The country’s first national preserve, Big Cypress protects a 700,000-acre swamp with a diverse range of tropical and temperate plant and animal species, including alligators, Florida panthers, anhingas, fox squirrels, river otters, mangrove trees and more than 30 kinds of orchid. Explore the park’s hiking and paddling trails on your own, or go on a free ranger-led swamp walk or guided canoe trip during the park’s busy season between November and April. It’s a perfect way to experience the timeless allure of the Everglades with only a fraction of the tourists you’d see at Everglades National Park.

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