The most robust part of the northern Everglades, this 221-square-mile refuge is one of two huge water-retention areas accounting for much of the 'River of Grass' outside the national park near Miami. Start at the visitor center, which has fantastic interactive exhibits and videos like Night Sounds of the Everglades and an airboat simulator. From there, you can take a marsh trail to a 20-foot-high observation tower, or stroll a ½-mile boardwalk lined with educational signage
through a dense cypress swamp. There are also guided nature walks (including some specifically for bird-watching), and there's great bass fishing (bring your own poles and bait) and a 5½-mile canoe trail loop (a rental kiosk is by the fishing pier).