Everglades National Park — Mailing Address: 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034, Phone: (305) 242-7700. Website: https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/index.htm
If you think that Everglades National Park is just alligators, a visit to its 1.5 million acres will show you what else the park has to offer! The largest park in the lower 48 states, the diverse habitat that is the Everglades offers everything from hiking and biking, canoeing and kayaking, and fresh and saltwater fishing. (More activities can be found here.)
You can also camp in the ultimate wilderness—just be sure to read the safety precautions and know what to expect during the Wet and Dry seasons, and what other “inhabitants” call the park home! From reptiles to birds, insects to mammals and of course fish, the park has lots of non-human residents to view and learn about.
Enter the park through one of three entrances: the Homestead Entrance (Homestead), the Shark Valley Visitor Center (Miami) or Everglades City Entrance (Everglades City). (Note: these entrances are not interconnected.) The Main Entrance in Homestead is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and visitors will not get locked in the park overnight. The gate at the Shark Valley entrance on U.S.41/Tamiami Trail is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
Then, once you arrive, you can explore on foot by walking the Anhinga Trail, glide through Florida Bay by tour boat or kayak, or just relax and watch the sun set over Flamingo— mainland Florida’s southernmost point.
Not sure what you want to do or where you want to go? The four visitor centers— Royal Palm and Flamingo in Homestead, Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City and Shark Valley (Miami)—can provide assistance and information. (Click here for a map of their locations.) Or register for a ranger-led program to get the most out of your visit.
Everglades National Park also has a variety of accessible facilities, services and programs including back country camping, front country camping, boat tours, and assistive learning devices. Visitor Information through TDD is available at 305-242-7740. More details here.
Entrance Passes and Other Fees
Entrance passes may be purchased at the Homestead and Shark Valley entrance stations, Gulf Coast Visitor Center (temporarily cash sales only) and coming soon to the Flamingo Visitor Center. Passes may also be purchased online at Recreation.gov or Your Pass Now. Be sure to print the pass out or display on your smart phone for display at park entrance. More fee information is available here.
Fees are waived on the following days in 2020: 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 and November 11: Veterans Day.
- Vehicle or vessel: $30—Valid for seven days: Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants. If the vehicle pass is purchased, no other pass is necessary. Buy and print your pass online
- Motorcycle: $25—Valid for seven days: Admits one or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle. Buy and print your pass online
- Pedestrian / Cyclist / Paddle-craft: $15—Valid for seven days: Admits one individual with no car (bicyclist, hiker, pedestrian). Youth 15 and under are admitted free of charge. (Non-commercial groups (e.g. church groups, scouts, youth groups, clubs and reunions etc.) traveling in vehicles with a capacity of 16 people or more pay $15/person.)
You can also purchase an annual pass for $55 that is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase and is good for unlimited visits to the park. Other types of passes are also available.
Camping can be enjoyed year-round in the frontcountry and the backcountry, although during the wet season (June through November) conditions can be difficult and uncomfortable.
Frontcountry Camping—Two drive-in campgrounds are accessible from the Homestead entrance of the park: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. Both accommodate tents and RV’s with a limited number of group sites. The Lone Pine Key Campground has restrooms, cold showers, a dump station and fresh water fill-ups. The Flamingo Campgrounds have showers, two dump stations, picnic tables, grills and an amphitheater for winter programs. For more details, fees and reservations, visit the Everglades Guest Services website or call 1-855-708-2207. There are no frontcountry campsites anywhere else in Everglades National Park.
Backcountry Camping—There are a number of ground sites, beach sites, and elevated camping platforms (“chickees”) available in various locations in the park, and backcountry permits are required. Most backcountry camping sites are accessible by canoe, kayak, or motorboat, though a few may be reached by hikers. Go here for specific backcountry camping and fee information.
Rules and Regulations
Swimming or snorkeling is prohibited in all canals, ponds, freshwater lakes, marked channels, and boat basins inside the park. Drones and other unmanned aircraft (model airplanes, quadcopters, etc.) are not allowed in the park, or any other National Park Service site.
Traveling with a pet? Be aware that pets are not allowed on most trails in the park since wildlife (alligators, crocodiles and others) may view your pet as prey and attack. Pets are only allowed in parking lots and other designated areas (roadways open to public vehicular traffic, roadside campgrounds and picnic areas, maintained ground surrounding public facilities and aboard boats) and must be leashed. Do not leave your pet in a parked car due to high temperatures.
More information about the park’s laws and policies, including firearms regulations, and speed and vessel restrictions, are available here.
For more about the National Park System, check out our post, Plan a Visit to A National Park.