Big Cypress National Preserve
Big Cypress National Preserve Travel Blog› entry 61 of 121 › view all entries
A fairly short day today in both miles and sights to see. From Fort Myers we are on our way to the Miami area. We are looking to stay the next two nights is Cutler Ridge, Florida, which is just south of Miami and looks to be much cheaper than Miami itself.
The map looks like it will send us along Alligator Alley or US75 across Florida. But we don’t want to use any Toll Roads and as few main freeways and main roads as possible. We think the older, smaller I-41 looks more scenic and goes through Big Cypress National Preserve and parts of the Everglades National Park.
Our breakfast at the Hotel was nice, with eggs, sausage, juice, and a sweet roll. We were a little late to get the biscuits and gravy.
Then on the road and ready for a nice day. Slow and easy through the swampy area of southern Florida. And today the speed limits are a much slower 55 than the 70 or better on the main roads.
Along the road in a few places we saw signs that warned "Panther Crossing", and being from California we had never seen this sign before. Of course we haven’t seen a panther either. We got a picture of one of the signs. Then we got a picture of a large plastic panther out in front of a roadside business.
We finally got to the center of the National Preserve where they have placed the Welcome Center. We pulled in and were nearly sure it was closed due to the lack of cars. But the door was open and we were greeted as we went in. We spent a little while looking around and watched a short movie about the area before going out to the special boardwalk which edged the small swampy area in front of the center. The Ranger had told us that we might see one or two gators since it was a little cooler and had rained earlier this morning. But to say we might see one or two was slightly pessimistic, because we ended up seeing closer to a dozen, and most of them were at least six feet long and a couple were eight feet or more. Only one was active, swimming along slowly, the rest were resting in the sun along the shore or semi-submerged along the bank. We got several pictures.