Everglades Swamp Tour
When To Go Swamp Tromping
The National Park Service offers Swamp Tromps almost daily from mid-December through March. Most are in the Flamingo/Homestead area but also at Shark Valley, the section park that is 30 miles west of Miami.
The tromps are free, but you'll pay $10 per vehicle to enter the park. Call ahead for times and locations: Flamingo Visitor Center, 941-695-2945; Everglades National Park Information, 305-242-7700.
Flamingo Lodge, the only motel/restaurant within the park, offers Swamp Tromps according to demand. For information and reservations, call 941-695-3101.
Proper garb for a Swamp Tramp is essential. Most important is a pair of old shoes that can be tightly laced so they won't be sucked off. Sandals almost guarantee a spill. Also wear long pants.
Tuck the pants legs into your socks and use gray duct tape around the top of the socks to keep marl from getting into your shoes. Some people also like to wrap their shoes in tape just to mae certain they don't get them sucked off their feet.
Also carry a stout walking stick to probe the mud and help keep your balance. Depending on your height, an old broom handle works well. Wrap the top of the stick in duct tape for a better grip.
Swamp Tromps are offered in the winter months when the mosquito population is at its lowest. The drier the year, the small the mosquito population.
The Everglades National Park Flamingo Visitor Center has famous Mosquito Meter that is more grim than amusing.
The Mosquito Meter ranks conditions accordingly: Enjoyable, Bearable, Unpleasant, Horrible and Hysterical. Winter is the only Enjoyable period.
Even so, pack insect repellent with at least a 30 percent concentration of DEET, which is a little higher than is normal and probably too high to be safe for young children.