Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy

An Old Florida town with Everglades access.

Travel + Leisure
February 21, 2012

The less-developed western reaches of the Everglades, around Everglades City, are both cost- and eco-conscious destinations. The quaint city, with its small restaurants, historic buildings, and fishing focus, channels Old Florida, making it a perfect base for touring the famed marshland nearby. Go during peak season (November through April), when the park and its environs are teeming with life.

Ten Thousand Islands

Fish in the shattered jigsawlike landscape.

Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Rent kayaks to paddle through the mangrove swamps for less than $20.

Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe

On the Big Cypress preserve, Joanie Griffin is known for gator steaks and other rustic staples served at her ornament-crammed eatery.

Oyster House, Everglades City

Enjoy cocktails and the sunsets over the Ten Thousand Islands.

Ivey House Bed & Breakfast

Ivey House hotel has a modern, eco-lodge vibe with a membership to the Society for Ethical Ecotourism. Opt for one of the en suite rooms in the main building of this storied Everglades mainstay owned by the Harraden family, which also masterminds trips into the park during season (Nov.–Apr.). Guests can take advantage of a twilight kayak expedition into the mangroves with a guide—be on the lookout for alligator eyes that glow a sinister red in the dark.

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