The Florida Everglades are one of the most famous natural areas of the southeastern United States. They begin near Orlando at the Kissimmee River, travel through Lake Okeechobee, and continue south before reaching the Florida Bay. The Everglades were designated a Wetland Area of Global Importance by UNESCO in the 1970s and have been part of extensive conservation efforts ever since.
The southern portion of the Everglades is part of Everglades National Park and protects about 20 percent of the original Florida Everglades. It is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States as well as the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. It is also the third-largest national park in the continental United States after Death Valley and Yellowstone. Everglades was also the first national park created to protect a threatened ecosystem.
With its massive network of wetlands, forests, and rivers, the Florida Everglades are home to countless species, including 36 that are threatened or protected. This includes the Florida panther, American crocodile, and West Indian manatee. Of course, it's also home to its most famous reptile, the American alligator.
Between the abundant wildlife, awe-inspiring forests, and beautiful waterways, it's no wonder the national park alone hosts over one million visitors per year.