Road Scholar : Home
A Biking Journey through the Everglades and Big Cypress

Program Number: 20390RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/9/2014 - 3/14/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/16/2015; 2/22/2015 - 2/27/2015; 3/8/2015 - 3/13/2015; 3/22/2015 - 3/27/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Everglades National Park, Florida
Price starting at: $1,399.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Bike along the remote trails of Florida’s Everglades to witness the wildlife and vistas that make up these ecosystems. Pedal through the outpost cities of Chokoloskee and Goodland, and explore routes such as Loop Road, Janes Scenic Drive and Old Ingraham Highway. Take in a lecture about the restoration and preservation of the Everglades and learn about fruits and spices that grow in South Florida.


• Explore the Anhinga trail which winds through a sawgrass marsh, where you may see alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets, and many other birds.
• Take part in a swamp walk through Big Cypress National Preserve.
• Visit the architectural wonder, Coral Castle.

Activity Particulars

Bicycling 15-25 miles, 4-6 hours a day at speed of 10-15 mph, take part in a wet hike.

Bikes and helmets provided.

Date Specific Information

3-9-2014, 1-11-2015, 2-22-2015, 3-8-2015, 3-22-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Miami Int'l Airport, Coach to Everglades City, 3 nights; coach to Florida City, 2 nights; departure and coach to Miami Int'l Airport.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Everglades National Park

The largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. boasts rare and endangered species, such as the American crocodile, Florida panther and West Indian manatee. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance, in recognition of its significance to all the people of the world.

Everglades City

Located on Florida’s southwest coast, Everglades City is the gateway to the Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park. Once a sleepy farming community growing sugarcane and bananas, Everglades City has been welcoming those who wish to explore the incredible wetland and coastal environments surrounding it for decades.


Florida City is situated at the eastern end of the only road that traverses Everglades National Park and is the last mainland community north of the Florida Keys. A popular stop for travelers en route to the Everglades or Key West, the city has a small but charming historic district.

Everglades City: Charming Inn with swimming pool. Florida City: Comfortable, modern hotel with outdoor swimming pool.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Maya Repko

Author Marya Repko grew up in Hadlyme, Conn., but lived most of her adult life in Europe as a software engineer. After retirement, she moved to Everglades City, Fla., where her first book, “A Brief History of the Everglades City Area” has sold thousands of copies. She is also the author of other brief histories on the Fakahatchee and Sanibel Island. Marya is the president of the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation and co-editor of a bi-weekly local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ivey House
  Everglades City, FL 3 nights
   Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"
  Florida City, FL 2 nights
 Ivey House
Type: Bed and Breakfast
  Description: The Ivey House is TripAdvisor's #1 rated lodging facility in Everglades City and the Collier County's first "Certified Green Lodging" location. Rooms in the Inn surround a screened-in, beautifully landscaped courtyard with a tropical waterfall and heated swimming pool. The Ivey House Inn is a modern addition with eighteen rooms that adjoins the historic lodge. WiFi is available in public places. Free Parking.
  Contact info: 107 Camellia St
Everglades, FL 34139 USA
phone: 239-695-3299
  Room amenities: Cable TV Small refrigerator in each room air conditioning/heat Phone
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $99-$229 Please contact the Ivey House for details. The Inn: $169-$179 The Lodge: $99 The lodge features basic accommodations with shared bathrooms The Cottage: $229 A two night minimum is required, full kitchen and separate living room Due to the high season, Road Scholar does not have a special rate for pre or post nights

 Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"
Type: Hotel
  Description: Stay at this newly renovated, 100% non-smoking Florida City, Florida hotel located adjacent to Homestead and close to attractions such as the Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys and Biscayne National Park. This Southern Florida area hotel features well-appointed guest rooms and suites, each equipped with cable satellite television and free high-speed Internet access. Hotel guests will enjoy an array of amenities , an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub
  Contact info: 411 S Krome Avenue
Florida City, FL 33034-4913 USA
phone: 305-246-5100
  Room amenities: Cable satellite television....Free local calls under 30 minutes....Microwave...Refrigerator....High-speed Internet access hard wired in every room.....Air-conditioning
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: Discount based on availability Call Best Western directly (305) 246-5100 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST. Ask for Sonia Shelton and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 pm You will be staying at Ivey House that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 am You will be staying at Best Western "Gateway to the Keys" the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Bike Information Form
  Required innoculations:
Yes: Bike Information Form Complimentary Shuttle Request Form
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available for participants at the Ivey House and Best Western
To Start of Program
  Location:  Everglades City, FL
  From End of Program
  Location:  Florida City, FL
Travel Details

