Travel: Seminoles and alligators in the Florida Everglades

"The estimated 500 residents of the 55,000-acre Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation have loads of elbow room. As do the countless alligators, which drift like solitary logs in the boundless Everglades of South Florida. Yet during a two-day stay, I never felt alone. I had plenty of company to keep me amused — from a safe distance.

Big Cypress, about 80 miles northwest of Miami, is the largest of Florida’s five reservations. Compared with the Seminole land in the city of Hollywood, just south of Fort Lauderdale and the site of a Hard Rock casino and hotel, it’s much purer in scenery and experience. It’s also the best place to go “Heart of Darkness” deep into the Everglades, the hideout of imperiled tribe members during the 19th-century Seminole wars.

The Florida Seminoles’ knowledge of the challenging terrain was key to their survival. (Total population: 3,500, up from about 200 after the last war in 1855-58.) For example, they knew how to build dugout canoes from cypress trees, how to weave swamp palms into roofs and how to avoid some of the more treacherous threats of swamp life, such as creatures with harrowing teeth."

Get the Story:
Near Miami, Florida’s land of Seminoles and alligators (The Washington Post 10/21)
Big Cypress Seminole Reservation: How to get there, what to do, where to stay (The Washington Post 10/21)

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