U.S. National Park Service
Taking your out-of-town friends and family to the beach is so basic. Instead, let them get up close and personal with the Sunshine State's other famous attraction: alligators. The toothy beast is the state's official reptile, but it might as well be its mascot. There are more than a million — so many that the state publishes a guide on how to coexist with them. And, of course, almost every Florida Man story includes a gator sidekick. You'll find few places that offer a closer look at the famed creatures than Shark Valley. Despite the name, there are no sharks here. But the area, which features a 15-mile paved loop inside Everglades National Park, teems with birds, turtles, and plenty of alligators that make it well worth the $30 admission per car. You can rent a bike for $9 an hour or bring your own; there's also a tram tour that costs $25 for adults, $19 for seniors, and $12.75 for children. Whatever your mode of transportation, you'll get a kick out of seeing your visitors' reactions — whether delight or terror — to Florida's favorite predator. Gators are sure to be lounging in the water alongside the loop. If you're lucky, they might even be on the loop. Just remember: Don't get too close. Park hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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