Best time to visit Florida

Loop Road Scenic Drive in Florida

Drive through dwarf cypress forest and spot lots of tropical fauna of Everglades

Best time: November–April

Loop Road Scenic Drive
Loop Road Scenic Drive
Loop Road Scenic Drive

Loop Road of Everglades goes through South Florida’s iconic undeveloped wilderness that is full of wildlife. It is a 38-km (24-mi) two-lane road that winds along Tamiami Trail in Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge. The Drive starts at Monroe Station (a former Tamiami Trail service station dating back to late 1920s) and ending at the 40-Mile Bend Check Station, as it is about 40 miles from Miami.

You may see hundreds of birds, alligators, and otters fauna. Some sections of the road are paved, some are gravel or dirt. In the summer months, certain sections of the road can be underwater, and temperatures are soaring. Also, mosquitoes are known to be especially active in the summer. That's why the best time for completing the Loop Road Scenic Drive and for visiting Big Cypress National Preserve is during the dry and cold season from November to April. Every year, about a million people visit the park, and around 70% of them come in the cooler period.

Loop Road is surrounded by cypress trees and water. Some parts of it allow visitors to park and look around, watching birds and alligators. The road also provides access to hiking trails, campgrounds, and backcountry. Visitors can also walk by the canals along the Tamiami Trail or visit overlooks at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center and Oasis Visitor Center. Lots of activities are available at H.P. Williams Roadside Park and the Kirby Storter Roadside Park. The Florida Trail at mile 10.1 of the Loop Road Scenic Drive is the most popular hiking route with access from Tamiami Trail. You can find more information in the detailed guide by the Big Cypress National Preserve.

If you are not afraid of alligators, you can explore the Big Cypress on a canoe or a kayak, floating to the Turner River or Halfway Creek.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Loop Road Scenic Drive?

Between November and April is the ideal period to explore Loop Road Scenic Drive. Mosquitoes are active during the warmer months, making it troublesome for tourists. Also, several sections of the road can get submerged, which further deteriorates the driving experience. Unlike summers, the cooler months are comparatively dry, making the surroundings more accessible and enjoyable for visitors. The Loop Road is nestled in a wet and humid area where weather conditions remain unstable throughout the year. Show more

Where does the Loop Road Scenic Drive begin and end?

The scenic Loop Road starts from Monroe Station near Tamiami Trail in Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge and ends at the 40-Mile Bend checkpost. It is a two-lane, 24-mile-long road known for the several parks and wildlife reserves it passes through. The Big Cypress Wildlife Reserve is home to many tropical animals, including birds, alligators, and otters, attracting several tourists throughout the year. The 40-mile refuge is one of Florida's popular natural sites and could be reached by traveling around 40 miles from Miami. Show more

What types of wildlife can be seen along the Loop Road Scenic Drive?

The Loop Road Scenic Drive in Big Cypress National Wildlife Reserve is a hub of hundreds of tropical fauna, including birds, alligators, otters, and many others. The distinct bird species that can be seen along the road are Ospreys, Eagles, Egrets, Herons, and Ibis. Visitors can spot alligators in the canals or sunning themselves on the side of the road. The ideal months to catch a glimpse of remarkable wildlife are November through April, when temperatures are cooler, and animals remain active. Wildlife enthusiasts often flock to this unique and natural site to experience biodiversity. Show more

What are some activities available at the H.P. Williams Roadside Park?

Several parks and facilities are available along the Loop Road Scenic Drive for visitors' convenience. H.P. Williams Roadside Park is one such park that provides a very intimate swamp experience. It features a picnic area and restroom facility for the visitors. A boardwalk leads through the swamp, showcasing the native fauna found in its surroundings. If visitors wish to explore more such sites, Kirby Storter Roadside Park could be an ideal spot, offering a more extended boardwalk trail and canoe launch facility for a wholesome experience. Show more

Can visitors explore the Big Cypress on a canoe or kayak?

Kayaking and canoeing are a popular choice for tourists visiting the Big Cypress National Wildlife Reserve. The Turner River or Halfway Creek is the best option for exploring the swamp's surroundings. Visitors can also rent kayaks or canoes from the nearby Flamingo Visitor Center at Everglades National Park. H.P Williams Roadside Park or Kirby Storter Roadside Park are some of the notable canoe launch points for visitors who want to float or paddle downstream. Exploring the ecosystem by waterways is a unique experience that provides a different perspective on nature's diversity. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin