A wild date: The Florida Everglades

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. — One recent study called Miami one of the “most single” cities in the United States. On average, people in Miami date three times as much as other people in the United States.

With so much courting going on, it is likely that singles in Miami are growing tired of all of the cliché date spots. Whether it is drinks at Mary Brickell or dinner on Lincoln Road followed by dancing at LIV, chances are if you are single in Miami you have gone on the same date with at least two different people.

In order to promote more unique dates and hopefully a “less single” Miami, we would like to highlight one of the most fun and romantic Miami dates that you probably have not been on: a trip to the Everglades.

Everglades National Park, is a United States protected land area that spans across 20% of the original Everglades.

Max Dillon, a park ranger at the Wildlife Center, explained what makes it so different.

“Everglades National Park is truly unique. It is a river of grass that supports hundreds of species of animals and recharges our water. In order to protect the area and teach people more about it, we have designated this area as a national park.”

This park spans more than 1.5 million acres and is the third-largest national park in the United States.

The picturesque and secluded nature of the Everglades is precisely what makes it a great spot for a date. Additionally, the Everglades has many activities which can cater specifically to the date in question. This experience can include anything from picnicking to kayaking or camping and is sure to be memorable for both people.

FullSizeRender (1) A couple shelter tent at the Everglades National Park (Photo by Orianna Cirigliano)

Lisa Alexander and Anthony Williamson went on a date to the Everglades this past week.

“I never imagined I would like it with the sun and the bugs, but Anthony packed a picnic and we drove all the way to the Flamingo campground to eat and enjoy the view,” Alexander said.

The Flamingo campground is one of many camping areas but is by far the most unique. This campground is located right on the coast so that you get a perfect view of the sunset and so that you can cool down with a quick dip.

“It is beautiful and you feel like you are in another world. Lisa really enjoys it and in the end it is a way of getting to know Florida better,” Williamson said.

Before settling down with their picnic, he couple had visited an information center within the park where they were able to take a guided bird watching tour and see baby alligators. After that, they made their way to Flamingo where they decided that when the weather cools down they would like to plan a camping trip together.

“We are not necessarily nature lovers,” Alexander confessed. “But this is literally a breath of fresh air. It is nice to get away and spend time with one another without interruptions or even cellphone service!”

Marina Smith, a park ranger in charge of the Florida City educational center, says that many young couples pass through Everglades National Park together.

“We have kayaking, fishing and paddle boarding. We also have some of the best bicycle trails in any national park which makes for an entertaining time for adults,” Smith said.

Although many families visit the park together, it should be noted that there is enough space and there are enough activities for everyone regardless of their age or interests.

Ernesto Gonzalez was excited when his girlfriend Mariangela Martinez brought him to the Everglades on a surprise date.

“I am a history buff,” he said. “We went on the Cuban missile crisis tour and saw the actual missiles. The presentation was really interesting.”

Afterwards, for the sake of compromise Gonzalez took Martinez to the marina where they shared ice cream and rented a paddle boat.

“It was a unique date,” Martinez said with a smile. “Although I wasn’t into the Cuban Missile Crisis presentation I probably would have enjoyed a nature one and I definitely loved the paddle boats and the ice cream. There is really something for everyone here!”

Mariangela Martinez is right.

Although I am not the most outdoorsy person, I enjoyed a date in the Everglades! I put together a picnic basket full of food and even threw in some beer cans. We went to a raised platform where we were able to see many alligators and turtles. Additionally, a ranger was kind enough to lend us a pair of binoculars so we could watch some birds hatching. Afterwards we found a secluded picnic table where we were able to eat together.

While this may no be as fancy as Mr. Chow or Joe’s Stone Crab, this is definitely a fun and unique date which works well for people on a budget. Furthermore, if you want to make sure you don’t end up at a clichéd date spot, driving all the way down to Everglades National Park is the way to go.

After learning about all of the activities in this park, I know the one I am most excited to plan. The national park has two chickees or elevated platforms in the ocean off of the coast of the Flamingo campground. These can be rented and you have to kayak to them and set up your tent and your supplies on the wood structure over water.

FullSizeRender (3) An overwater chickee in Everglades National Park.

Eight miles from Flamingo and the mainland, this is truly a great spot for a romantic getaway that you are unlikely to ever forget. Best of all, the chickees are only $10 to rent although they are typically reserved for months in advance. In order to get there though you must either have your own boat or rent one although this represents more of a challenge it also furthers the sense of adventure for those looking for a really unique date.

The Everglades is truly a place where there is something for everyone and you might find that it can be more fun and romantic than Miracle Mile, Brickell and South Beach combined. This is a great way to get in touch with nature, explore Miami and foster the beginnings to a beautiful relationship.

Consider taking your next date to the Everglades!


Know Before You Go

  • There are three ways to access the park by car. The main entrance located in Homestead, Florida provides access to the Royal Palm Area and the Flamingo Area. The Shark Valley entrance is located in Miami, Florida and the Gulf Coast Entrance is located in Everglades City.
  • Visitor Centers are located at the Main Entrance, Flamingo, Shark Valley and Gulf Coast.
  • Summer means rain, heat and mosquitos! The best time to visit the Everglades is November- January
  • Entrance is $10 a car. This includes access to all of the trails and educational talks. Pedestrians or bicyclists can visit for $5. If you wish to obtain an annual pass, $25 will grant you unlimited admission for a year
  • Overnight camping is $20 a tent. Reservations are required in winter when the park is busier
  • No motorized watercraft are permitted however you can rent or bring your own non-motorized ones

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