Miami International Airport (MIA)


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Road Scholar
phone: 617-521-5373


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour and 45 minutes 




80 miles


Complimentary shuttle available for all participants arriving at Miami International Airport before 2:00 pm only. Out of consideration for the other participants we will not delay the departure time. Please complete the shuttle form in your program materials and return to Road Scholar at least two weeks prior to program start date.


Best Western Florida City


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Road Scholar
phone: 617-521-5373


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes 


Complimentary shuttle available for all participants departing Miami Airport no earlier than 1:00 pm on the last day of the program. Please complete the shuttle form in your program materials and return to Road Scholar at least two weeks prior to program start date.


Miami Int'l Airport (MIA)to Ivey House


From Airport




$200 for 1-4 people
phone: 239-961-7100
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$200 for 1-4 people
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour, 45 minutes 




80 miles


This is the least expensive transfer service from Miami Airport to Everglades City. I strongly urge you to make your air travel arrangements well before the 2pm complimentary shuttle departure.


Fort Myers Airport (RSW)to the Ivey House


From Airport




Airport Express
phone: 239-961-7100
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$100 for 1-4 people
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour, 20 minutes 




70 miles

Driving Directions
  From Best Western Florida City to Miami International Airport Head north on US-1. Continue onto Fl-874 N. Continue onto Fl-826. Take the exit onto Fl-836 E. Take the FL-953 N exit toward Le Jeune Rd/Coral Gables. Follow NW 21st St to the airport. Distance: approx. 35 miles, travel time approx 45 minutes depending on traffic.
  Miami International Airport to Ivey House West on Fl-836/Dolphin Expressway. Follow signs for Florida Turnpike S. Follow US-41/Tamiami Trail/8th St. Turn left onto County Rd 29. Turn right onto Begonia St. Take the first left on Buckner Ave. The Ivey House will be on the right. Distance approx. 80 miles, travel time approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes depending on traffic
  Southwest Florida International Airport (Ft Myers) to the Ivey House Head West on Daniels Pkwy. Take I-75 S toward Naples. Take exit 80 onto Fl-29 S. Continue onto County Rd 29. Turn right onto Begonia St. Take the first left on Buckner Ave. The Ivey House will be on the right. Distance approx 70 miles, travel time approx. 1hour and 20 minutes depending on traffic

Required innoculations:

Yes: Bike Information Form Complimentary Shuttle Request Form

Equipment Requirements: Bikes, Helmets and water will be provided
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation and Bike Fitting
(Sunday, March 9)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm.

Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 Dinner: Enjoy a 3-course meal at a local restaurant with appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Bike Fitting: This key activity will be the last element of our orientation session. Take the rest of the evening to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and be ready for a full day tomorrow.

Accommodations: Ivey House
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Biking Through Everglades Towns
(Monday, March 10)

Note: We will cycle approximately 20-25 miles at 10-15mph throughout the day.

 Breakfast: Our breakfast at the Inn offers a selection of hot and cold items including fresh fruit plus coffee and tea.
 Morning: Learn about the natural and human history of the Everglades.

We then board the motorcoach and head to Marco Island where we hop aboard our bikes. During our first morning’s ride we will bike through the remote luxury enclave of Marco Island. Within its 24 square miles on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island features six miles of beach and more than 100 miles of waterways. It is the largest barrier island of southwest Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands area, with a permanent population of 15,000 and a peak winter season population of 35,000.

We continue east to the outpost fishing village of Goodland. With its laid back charm, Goodland continues to buck the significant development changes around it. Some 200 residents make their home in this remote village known for its fishing, airboat excursions, and seafood.

 Lunch: At a local restaurant, choose from a select menu of sandwiches and salads.
 Afternoon: After lunch as we bike along County Road 92, you will notice the marsh land and pristine waters that make up the 10,000 Islands. And then, take a settlement at the end of the world, add a legendary gentlemen’s fishing and hunting lodge, bring in a daring financier with the determination to build a road across the Everglades, lay out an imposing city with a grid of wide boulevards and a town circle. Let it all stew for one hundred years of hurricanes, financial ruin, smugglers, intrigue, isolation and you get…Everglades City.

