1974: National Preserve
About the SiteBig Cypress National Preserve was established in 1974 to add to the acreage already preserved in Everglades National Park. The area of Big Cypress was expanded to 729,000 acres in 1988, and it protects an important watershed area of southern Florida. The more than 60 inches of rain that falls annually flood the cypress strands and prairies before flowing slowly to the south, through Everglades. The "Big" in Big Cypress doesn't refer to the size of the trees, but rather the swamp's extent of more than 2,400 square miles of subtropical land.
What You're Going to SeeYou're going to see lots of water, lots of sawgrass and marshes, and scattered stands of trees. You'll have decent luck getting a picture of a alligator. There are plenty of birds and snakes too. There is plenty to do, including bicycling, bird-watching, fishing, hiking, hunting, off-road-vehicle driving, picnicking, scenic driving, and wildlife viewing.
Personal ObservationsI was surprised at the paucity of mosquitos. I'd been attacked at Biscayne Bay, but as I wandered along the paths here in Big Cypress I didn't need the Off! at all.
Getting ThereFrom Miami, go west on US 41 for about 60 miles to Monroe Station, about the center of the Preserve.
Nearby AttractionsEverglades National Park is directly south of the Preserve. Biscayne National Park is about 50 miles east southeast. Dry Tortugas National Park is about 100 miles to the southwest; bring a boat.