Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Gulf Coast Visitor Center information
Lonely Planet review
This is the northwestern-most ranger station for Everglades National Park, and provides access to the 10,000 Islands area. Boat tours depart from the downstairs marina into the mangrove flats and green islands – if you’re lucky you may see dolphins springing up beside your craft. This tangled off-shore archipelago was a major smuggling point for drugs into the mainland USA during the late 1970s and early '80s; bales of marijuana were nicknamed ‘square grouper’ by local fishermen.
It’s great fun to go kayaking and canoeing around here; boats can be rented from the marina, but make sure to take a map with you (they’re available for free in the visitor center). Boaters will want to reference NOAA Charts 11430 and 11432.