an elevated boardwalk, providing visitors with unobstructed views of the broad marshes and their diverse wildlife.

Interpretive signs offer insights into the ecosystem's significance, featuring alligators, wading birds, and lush vegetation.

The serenity of the marshes creates a peaceful ambiance, making Marsh Trail a haven for birdwatching and nature enthusiasts.

20. Collier-Seminole State Park

A sign displaying 'Collier-seminole State Park', surrounded by trees and a clear blue sky.Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Duration: up to 5 hours

Encompassing over 7,200 acres, the park blends tropical hammocks, mangrove swamps, and cypress forests.

A highlight is the unique Bay City Walking Dredge, a historic relic from the 1920s logging era.

Visitors can explore scenic trails, such as the Old Marco Road and the Canoe Trail, offering glimpses of diverse flora and fauna.

The park's campground and picnic areas provide opportunities for relaxation amid the natural beauty.


If you started your adventure in Naples, you'll end the tour about 15 miles outside of Miami, and if you started the tour in Miami, you'll end in Naples.

But wherever you end up on your Big Cypress Adventure, take a moment to reflect on the wonders you've encountered and the memories you've made amidst this captivating wilderness.

Whether you've explored its hidden trails, encountered its diverse wildlife, or delved into its rich cultural heritage, the preserve's beauty and allure leave an indelible mark on all who venture within its boundaries.

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Big Cypress National Preserve Tour!

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Big Cypress National Preserve Know Before You Go article.

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A scenic view of Big Cypress, a vast and expansive natural area with lush vegetation and diverse wildlife.

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