After the scheduled ride, you will be able to bike at leisure before dinner. Our afternoon cycling begins and ends at the Inn in Everglades City.

 Dinner: At a local restaurant in easy walking distance, enjoy a 3-course meal with salad, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Ivey House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Biking Fakahatchee, Big Cypress Swamp Walk
(Tuesday, March 11)

Note: We will cycle approximately 20 miles in the morning at 10-15 mph. During the afternoon there will be a swamp walk. For those who wish to participate in the wet hike, please wear: water resistant long pants, hat, old tennis shoes or closed toed water shoes and bring a complete change of clothes because you will get wet!

 Breakfast: At the Inn.
 Morning: Biking Fakahatchee Jane's Scenic Drive. We will board the motorcoach and ride out to Janes Scenic Drive where we hop aboard our bikes. Along this unpaved road into the heart of the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, the dense, enveloping tropical foliage more closely resembles Jurassic Park than a South Florida ecosystem. Beautiful, remote Jane’s Scenic Drive offers an excellent opportunity for viewing Florida’s flora and fauna in its wildest display.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic in the preserve.
 Afternoon: Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery and Swamp Walk. Our next stop gives you a unique opportunity to become familiar with a world-famous photographer and to view his stunning work. No one really expects to find an art gallery in the Everglades, but it’s there in the form of Clyde and Nikki Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery. You may notice a few dozen gators in Clyde’s front yard. Don’t worry, as with any good neighbor, if you mind your own business, they will mind theirs. Hear from gallery staff about Big Cypress and Everglades Nature.

After the talk in the gallery, you will have the option of participating in a wet walk with gallery staff to experience the flora, fauna, and primordial beauty of subtropical Big Cypress National Preserve. Reminder: If you opt for the wet walk, you will need a change of clothes.

Marvel at the pristine splendor of the natural world as you traverse a rarely seen world filled with vibrant colors and mysterious sounds -- a spacious, richly diverse wilderness found nowhere else. As we explore, you'll learn about the fragile Everglades ecosystem and see endangered species of orchid, rare ferns, threatened bromeliads, native birds, and a host of swamp creatures. Stop beneath ancient cypress trees and feel the deep stillness of an unspoiled realm far from everyday life, a place of wonder and awe.

 Dinner: This evening eat out on your own to enjoy the foods of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Ivey House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Shark Valley & the “Urban Threshold”
(Wednesday, March 12)

Note: Cycle 15 miles at 10-15mph and 1 mile trail walk today. Transfer and check-in to Florida City Hotel.

 Breakfast: At the Inn.
 Morning: Biking Shark Valley Loop. When the Everglades’ flow was stronger and the water from Florida Bay would reverse, sharks would be found well up into the slough, and so the name of Shark Valley stuck. The Loop Trail is an ecological highlight of Everglades National Park. Perched on the northern border of the park, teeming with flora and fauna, this 15 mile trail loops takes you through a saw grass prairie for close-up views of biological diversity. Halfway along the trail, we will stop at the After Shark Valley Observation Tower for a panoramic view of the heart of the Everglades.
 Lunch: At a local café, choose from a select menu of sandwiches and salads.
 Afternoon: From the restaurant, we board our motorcoach to encounter the “Urban Threshold” where civilization meets wilderness. At once tropical and rural, it is the growing region of Homestead, Redland, and Florida City. The people who settled this region were pioneers in the subtropics. After entering the southern entrance of Everglades National Park, we walk along the Anhinga Trail with our Group Leader-Naturalist who will provide expert commentary about the flora and fauna we see.

At the conclusion of the field trip, we transfer by motorcoach to the hotel and check in to our rooms with some time to freshen up before dinner.

