Where are the best places to see alligators in Florida? Southern Florida’s tropical climate offers the opportunity to see alligators year-round. This is because alligators love warm water and weather. When most people travel to Florida, one of their must-do activities is to see the state’s most iconic animal—the American alligator.
If you are touring the Fort Lauderdale region, the following places will offer some of your best chances to spot Florida wildlife.
Best Places to See Alligators On Your Florida Vacation
The best places to see alligators on your Florida vacation are:
- Go on an airboat tour in the Everglades
- Watch an Alligator Show on the Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Tour
- Visit Everglades National Park
- Hang Out With the Gator Boys at Everglades Holiday Park
1. Go On an Airboat Tour
Southern Florida is practically known for its guided airboat ride tours. They are an Everglades icon! Airboats became a popular transportation method to get around in Florida’s marshes.
This is because a submerged propeller is not a practical engine in these shallow, grassy waters. Additionally, it helps view wildlife due to its elevated seating and quick maneuvering.
5 Most Popular Florida Airboat Tours
Options for taking an airboat tour in Florida include going on a group or private tour, touring during midday or nighttime, and departing from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or at a meeting point.
- 🛥️ Meet at Sawgrass Recreation Park, just outside Fort Lauderdale, for a Florida Everglades Airboat Adventure and Wildlife Encounter, this is also the most affordable tour.
- 🤿 From Orlando: Manatee Adventure, Everglades Style Airboat, Lunch, Wildlife Park & Transport
- 🌅 From Orlando: 1-Hour Sunset Airboat Ride
- 🛥️ From Orlando: Florida Everglades Airboat Tour and Wild Florida Admission with Optional Lunch
- 🌙 Meet at Sawgrass Recreation Park, just outside Fort Lauderdale, for a Florida Everglades Night Airboat Tour
🤠 Feeling adventurous? Willing to choose the best airboat tour yourself or are you interested in getting off the beaten path? Check out all of the airboat tour options on Viator: a TripAdvisor company.
2. Watch an Alligator Show on the Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Tour
Jungle Queen has been cruising the canals of Fort Lauderdale since 1935. The Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Tour takes you on a breezy trip down the New River where you can see what Florida locals refer to as “Millionaire Row.”
The captain and narrator point out sprawling mansions and mega yachts of the rich and famous. You can also see mansions that were featured in several Blockbuster Hollywood movies.
About halfway through the cruise, the riverboat lands on a little private island called Jungle Queen Island. Here you can watch an alligator show, check out some exotic animals, and enjoy a bite to eat. The island has some opportunities for some really pretty photos of the lush tropical plants and trees.
Be sure to bring your cameras and tripods. After a nice hour cruise down the river, it was nice to get the opportunity to enjoy some local wildlife up close and personal. Many people decide to pay a few dollars to get a token vacation photograph holding a baby alligator or wearing colorful parrots on their shoulders.
Jungle Queen Riverboat Island Tour > Check Availability
3. Visit Everglades National Park
One of the main reasons people visit Florida’s Everglades Park is to see its thriving alligator population. Statistics indicate that there are over 200,000 alligators in the National Park and approximately 1.5 million in the state of Florida.
Alligators are a natural part of the Everglades ecosystem. Although Alligators are typically found in marshes and freshwater swamps, they also can be found in lakes, rivers, and small bodies of water.
One of the best ways to see the wildlife in the Everglades National Park is by foot or by bike. Numerous trails are scattered across the nearly 7,800 square miles of protected land. Adding the Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour of the park makes you feel like you’re with a park ranger!
When we visited, we saw an abundance of wildlife situated right next to the paved walking paths. This included alligators, cranes, and turtles. Some wildlife experts say that one of the best places to see alligators in the Everglades is The Shark Valley entrance located on U.S. 41 Tamiami Trail in Miami.
Many wildlife experts say that one of the best places to see American alligators in the Everglades is The Shark Valley entrance located on U.S. 41 Tamiami Trail in Miami.
During our tour, we saw the most number of alligators near the Shark Valley Everglades entrance. While looking online, you’ll see photos of walkers and bikers on the main trail standing casually next to an alligator—and we had the same experience. Additionally, we saw numerous alligators just by pulling over and looking in the ponds and reservoirs along the route into Shark Valley.
4. Hang Out With the Gator Boys at Everglades Holiday Park
Just outside Fort Lauderdale, the Everglades Holiday Park is a theme park and wildlife preserve that features daily alligator shows. The park became popular from the hit TV show, “Gator Boys” on Animal Planet. As a result, the staff has a passion for educating their visitors about Florida’s gators. Guests enjoy learning about alligators as seen through the eyes of conservationists.
The price includes an airboat tour, an animal encounter/gator show, and two professional family photos. Also, their Everglades Holiday Park airboats feature a larger, covered craft for a smoother ride and more shade from the hot Florida sun. Finally, each tour lasts about one hour.
Let’s recap! The best places to see alligators on your Florida vacation are:
- Jungle Queen Island
- Everglades National Park
- On an airboat ride
- Everglades Holiday Park
Have you discovered a great place to see baby alligators? Please let us know in the comment section below.
Psst: We have a bunch of other posts about Florida! Therefore, make sure to take a look at them before your trip.
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