Best Place to Enjoy the Everglades - 2002
I-75 Rest Area
Some things just shouldn't be too civilized. The Everglades is one of them. Even as the state and feds plan to spend untold billions to clean up what we've already done to the River of Grass, the Moloch of commercialization still rears its reptilian head at tourist traps like Everglades Holiday Park and the Billie Swamp Safari. Of course, no one wants to go back to the stinky hell that was the lot of our pioneer forbears, but a simple nod to the creature comforts should be enough when searching out the beauties of nature. That's just what the happy motorist will find at Mile Marker 35 on Alligator Alley. The modest rest stop has a few vending machines, half a dozen picnic tables, and two boat ramps, all watched by a Wackenhut security guard. The big bonus is the only public restroom between Weston and the Miccosukee reservation near the Collier County line. No noisy airboats, nobody pestering you to buy shellacked alligator heads -- just you, your bass boat, and a swamp. Like it was meant to be.