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U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail, Everglades, Florida

U.S. wildlife experience, Anhinga Trail: lazy traveler dream. Meet alligators, turtles, Anhinga, and many other animals without efforts.

The first part about Everglades National Park is here. This is the second part.
Among many wonderful places we saw in the U.S./Canada we can name just a few where wildlife is abundant. Yellowstone, Banff NP, Hawaii, and Florida are on the top of our list. We love them for one more reason: the possibility to explore without tons of effort, with little ones, or limited mobility. “U.S. wildlife experience, Anhinga Trail” is about what to expect from the #1 wildlife trail in Florida.

The Trail named after Anhinga, the waterbird with many nicknames: "Snake Bird", "Darter", etc.
The Trail named after Anhinga, waterbird with many nicknames: “Snake Bird”, “Darter”, etc.

U.S. Wildlife Experience: Anhinga Trail. Car vandals

The very first thing you’ll spot at the trailhead parking – cars covered in tarps. We were puzzled by it until we noticed a box near the Visitor Center, in the pic below:

The black vulture might redecorate your car!

The moment we watched in horror as vultures flew in and started attacking the car, we no longer hesitated about covering it in tarp:

U.S. wildlife experience, Anhinga trail: Everglades bandit
U.S. wildlife experience, Anhinga trail: Everglades bandit

While no one knows for sure, it may be the oil in the rubber that attracts vultures.

Aside from damaging behavior, the vulture is a nice-looking bird:

U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail: black vulture
U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail: black vulture

How to explore Anhinga Trail

Anhinga trail has paved surface and boardwalk above wetlands. We spent around two hours on the trail: roundtrip is only 0.8 miles.

There are no tours are required, as in Shark Valley, (other popular Everglades destination), but you can participate in Ranger Programs. It is usually free with a park entrance fee and starts from Royal Palm Visitor Center.

Nobody knows the trail better than the rangers. We were late for the programs, but would love to participate
We’d love to go on a tour with a ranger. Nobody knows the trail better than they!

The best time to visit the Anhinga trail

The best time to visit the Anhinga trail is during the dry season. December through April is the driest time when wildlife is concentrated in the last wet areas instead of being scattered all around the park.

Anhinga Trail map:

Map of Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo (short and good for birding) trails
Map of Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo (short and good for birding) trails

U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail. Bird encounter

Anhinga Trail is named after the Anhinga, a large, black waterbird. It has many other names: “Snakebird”, “Water turkey”, “Darter” etc. More likely you’ll spot it on the trail drying its wings after diving, as in the picture below:

Am I not beautiful? - Anhinga. Everglades
Am I not beautiful? – Anhinga. Everglades

In the picture below: a great blue heron.

Gators hunt on them as well as python, man-made invasive Everglades specie
This slender bird can actually consume baby gators!

Spooky master of camouflage, Barred Owl, in the picture below:

Such masters of camouflage, as this owl are hard to spot without ranger
Such masters of camouflage, as this owl is hard to spot without a ranger.

One of the common names for the Anhinga – snake bird, she is also very funny, check her out on Youtube:

Everglades bandits, Black Vultures, are curious and can come very close:

There were lots of them, as well as other birds and water birds
There were lots of them, as well as other birds and water birds

U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail

Florida is the only spot where alligators share a habitat with crocodiles. Most of the animals were alligators, like in the picture below:

U.S. wildlife experience Anhinga Trail: American Alligator.
U.S. wildlife experience Anhinga Trail: American Alligator.

How many gators can you spot in the picture below?

The right answer is 5 🙂

If you are patient you may spot a lot of big fish! In the pic below: fish the size of a turtle:

Florida Red-bellied turtle and big head fish
U.S. wildlife experience anhinga trail: Florida Red-bellied turtle, a big head fish

The dry season definitely is best for wildlife watching, otherwise, there would be much fewer animals seen. All pictures from the trip in late April:

U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail. Essentials

  • Please verify all the essential information (hours, prices, current conditions, etc.,)for the destinations before you go.
  • Bug spray isn’t necessary during the dry season but is good to have.
  • Sunscreen, hat, water bottle, rain jacket (rains are very possible even during the dry season), and comfy shoes. Please use only mineral sunscreen in Florida. Chemical ones are killing the reefs!
  • Good camera (you’ll need that zoom!) and/or binoculars. I use this for birding now.
  • National Park Annual Pass, if you already have one.
  • Keep kids at a safe distance from the gators. They could be fast and fierce!
  • Please respect the Park and take nothing besides pictures:
U.S. wildlife experience anhinga trail: Beautiful Cardinal air plant, endangered species. Partly because of illegal harvesting
Beautiful Cardinal air plant, an endangered species. Partly because of illegal harvesting

P.S. Anhinga Trail, Everglades N.P. Where to stay

We stayed at a pretty unusual place while visiting Everglades, – on the Florida Keys, the destination of its own. The only con was driving time, an hour one way.

The most popular locations for staying during exploring Everglades are definitely Miami and Homestead. Homestead is only 20 min driving time from the trail.


Thanks for reading guys! Enjoy Florida, it is much more than theme parks and beaches 🙂

Read next:

Everglades: Most Popular National Park in Florida

Swimming with Manatees: Florida Unique Experience

Best Island for Couples And Families in Florida

By Mrs. Grazy Goat

I am Ira, the author behind Grazy Goat. My husband and I run this blog and share our experiences about thrilling places and cultures. Our son Artem recently joined us and helps with editing.

We are very happy to have YOU here 😻

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