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By: Kara Franker

What You Need to Know about Traveling to Everglades National Park.

One of Florida’s most gorgeous natural assets, the Everglades is definitely a place you’ll want to explore while you’re in Miami. Everglades National Park spans 1.5 million acres across southern Florida and there are two ways to access the park from Miami-Dade County.

Unless you book a group tour, you’ll need to drive yourself to one of several Everglades Park entrances. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Everglades National Park Map before you go. Here’s what you need to know and how to get there.

Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Entrance Fees

Entrance to the park costs $30 per car and gets you access for seven straight days. Otherwise, it’s $25 for a motorcycle or $15 for people who arrive by foot, bicycle or paddle-craft - that is, unless they are under 15 years old - then it's free. Fees for larger occupancy vehicles and/or camping are additional and vary depending on whether it’s rainy or dry season. Please consult the National Parks site for fees as they often change.

2020 Free Park Entrance Days

If you plan on visiting in 2020, here are a few special days where it's completely free to visit the park.

Mark your calendar now:
January 20: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 18: First day of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 26: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day

Travel Tip: In the Everglades, there are two main seasons: dry season (the busiest time of year, which is late November to May) and wet season (less busy, but more mosquitos and lots of rain).

Gumbo Limbo Trail
Gumbo Limbo Trail

Southern Entrance to the Park in Homestead

Open 365 days a year, the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is located at 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034. The center is open daily until 5 p.m. and is approximately 1.5 hours away from Downtown Miami, depending on traffic.

Either plug the above address into your GPS or follow these driving directions: Take Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south until it merges with U.S. 1 in Florida City. Then take a right on Palm Drive (the first traffic light) and follow the signs into Everglades National Park.

Four miles from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, you’ll find the Royal Palm Visitor Center. From there, you have access to both the Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail. These trails provide great opportunities for biking, bird watching, camping, kayaking, hiking and group tours.

If you keep driving roughly 38 miles south of the park’s main entrance, you’ll find the Flamingo Visitor Center. There you’ll find a public boat ramp, marina store with drinks and snacks, plus more hiking and kayaking trails. Visitors can rent boats, canoes, kayaks, bicycles or book a boat tour. 

Shark Valley Tram
Shark Valley Tram

Northern Entrance to the Park in Shark Valley

To access the park’s northern entrance, you can take the Tamiami Trail (SW 8th Street/Highway 41) all the way west to the Shark Valley Visitor Center at 36000 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194. It’s about an hour drive from Miami, depending on traffic.

On the way, you’ll pass popular Everglades tour companies and alligator farms along the way; some are operated by the Miccosukee Indian Village. Once you make it out to the Shark Valley Visitor Center, you’ll find a variety of biking and hiking trails. There’s also a tram tour that leaves from the center and goes deep into the park. Reservations are highly recommended and range in cost between $14- $27 per person (in addition to the $30 park entrance fee). For tram schedules and reservations, contact Shark Valley Tram Tours at (305) 221-8445.

Travel Tip: When you’re traveling to the Everglades, it’s important to think about safety. Always let someone know your itinerary before you go. And because of the presence of dangerous wildlife, swimming in the park is not recommended. Insect repellent and sunscreen are always good ideas too!

Read More:

Free Things To Do With The Kids
Explore Nature, Parks & Gardens In Miami
The Best Everglades Watersports and Boating
Where To Eat In Homestead & Florida City

Explore Miami Transportation

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