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Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee
(4.5/5 based on 320+ reviews on the web)
Big Cypress National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in southern Florida, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Miami. The 720000acre Big Cypress, along with Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, became the first national preserves in the United States National Park System when they were established on 11 October 1974. In 2008, Florida film producer Elam Stoltzfus featured this preserve in a PBS documentary.Geography and history of establishmentBig Cypress borders the wet freshwater prairies of Everglades National Park to the south, and other state and federally protected cypress country in the west, with water from the Big Cypress flowing south and west into the coastal Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park. When Everglades National Park was established in 1947, Big Cypress was originally intended to be included; however, because the land had not been purchased from its private owners, Big Cypress was ultimately released from the park system.Human use and impactEcologically, the preserve is slightly more elevated than the western Everglades. Big Cypress was historically occupied by various cultures of Native Americans; the last were the Seminole of the nineteenth century. Their descendants include the federally recognized Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • My friends told me that we should spend our time in the Everglades and Sanibel Island. Fortunately, I ignored them and we spent four nights in Everglade City. We went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and were up a...  more »
  • Spent 3 days in the area. Learned so much, saw so much. From the history of the area, to the wildlife and their habitat finishing the day with a spectacular Night Sky program. There is more to this pl...  more »
  • The Big Cypress is beautiful in its own way, but I certainly would not make a special trip to see it alone. In conjunction with the Everglades, definitely. 
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  • It was fun while it lasted. My wife and I picked the wrong time to go. We so happened to pick a time when severe storms came through and had to leave early. All that said we had a great time at the Midway campsite. The days were great and the nights were even better minus some rain. Also have to hand it to the Rangers there are beyond awesome. They kept coming by to check on us and then to let us know it was closing. If you get a chance to go this is some of the best tent camping there. Also make sure to stop by the skunk ape hq not to far from the Midway and other site along there. Wife had a blast playing with the animals.
  • My favorite places are off the beaten track, especially the trails off of State Road 29 in Collier county. Miles and miles of trails to hike and explore. Keep an eye out for alligators, and the rare Florida panther.
  • This place is definitely overshadowed by the Everglades National Park, but, in my book, has plenty to offer. Try to get a reservation for the FREE ranger led canoe trip. It's about 5 hours out and back and you are guaranteed to be up close and personal with some alligators and other wildlife!
  • I was told by a ranger there that this is the first national preserve in the National Park System. There is also free ranger led programs. Preserve is filled with variety of tropical plants and wildlife. Nice Boardwalk to safely enjoy alligator watching or a breeze stroll.
  • Amazing and beautiful place to go camping with the family. Great scenery and wildlife.