Get a glimpse into the indigenous culture of south Florida and enjoy recreation in the Everglades.
Deep in the Everglades, just an hour’s drive from the Naples, Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports, the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation provides an opportunity to learn about and honor the Seminole Tribe’s indigenous culture and experience their way of life – all while enjoying plenty of adventure and relaxation.
Big Cypress RV Resort
Head into the middle of the Everglades to find the Big Cypress RV Resort and campground. There are multiple lodging options, including RV sites, tent sites and a variety of cabins, as well as amenities like a swimming pool, mini golf and shuffleboard. Located right in the reservation, the resort is an ideal starting point for exploration.
“Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki” means “a place to learn,” and this museum is a quiet, reverent place where visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Seminole tribe. A film provides an introduction to the museum’s displays and 30,000-plus artifacts. Afterward, walk down a 1.5-kilometer boardwalk that leads to a Living Village, where artisans demonstrate traditional bead-working, woodworking and basket-weaving techniques.
Billie Swamp Safari
At Billie Swamp Safari, which is in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, an airboat ride is a popular way to explore the Everglades. Skim across the water’s surface through a 900-hectare area of seagrass past alligators bathing in the sun and other fascinating species of birds, fish and mammals.
You might stop for a break in a cypress forest with trees that are overgrown with ferns, mistletoe and wild orchids. Listen to the sounds of the surrounding wilderness.
Embark on a Swamp Buggy Eco-Tour and ride cross-country through the surrounding swampland on a big all-terrain vehicle with gigantic tires. Possible wildlife sightings include bison, deer, water buffalo and perhaps even a black bear or panther. In the evening, visitors gather around a campfire to listen to the telling of ancient Seminole legends.
Children especially will enjoy the alligator wrestling and wildlife shows. Watch an experienced wrestler pull a 3-meter-long alligator out of the water and wrestle it to the ground. Visitors can hold a baby alligator in their arms and observe an alligator snapping turtle up close at the Critter Show. Local snakes on display in the Venomous Snake Show include rattlesnakes and water moccasins.
When hunger strikes, head to the on-site Swamp Water Café, where you might want to try fried alligator tail and frog legs; both are traditional native delicacies.
Big Cypress Shootout
History and culture buffs will want see the annual Big Cypress Shootout, a re-enactment of the Second Seminole War, complete with authentic costumes, weapons and fighting styles. The three-day event has plenty to offer visitors: Seminole food, Seminole and pioneer artisans’ wares, Seminole dancing, authentic Seminole and soldier camps, tomahawk throws, an archery competition and, of course, the famous snake shows and alligator wrestling.