Everglades City’s history dates back more than 2,000 years to the age of the coastal Calusa mound dwellers, who had a major settlement on Chokoloskee Island. This island has one of the highest elevations in the Everglades achieving 20 feet above sea level. The island’s abnormal elevation is artificial and the result of the discard of shells by the indigenous inhabitants over their 2000-year occupation. Europeans established a settlement here in the late 1800s and the local economy was based on trade, fishing and shellfishing. As more settlers arrived the community gradually evolved into a shipping port for produce and seafood.
Seafood is still a major economic factor in the area but is following the decline of the produce market and tourism has become the area’s major economic driver. The city is the northern terminus of the Everglades Wilderness Waterway and offers water-based tours of all types including airboats, kayaks, canoes and swamp buggies. A bike ride to the ancient Calusa settlement site on nearby Chokoloskee Island can be an interesting experience.
Unique to Everglades City is The Everglades Rod and Gun Club (239-695-2101). Once a trading post that opened in the late 1800s the club has hosted many famous faces who come for the renowned hunting and fishing including former U.S. presidents, Mick Jagger and Ernest Hemingway. The rambling wood frame home is now a delightful marina, restaurant, with nearby cottages right on the Barron River. The old clubhouse, which was constructed in the early European period, is well worth a visit.
The Waterway Guide Team has gained extensive boating knowledge over the years, and now we are sharing all of the tips, skills and tools we’ve picked up along the way!