Best Way To See Alligators In Everglades – You are here: Home / Activities / Things to Do / 14 Best Places to See Wild Alligators in Florida
Alligators in Florida are wild reptiles that are top predators! They are found only in the southeastern United States and came from Spanish settlers who discovered the creatures in Florida.
Best Way To See Alligators In Everglades
Found in ponds, wetlands, marshes, swamps, lakes and rivers, alligators increase plant diversity and provide space for other animals during droughts. This makes them very important to their ecosystem!
Places In Southern Florida To See Alligators
While alligators have been considered an endangered species since 1973, conservation efforts have reversed that! Florida, the official state reptile, now has lots of alligators!
South Florida is actually the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators can live together! While alligators are found in all 67 Florida counties, alligators are shy and are only found on Florida’s beaches.
Although both are dangerous creatures, alligators prefer freshwater habitats while crocodiles prefer saltwater habitats. Alligators have U-shaped faces, while alligators have more toothy smiles.
The average number of alligators in Florida is staggering: 1.25 million! This is incredible, considering that they were once endangered!
Baby Alligators And Everglades
There are now so many alligators that one of them is big enough to report to animal control. If an alligator shows up at your house and has more than four legs, you can report it as a “nuisance alligator” and animal control will take care of it.
How long do crocodiles live? Most of them live an average of 30-50 years. Some crocodiles live up to 70 years despite fighting for their lives. The oldest recorded life of a crocodile has passed 100 years!
Did you know that the alligator population grew so much that Disney World had to remove more than 200 of them between 2006 and 2015? Fortunately, crocodiles leave people alone and do not attack unless provoked.
Florida is home to two different species of alligators. American and Chinese alligators have made Florida their home, but the two couldn’t be more different.
Places To See Alligators In Southwest Florida
While the alligator is the largest reptile in North America, the American species is much larger than the Chinese alligator. The easiest way to tell the two apart is to look at their snouts. The Chinese alligator has a narrower and narrower snout than the American alligator.
While both species are carnivores, the Chinese crocodile has a weaker set of teeth and is better equipped to eat shellfish. That said, you need to be extra careful when dealing with American alligators.
American alligators will attack and eat anything if they are hungry enough. They attack turtles, humans and pets such as cats and dogs. Chinese crocodiles are known not to attack humans.
On average, the American alligator, the most common type of alligator in Florida, can grow up to 800 pounds and up to 13 feet long.
Everglades National Park: 5 Reasons You Should Visit This Florida Park
How big is the crocodile? Males grow to an average of 9.8-15 feet, while females only grow to 8.5 feet. Females usually rarely exceed 10 feet, but males can grow much larger.
How long do crocodiles live? In the wild, alligators can live 35-50 years. As amazing as they look, you should always be at least 50 feet away!
Everglades National Park is the third largest national park in the United States of America! With over 200,000 wild alligators calling this park home, this is one of the best places to see alligators in Florida!
The Everglades consists of 1.5 million acres of protected wetlands. This park consists of swamps with grass, pine forests and mangrove forests on the coast! It is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles can live together.
One Perfect Day In Everglades National Park
Alligators are one of the most important parts of the Everglades ecosystem. The nesting activity of the females is the biggest peat producer in the region!
The best place to see alligators in the Everglades is at the entrance to the park in Shark Valley. Ride the tram with the airboat! The nearest gate lookout will be on the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm, a ten minute drive from the Ernest Coe Visitor Centre!
While alligators are one of the park’s most dangerous predators, we recommend bringing insect repellent. Without it, mosquitoes are almost unbearable!
In the northeast corner of Hillsborough near Zephyrhills, you’ll find Hillsborough River State Park! The 2,900-acre park with more than 7 miles of trails is one of Florida’s oldest parks.
Our National Parks » Alligators Are Top Draw In Everglades
Popular due to its proximity to Tampa, alligator sightings are easy here! Among the many ecosystems on the way to the wetlands there are suitable habitats for crocodiles. These areas are perfect for them because they are so swampy!
Beware of luck on the rapids, there are almost always crocodiles sleeping on logs or swimming in the water. Walk across the fixed bridge and crocodiles will sunbathe on the beach across the river.
If you want to swim safely and without alligators, swim in a state park pool! Right next door is Hillsborough Park’s pool cafe, which offers food and drinks, as well as umbrella and sunbed hire!
When NASA bought the land that would become the Kennedy Space Center, there was a lot left over! The surrounding unused land will become the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Everglades National Park
To find the best places to see alligators along the trail, start at the visitor center. During the entire hike, you will see what life was like before the civilization of Cocoa Beach! Birds fly while Spanish moss hangs from the oak trees like cobwebs.
For $10, drive through Black Point Wildlife Drive. You’re sure to see an alligator from the safety of your car within a 7 mile drive! Alligators can be seen in the winter on warm, sunny days, but are usually seen in the sun during the winter and fall months.
If you’re hiking, don’t forget the bug spray! Be careful, alligators can sunbathe near these trails. Always be careful and make sure you never feed or disturb the alligators! Before heading home, stop at the manatee viewing center to see wild manatees!
North of Orlando, the 600 square mile Ocala National Forest is known for its sand pine forests. In addition to seeing alligators, this park is full of activities that are great for the whole family!
Animals & Alligator Show
The best place to see alligators is in the Ocala National Forest on the riverbank where they sunbathe on the beach! Alligators can be seen on Florida’s beautiful Black Bear Trail, a road that runs through the heart of the forest.
For a closer look, rent a canoe and take to the water on the Salt Springs Run. Recognized as one of the best paddling routes in the country, you can spend 2-4 hours in a canoe watching crocodiles on the beach. As the trees provide plenty of shade, this route is especially refreshing in the summer.
Meaca River State Park, located just off I-75, is an ideal destination for alligator sightings in Florida. In Sarasota County, a trip to see alligators in this 37,000 acre park is one of the best things to do in Sarasota!
Alligator sightings are possible year-round in all park waters, but park rangers say the best way to see these creatures is in early spring. Alligators like warm but not hot weather!
Everglades National Park: Alligators Everywhere!
During the hottest months of the year in Florida, alligators spend more time in the water. They like to lie on the bottom of rivers and lakes, where the air is cooler. Mating season is actually at the end of March, which is one of the easiest times to see alligators in Florida.
There is a “deep hole” in Miaka, a popular place where alligators gather like butterflies next to a lamp! Scientists and researchers couldn’t figure out the reason, but in one sighting, at least 120 crocodiles were seen in this area!
If you want a safer guided tour, follow the signs to Myakka base once you enter the park and find an airboat tour. If you decide to just walk along the park’s nature trails, signs warn you of the possibility of alligators!
Just south of Orlando, Lake Kissimmee is the third largest lake and third largest park in the state of Florida! Of all the attractions in Orlando, Lake Kissimmee National Park is ideal for seeing all kinds of wildlife, not just alligators.
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Just off SR 60, you can see bald eagles, sea owls, baboons and alligators in this lush park. But first you have to look for crocodiles in canals and lakes.
Lake Kissimmee is famous for its “cow camps,” where primitive Florida cowboys wrestled cattle in addition to alligators. Even today, more than six kilometers of routes are available for riders who don’t want to get their toes wet.
Central Florida’s Jessup Lake is one of Florida’s largest alligator homes, averaging 12,925 alligators per year. It is estimated that there are 421 crocodiles