Although the Ten Thousand Islands are separate from the mainland, they are part of Everglades National Park, itself a designated Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance.
The Gulf Coast Visitor Center of Everglades National Park offers 2 boat tours that explore different segments of one of the world’s largest mangrove forests.
With just 6 passengers, the mangrove wilderness tour makes an hour and 45-minute trip through brackish water, winding and twisting through a tunnel of mangroves. Animals that might be encountered are alligators, raccoons, bobcats, mangrove fox squirrels and a variety of birds.
The 90-minute Ten Thousand Islands boat tour explores North America’s largest mangrove forest. A park-trained naturalist provides narration as the boat weaves through the mangrove islands where you could see bald eagles, ospreys, roseate spoonbills, and dolphin. The fish that leap out of the water seemingly for the fun of it are mullet, a tasty snack when smoked on a grill.
Boat tours are offered every day of year with frequent departures, including summer. Reservations, taken only by fax or online, are suggested. Note the strict cancellation policy.