We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

South Florida...
Destination Expert
for Miami, Key Largo
Level Contributor
3,659 posts
19 reviews
Save Topic
Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

This is a trip report of a 2 day adventure in the Everglades. 4 ladies tackled the Tamiami Trail Triathlon. This is a non-competitive event sponsored by the National Park to encourage people to explore the different habitats in the 'Glades. While it could be done in one day if you are really fit, spreading over two days allowed us to "stop and smell the sawgrass" along the way.

Day 1 - Saturday - We left Miami about 730 AM. With a stop for gas and stop and go traffic on US 41 due to on-going construction, we arrived at Shark Valley at 830. The parking lot was almost empty and we were the first to sign up for bike rentals. The bikes have wide seats and no gears. Perfect for the flat 15 miles ahead. We had baskets on 2 of the bikes to hold water, cameras, and as the day warmed, our jackets. Lots of great wildlife. Baby alligators, big alligators, tons of birds including wood storks and a flock of roseate spoonbills. The road was so quiet that we could hear the spoon bills putting their beaks in the water. The ride took about 2 hours including stops to see critters and a walk up the observation tower. The bike rental was $22. We all had a wonderful time and want to come back and repeat this ride. The key is the early start. By the time we left, there were cars lined up to get in and some folks were parking on the main road.

We had packed lunches so stopped at the midway campground to enjoy them. Then off to Big Cypress Oasis Center for a 3.1 mile hike. The center is right in the road and worth a stop for everyone. Lots of gators in the canal in front. The hike was a bit of a disappointment. Most of it is on a gravel road that was hard to walk on. It you follow in my trail footsteps, turn around and double back when you get to the road OR pick one of the other hikes on the Trail. Probably 1.5 hours here. Free.

At the suggestion of the ranger at Shark Valley, we took the boat ride out of the Everglades City visitor center. We all enjoyed this -- getting a peek at the kayaking for tomorrow plus lots of cool wildlife. Baby osprey in the nest and "teen" osprey taking first flights. Well narrated. All ages should enjoy this ride.

We checked into Everglades City Motel (separate review). I picked because each room had two beds. Clean and comfy. Would go back.

After cleaning up from our active day, we headed to Camellia Street restaurant. It was a perfect night to sit outside, listen to the live music and relax. Next up......a kayak adventure.

South Florida...
Destination Expert
for Miami, Key Largo
Level Contributor
3,659 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

Day 2 - We had checked the tide charts so we knew we wanted to start our paddle no earlier than 10 AM. (Otherwise we would be fighting a very rough incoming tide). Rented our boats from the visitor center (about 45 dollars). You have to have a whistle on the water which the vendor will sell you for $4 or you can bring your own.

There was a dry well in the kayak so you pack a lunch if you plan a long day. We just brought along water.

We could have gotten better directions on where we were headed but we found the place after a couple of false sightings.. Sandfly Key Dock. It took us 30 to 45 min to cross the open water to the little islands. We pulled up to the island and took the less than a mile hike there. Much better than Big Cypress! Beware of the poisonwood trees. I had flip flops but old sneakers might have been a better choice.

Back the the boats, we paddled around the island on the other side of Sandfly Key. Best part of the trip for me - - peaceful, beautiful mangrove area.

Another 30 to45 min of paddling took us back to the open water. We had a little tide against us but made it back to the dock without much trouble. Well, I did get too close to an oprey nest with babies and the parent let me know about that with much squawking!

This was the most physcially tiring part of the triathalon but as I said, my favorite part. I can't wait to come back to Everglades City, rent a boat (with a motor!) and explore those back islands.

Our 4 triathletes headed up to the Ranger Station, answered a few questions and then were pronounced Finishers! We each got a bumper sticker -- and some wonderful memories.

You can do this event over days or months. It's not timed, not competitive. But it is do-able for most people and it's a great way to see the Everglades.

Fort Lauderdale...
Destination Expert
for Fort Lauderdale, Miami
Level Contributor
12,749 posts
216 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

One question if I may, how much is the deposit required to rent the boats at Everglades City ? If so, how much ?

South Florida...
Destination Expert
for Miami, Key Largo
Level Contributor
3,659 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

There was no deposit for the kayak rental but I had paid with a credit card. Don't know if that made a difference.

Bay City, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Michigan
Level Contributor
5,258 posts
1,279 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

Have you ever taken the Tram Tour out of Shark Valley?

Or the boat rides out of Everglades City-the Mangrove tour?

5. Re: Tamiami Trail ---Just Do It!!!!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:16 am, April 03, 2014