Alligators

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Where to see Alligators

American Alligators are found all over the southeastern US, and are fairly easy to find. Still, there is something especially enjoyable about finding an alligator in it's native environment (rather than on the banks of a golf course or hotel pond).


If you are in southern Florida, the Everglades is the place to go. And nothing is more fun than an airboat ride. It is also a great way to truly appreciate the sawgrass marsh areas of the Everglades, which cannot be explored on foot. An airboat will get you into the untapped river of sawgrass that makes up a large portion of the Everglades.


Listed below are some of the places where alligators are densely concentrated.


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Top Alligator Photograph -- Click on Photo for a Slideshow

Alligator in Okefenokee Swamp
American Alligator Range Map

Georgia

My personal favorite spot is Okefenokee Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge located in in the southeastern portion of Georgia. I took a trip there this past September, and saw in excess of 400 alligators over a three day period. Plus I even stumbled upon a nest of baby gators, which is an awesome sight if you ever get a chance to see them. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge


For viewing alligators in Okefenokee Swamp, I'd suggest a warmer late-spring, summer, or early fall day. The alligators like the warmth of the sun, and will pull themselves out onto the bank. You are unlikely to see an alligator on the shore if you visit in the winter months, as the temperature gets cold and the alligators hibernate. -- William S. Howard


Florida

The Everglades in Florida is also a good location, although I didn't see that many when I was there this past February. For the best chance of seeing them up close, the ranger suggested that I check out the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm, just a short drive from the Ernest Coe visitor center.


Where cattle once roamed, alligators gather. At former cattle ranch Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida , wetlands restoration has allowed the waters of cypress-lined Lake Hancock to reclaim the landscape. Watch your back as you walk the aptly named Alligator Alley! -- Sarah Friend Circle B Bar Reserve


To me, one of the best ways to see alligators -- and to experience the true beauty of the Florida Everglades -- is to take an airboat ride through the sawgrass march, which is completely un-explorable by foot. An airboat will allow you to journey into nature's secretly preserved wilderness. The Everglades is made up of roughly 1.4 million acres of grasslands and hardwood hammocks. The airboat ride will take you to the legendary Everglades National Park, which is recognized as one of the world's most unique ecosystem. The Everglades is a natural wonder where you will encounter lush vegetation and tranquility. On the ride, you will be amidst alligators, native flora & fauna, and other exotic wildlife (mostly birds and turtles) in their habitat, as your airboat thrust through this River of Grass. To me, the highlight of the trip was running across a cluster of newly hatched baby alligators. Baby alligators are a delight to encounter.

I did a private airboat ride, which I highly recommend if you can afford it. A private boat runs roughly $250 - 300 for a one hour tour. Much cheaper is a group tour, which can generally be found for under $20. Personally, I enjoyed the tour given by Everglades Safari Park Airboat Rides ~ William


In our private tour of the Everglades, our airboat was able to fit into the small channels which the larger group airboats could not go. On the trip, we saw about 6 adult alligators. Then, later, we saw a mother alligator with about 20 babies. The baby alligators, which were simply adorable, swam right up to our airboat. Meanwhile, the mother alligator hid cautiously watching everything. It was totally worth the extra money for a private tour. - Sara


Wow, what a great ride I really enjoyed the airboat ride, as it was even better than the rides at Disney World! I especially enjoyed seeing live crocodiles right next to our boat, while we stopped to get a better look. This airboat ride is definitely that once in a lifetime thing that you have to do!!! ~ Paul


Photos

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Links

Circle B Bar Reserve

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Wild Florida Airboat Rides

Everglades Safari Park Airboat Rides