Miami: Side Trips

4. Everglades National Park

florida side trips Everglades National Park Atlantide Phototravel / Corbis
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For those of us who like our outdoors without the tourist trappings, there is Everglades National Park, 1.5 million acres of glorious low-lying, subtropical wilderness. If you have less than a day, enter the park through Homestead (about 45 minutes south of Miami), at the Ernest Coe Visitor Center, the park's main entrance. Drive in just a few miles and you'll find the conjoined half-mile Aningha and Gumbo Limbo trails. These offer a good — and speedy — surf-and-turf ecosystem combo: the former, an elevated boardwalk, goes right through sawgrass marsh (full of snoozing alligators), while the latter, a paved land trail, loops through a Tarzan-worthy patch of forest.

Got a couple of extra days on your hands? Head to Everglades City, about 90 minutes west of Miami, just off Rte. 41, where you can enjoy the park's unparalleled marine ecologies by canoe. Set up shop at the Ivey House B&B, which is, conveniently enough, also home to Everglades Rentals & Eco Adventures. The folks there can organize all manner of paddling trips, from morning river jaunts to multiday excursions that will help you totally unplug from your regular life.

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