Located in heart of what many call the ‘true Everglades,’ a river of grass that stretches 100 miles (161 km) from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico, Shark Valley is part of a unique freshwater ecosystem that is home to a wide variety of wildlife. There are several ways to explore this area, either on your own or with a guided tour.
The Tram Road, a 15-mile (24 km) round-trip, is flat and paved, perfect for walking or bicycling; it’s possible you’ll see alligators, deer, turtles and several types of birds while traversing this road. The Bobcat Boardwalk, which meanders through the tropical hardwood forest, is accessible from the Tram Road, as is the Otter Cave Hammock Trail. An observation tower, located halfway along the Tram Road, provides an aerial perspective to the sawgrass marsh. Bicycling the loop is another popular option, which takes between two to three hours; bikes are available for rental from the visitor center if you don’t have your own. For those wanting a guided tour, the Shark Valley Tram Tours offer two-hour tours led by naturalists in an open-air tram.
From Miami, the Shark Valley Visitor Center is located on the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41), 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike, at exit 25A from the north and exit 25 from the south. From the Naples area, take the Tamiami Trail approximately 70 miles east to Shark Valley. The Visitor Center is open from 9:15 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. daily; hours are subject to change. Admission to the Shark Valley Visitor Center is free; as Shark Valley is a part of the National Park, the entrance fee is $10 per vehicle.