 Dinner: We will walk to dinner at a nearby restaurant to enjoy a 3-course meal with appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Biking the Southern Everglades
(Thursday, March 13)

Note: We will cycle approximately 15-20 miles today at 10-15 mph.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Biking Old Ingraham Road. We begin with a visit to the Ernest F. Coe Visitor’s Center at the Main Entrance of Everglades National Park. Opened in 1922 as the first motorway to the town of Flamingo, the Old Ingraham Highway saw many intrepid motorists in Model Ts and other roadsters. After Everglades National Park was dedicated in 1947, the road continued to provide the park’s visitors with access to Flamingo until a new highway opened in the 1960s. Old Ingraham Road is now abandoned to auto traffic, but is ideal for cycling, where ten miles into the Glades feels like a journey into a pre-historic era We will bike down this road and explore the Long Pine Key area of the park.
 Lunch: We will have our boxed lunch in a picnic area on Long Pine Key.
 Afternoon: Explore the sculpture garden at Coral Castle built by Edward Leedskalnin. From 1923 to 1951, Ed single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock. His unknown process has created one of the world's most mysterious accomplishments.

After the field trip, we return to the hotel via motorcoach.

 Dinner: Our farewell dinner is at a nearby local restaurant to enjoy good company and a 3-course meal from a select menu. Compare experiences and say farewell to new Road Scholar friends. Until next time!
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes, Shuttle to Miami International Airport
(Friday, March 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.

Please note: You will need to be checked out and ready to board the bus by 10:30am.

 Morning: To conclude the program, we will have a brief wrap-up with the Group Leader, followed by departure aboard the shuttle bus.

Arrival at Miami International Airport is scheduled for approximately 11:30am, depending on traffic. We advise not making ongoing flight arrangements before 2:00pm.

We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on other programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys! Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Everglades a River of Grass

Author: Marjory Stoneman Douglass

Description: Originally published in 1947, The Everglades was one of those rare books, like Uncle Tom's Cabin and Silent Spring, to have an immediate political effect: it helped draw public attention to a vast and little-known area that South Florida developers had deemed a worthless swamp and were busily draining, damming, and remaking, and it mustered needed public support for President Harry Truman's controversial order, later that year, to protect more than 2 million acres as Everglades National Park.

Florida Magnificent Wilderness: State Lands, Parks, and Natural Areas

Author: James Valentine

Description: Many years in the making, Florida Magnificent Wilderness is a special visual journey through some of the most precious wild areas in the state, presenting the breathtaking beauty preserved in state lands, parks, and natural areas. World-famous nature photographer James Valentine has used his camera to record environmental art images of the states remote wilderness places, spectacular sites too often missed by Floridas visitors and residents. Valentine also offers his poetic interpretations of the meaning of his images.

The Swamp – The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

Author: Michael Grunwald

Description: The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land. The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished. Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.

Coral Castle: The Story of Ed Leedskalnin and his American Stonehenge

Author: Rusty McClure and Jack Heffron

Description: Coral Castle is the first book to take an objective, journalistic look at one of America's most intriguing places Coral Castle, located in Homestead, Florida. Edward Leedskalnin, an eccentric Latvian immigrant, built Coral Castle in the 1920s and 30s. Working alone with primitive tools, he quarried, carved, and set in place more than 1,100 tons of coral rock, creating what is commonly known as the American Stonehenge. How he accomplished this amazing feat remains a mystery. Some believe he was simply a talented stonemason and engineer. Many others believe he had somehow harnessed anti-gravity powers. Several books have been written on Ed's otherworldly powers and he has become a cult figure to those who believe in extra-terrestrials and the magnetic grid theory. In Coral Castle, Rusty McClure and Jack Heffron survey the theories and tell the story through journalistic investigation and interviews with experts on all sides of the argument.

Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present

Author: Jerald T. Milanich

Description: When the first Indians arrived in what is now Florida, they wrested their livelihood from a land far different from the modern countryside, one that was cooler, drier, and almost twice the size. Thousands of years later European explorers encountered literally hundreds of different Indian groups living in every part of the state. (Today every Florida county contains an Indian archaeological site.) The arrival of colonists brought the native peoples a new world and great changes took place--by the mid-1700s, through warfare, slave raids, and especially epidemics, the population was almost annihilated. Other Indians soon moved into the state, including Creeks from Georgia and Alabama, who were the ancestors of the modern Seminole and Miccosukee Indians. Written for a general audience, this book is lavishly illustrated with full-color drawings and photographs. It skillfully integrates the latest archaeological and historical information about the Sunshine State's Native Americans, connecting the past and present with modern place-names, and it gives a proud voice to Floridas rich Indian heritage.

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