Big Cypress Indian Reservation

To see Florida like a native, you have to get out of the fast lane of cities of Florida like Miami or Orlando, and head inland. My husband and I packed our freezer box with water, and some snacks for lunch and took our Florida map.

It was a sunny day and we put the roof down on the car to cruise along with the warm wind of Florida and feel the sunshine. To see the Everglades, we head toward the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in southeastern Hendry County.

The pace slows down as soon as you head into the heart of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

As soon as we get out of exit 49 at I-75, we started spotting wild alligators along the river. You have to drive very slowly to spot them and to be able to take a picture without them noticing you and diving under the water. It was such a great feeling to stand on the car, while the roof is open while the car literally moves at walking distance speed and see all alligators by the river and took pictures of them to take home.

It gears down still further as you turn onto the dirt and stone road that leads to Billie Swamp Safari, one of the Seminole tribe’s latest business ventures, geared to a growing appetite for soft adventure. It was not far from our house and we liked the idea that we can be here in less than 3 hours. From here on, you’ll go no faster than a swamp buggy can roll through the jungle-like Big Cypress Swamp.

There are no high-tech rides, no phones, no Internet, no video games. No traffic jams in the parking lot either.

It’s not like Walt Disney with all the lines and the hours of waiting. Here you can walk around, watch the birds, see alligators and enjoy nature. And these are very amazing. I believe that kids especially enjoy all these and spotting animals in there own habitat.

The safari offers visitors a chance to explore nature and sample a bit of the Seminole life. A swamp buggy ride takes visitors through now bare cypress heads, scrubby palmettos and flowing saw grass. Grazing Watusi cattle, bison, axis deer, wild pigs are among the creatures to be found on the safari property.

This park is an adventurer’s paradise. From bird watching to studying snakes, alligator wrestling to listening to stories or just is pulling up a rocking chair on the Swamp Water Cafe’s porch. You’ll experience Native Florida like never before.

Also visit our Gift Shop and Swamp Water Cafe to eat Seminole delicacies such as gator tail nuggets and Indian fry bread. Don’t forget to visit the Ah Tah Thi Ki Seminole Museum before leaving the Reservation.

How to get there:
19 miles north of I-75, Exit 49
Big Cypress Reservation
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33026

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