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Brendaann Nov 7th, 2012 05:48 PM

Going to the Everglades from Bonita Beach
We have never seen any of the Everglades, and would like to drive over from Bonita Beach. Is there a certain entrance we should take and also would an airboat ride be our best bet? Please give us any ideas of what to do or not to do. We would have about half a day to devote to it. Thanks!

Ackislander Nov 8th, 2012 02:55 AM

You can't do it in half a day. Sorry. If you leave BB by 8 and have lunch somewhere along 41 near the park, you can be home between 5 and 6 (estimate). It is at least a two hour drive to Shark Valley, the nearest entry to the park, so you have at least four hours on the road, probably more coming home. You really should stop in Everglades City and Chokoluskee, and you will want to drive slowly to watch the alligators along the highway near the Turner River. It is a longish day.

emalloy Nov 8th, 2012 06:12 AM

I did the trip to Shark Valley from Ft. Myers, and the drive was not too bad and the tour in Shark Valley was neat. Another time we did the park service boat tour from Everglades City through the mangroves which was also very interesting.

Both are well worth the driving time.

Brendaann Nov 8th, 2012 06:44 AM

OK, say we do allow a whole day, what would be a great itinerary from Bonita Beach?

Ackislander Nov 8th, 2012 07:35 AM

Bonita Beach to US 41, US 41 to Shark Valley.

On the way, take the turnoff for Everglades City and Chokoluskee. You could take the boat tour into the Ten Thousand Islands from the far end of Everglades City, but its criminal history is more interesting. At the end of the road, Chokoluskee Store is a museum of local history. Go back to US 41.

Between the US 41 junction and Shark Valley, you will see the smallest Post Office in the US, and you will see a ton of alligators where you cross the Turner River. You can park at the crossing, but you will see alligators pretty much everywhere in the ditches along the highway. The birds in this area are pretty fantastic as well.

If you go on to Shark Valley, take the tour that emalloy mentions in the National Park, or take one of the airboat tours there. I am pretty sure I remember a couple of Seminole restaurants thereabouts if you didn't eat lunch in Everglades City or Chokoluskee.

NeoPatrick Nov 8th, 2012 10:56 AM

And whatever you do, stop at the Big Cypress Gallery just west of the little post office. Owner/photographer Clyde Butcher is the Ansel Adams of the Everglades and you'll be amazed at his huge and spectacular photographs. It's also FREE. The best 10 or 15 minutes of your entire day!

NeoPatrick Nov 8th, 2012 10:58 AM

Ooops. Just EAST of Ochopee Post Office, I mean. It will be on the right and is hard to miss.

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