The first National Preserve in the National Park System, Big Cypress has a mixture of pines, hardwoods, prairies, mangrove forests, cypress strands and domes. White-tailed deer, bear and Florida panther can be found here along with the more tropical linguus tree snail, royal palm and cigar orchid. This meeting place of temperate and tropical species is a hotbed of biological diversity.
Hydrologically, the Preserve serves as a supply of fresh, clean water for the vital estuaries of the ten thousand islands area near Everglades City.
Visitors will find a recreational paradise with camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and birdwatching opportunities. Those passing through may be enticed to linger in this remnant of wild Florida to search for evidence of the elusive Florida panther or to watch an endangered woodstork feeding along a roadside canal.
Alligators are part of the Big Cypress National Preserve ecosystem and are not a threat unless they have been conditioned by humans. There may be alligators in the ponds just outside the visitor center. A good place to see them is along Turner River Road. Traffic is much slower there than on US 41.
Other good places are Shark Valley, Big Cypress Bend boardwalk, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk. The adult alligator usually ranges from eight to thirteen feet in length, estimated by the distance from the front edge of the eyes to the snout. Eight inches equals about eight feet. In captivity, it may live up to fifty years; however in the wild thirty to thirty-five years.
Big Cypress is home to nine federally listed species including the bald eagle and the peregrine
falcon. Five endangered birds, the snail kite, wood stork, Cape Sable seaside sparrow, and red cockaded woodpecker nest in the Preserve. The endangered West Indian manatee and Florida panther, and the threatened eastern indigo snake, and American alligator also live in the Preserve. In addition, six state listed species inhabit the Preserve, the white-crowned pigeon, Florida sandhill crane, least tern, Everglades mink, Big Cypress fox squirrel, and the black bear.
RV and tent site fees - $16-$19 per night
I-75, state road 29, and U.S. 41 all travel through the preserve.