City Escape: Miami, Florida

Text: Jim Park • Photography: Jim Park

Only two routes cross the Florida Everglades, Alligator Alley (I-75) and the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). This City Escape treks across approximately 60 miles of the Tamiami Trail through the heart of the Florida Everglades. This ride is best experienced between the months of October and May; after that time it will be extremely hot and humid. Come prepared—carry water, hydrate at every stop, and, most importantly, bring sunscreen. Florida isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing!

Length

The route is 231 miles but allow time to take in the sights. 

Meet-up Spot

Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Casino, 500 SW 177th Ave, 
Miami, FL 

Lunch Stop

Stop into Joanie’s Blue Crab Café and try the alligator salad with a slice of Key lime pie … the best! Then walk across the highway for a great photo op at our nation’s smallest post office. Find Joanie’s at 39395 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL, (239) 695-2682.

Scenery (4 out of 5)

There will be lots of wildlife to see crossing the Everglades and interesting places to stop. Don’t pull over when you see the first alligator as there is an abundance of these reptiles along the route! 

Traffic (3 out of 5)

Expect to encounter some traffic on the Tamiami Trail portion of the ride. After that, most roads will have light to moderate traffic.

Difficulty (1 out of 5)

The loop is easy to navigate. The roads are flat and straight for the most part. 

Road Conditions (4 out of 5)

The roads are well maintained for both the two-lane and four-lane portions of tarmac. Use caution when riding Snake Road as road kill is common. 

Points of Interest

  1. Shark Valley Visitor Center
Enjoy an open-air tram tour into the Everglades National Park (fee). www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/svdirections.htm
  2. Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center
Learn about the Everglades and brave the boardwalk 
with alligators literally a few feet away. www.nps.gov/
bicy/planyourvisit/oasis-visitor-center.htm
  3. Ochopee Post Office
The smallest post office in the U.S. is a 7-by-8 foot converted pump house, after the original post office burned in 1953. www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14154
  4. Billie Swamp Safari 
Enjoy airboat and swamp buggy rides, wildlife displays, lectures, and a gift shop/restaurant. www.billieswamp.com 
  5. Everglades Holiday Park 
A popular weekend social gathering for local bikers, where custom bikes are the norm. This stop also boasts airboat tours and alligator wrestling. 
www.evergladesholidaypark.com