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Know Before You Go, Big Cypress National Preserve


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

Start Planning! 

You’re about to go on an epic adventure at Big Cypress National Park! Here’s what you need to know before you go. 

  • The tour has two starting points:
    • Eastbound: The Tamiami Trail (Highway 90), near Miami Florida 
    • Westbound:  The Tamiami Trail (Highway 41), 20 miles west of Miami 
  • There is no entrance fee to visit Big Cypress National Preserve. 
  • Big Cypress is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 
  • The preserve has two visitor centers, both close at 4:30 p.m. 
  • Pack bug repellent - especially in the wet (summer season). 
  • We recommend only attempting the Scenic Loop Drive if your vehicle is equipped for offroading. 

Budgeting and Hours of Operation 


Great news! Big Cypress National Preserve is FREE to visit. There are some stops on the tour that require an entrance feed, we’ve listed those below. 

  • Shark Valley - $35 (plus tram admission)
  • Miccosukee Indian Village - $25
  • Skunk Ape Headquarters - $12 per person
  • Collier-Seminole State Park - $5 per vehicle more info

Hours of Operation 

Big Cypress is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Please note that although the park is open 24/7, the visitor centers have varying hours of operation. We’ve listed those below: 

Get Packing!

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​​Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day. 

  • Headphones
  • Car charger
  • Layered clothing 
  • Refillable water bottles
  • Hiking/walking Sticks, 
  • Good shoes/boots or sturdy sandals designed for hiking 
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks 
  • Hats/Sunglasses 
  • Camera/phone Cleanser (Those trails can get pretty dusty!) 
  • Bug spray - A MUST!

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Best Time to Visit 

The best time to visit Big Cypress is during the “dry season,” which is September through May. During this time, the weather is much less humid, and there are less mosquitos! 

Leave No Trace 

While exploring, we encourage you to abide by the leave-no-trace principles. Embrace the outdoors responsibly with our commitment to preserving natural wonders.

Respect wildlife habitats, minimize your footprint, and carry out memories, not waste. By following Leave No Trace principles, you contribute to the longevity and beauty of our planet's most stunning landscapes.

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 Itinerary.

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