An exciting way to see the Everglades  is by air, and Ten Thousand Island Aero Tours (650 E. C. Airpark Rd., Everglades City, 239/695-3296) offers flights ranging 20–90 minutes; you’ll cruise in an Alaskan floatplane over the saw grass and swamps at an altitude low enough to see a good bit of wildlife. It’s not up close and personal, but it’s quite exhilarating.
Closer to the ground, you can take a tram tour in the Shark Valley area of the park. Shark Valley Tram Tours (40001 SR 9336, Homestead, 305/221-8455, www.sharkvalleytramtours.com , tours $16.25 adults, $15.25 seniors, $10 children) offers two-hour tram tours, with a stop at a 45-foot-high observation deck midway. Tours depart four times a day May–late December and hourly 9 a.m.–4 p.m. late December–April.
Airboat tours are also quite popular, but given the delicate ecosystems within the Everglades, it’s difficult for me to recommend this method of touring. It’s not only incredibly loud and disruptive (making for a none-too-relaxing outdoor adventure) but polluting and destructive to plant life as well. As such, airboats are not allowed within the park, but they are plentiful outside the park boundaries, if this is the way you want to explore the area.
A far more intimate—and lower-impact—way to see the Glades is in a canoe or kayak. North American Canoe Tours (107 Camellia St., Everglades City, 239/695-3229, tours from $104) operates out of the Ivey House Inn alongside Everglades Rentals. Their daytime, sunset, and overnight tours have a decidedly ecofriendly bent and can be taken in either kayaks or canoes. Tours are discounted for Ivey House guests.
Shurr Adventures (877/455-2925, www.shurradventures.net , tours from $65) focuses on kayak tours through the diverse ecosystems of the Ten Thousand Islands as well as a backcountry mangrove tour.