Last revised March 23, 2000.
Everglades National Park is the largest remaining sub-tropical
wilderness in the continental United States and has extensive
fresh and saltwater areas, open Everglades prairies, and mangrove
forests. Abundant wildlife includes rare and colorful birds,
and this is the only place in the world where alligators and
crocodiles exist side by side. The park is 1,506,539 acres
(606,688 hectares) in size. It is a World Heritage Site, an
International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International
Significance. It receives most visitors from December through
April, with far less people visiting from May through November.
The main park road winds 38 miles from the main entrance
to Flamingo. U.S. 41 leads to the Shark Valley entrance, and
U.S. 29 leads to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Parking is
available for buses at all visitor centers. Visitor parking
is available at all visitor centers and most trailheads.
Admission fees are ten dollars ($10) per car or five dollars
($5) per pedestrian/cyclist at the main entrance; eight dollars
($8) per car or four dollars ($4) per pedestrian or cyclist
at Shark Valley and Chekika. An Annual Pass may be purchased
for Everglades National Park for twenty dollars ($20), and
a Golden Eagle pass, good for entrance to any U.S. National
Park for one year, may be purchased for fifty dollars ($50).
Golden Age and Golden Access Passes are also available. Entrance
fees are not charged at Gulf Coast.
Walking and canoe trails, boat tours and tram tours are excellent
for viewing wildlife, including alligators and a multitude
of tropical and temperate birds. Camping, whether in the backcountry
or at established campgrounds, offers the opportunity to enjoy
what the park offers firsthand. Ranger-led activities, offered
throughout the park, may help you to enjoy your visit even
Visitor centers are located at the main entrance (west of
Homestead), Royal Palm, Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast
(south of Everglades City).
Ranger led walks and talks are offered year-round from the
Royal Palm Visitor Center west of the main entrance, and at
Flamingo, Shark Valley, and Gulf Coast during the winter months.
Boat tours are available year-round at Flamingo and Gulf
Coast. For information and reservations, call Flamingo Lodge
Boat Tours at 941-695-3101, or Everglades National Park Boat
Tours at 941-695-2591.
Hiking and biking trails are located at various points along
the main park road and at Shark Valley.
Canoe trails are popular in the Flamingo area and at Gulf
Coast. In addition, a 99-mile canoe trail, known as the Wilderness
Waterway, connects Gulf Coast to the Flamingo area.
The Flamingo Lodge is the only lodging available in the park.
It is open year-round, with 103 rooms, and 24 cottages with
kitchen facilities. A restaurant and cafe are open during
the winter. For further information and reservations, contact
Flamingo Lodge, Marina, and Outpost Resort at 1-800-600-3813
Campgrounds are located at three places in the park, with
tent and RV sites, restrooms, and water. There are no hookups
in the park. All three campgrounds are open year round. Reservations
may be made for November 24, 1998 through April 30, 1999 at
the Long Pine Key and Flamingo Campgrounds by calling 1-800-365-2267
in the U.S., 301-722-1257 outside the U.S., or 888-530-9796
with a TDD for the hearing-impaired.
Backcountry camping is also available. Reservations for designated
campsites may be made in person up to 24 hours before entering
the backcountry. There are three sites accessible by foot
and 43 additional sites available in Florida Bay, along the
Gulf Coast, and inland, accessible by canoe or boat. All supplies
must be carried in and out of the backcountry, including water.
Fees for backcountry camping are $10 for 1-6 people, $20 for
7-12 people, and $30 for 13 or more people.
Boating is popular in the Everglades, as many parts of the
park are only accessible from the water. There is a marina
at Flamingo. A boat launch fee of $5 for a 7-day pass or $60
for an annual pass is charged. The 7-day pass fee for a non-motorized
boat is $3.
Fishing, in the inland and coastal waters of the Everglades,
is also excellent and can be enjoyed year-round. Freshwater
and saltwater fishing require separate Florida fishing licenses.
There is a restaurant and store at Flamingo. The restaurant
may be closed during the summer; however, food is always available
at the marina store. Local restaurants and grocery stores
are available in Homestead, Florida City, Everglades City,
and Miami. There are no banks or automatic teller machines
in the park. Gasoline may be obtained at the Flamingo Marina,
and in communities adjacent to the park.
The Florida National Parks and Monuments Association manages
bookstores at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Royal Palm
Visitor Center and Shark Valley Visitor Center. TW Services
operates a gift shop at the Flamingo Visitor Center during
the winter months. Everglades National Park Boat Tours operates
a gift store in the Gulf Coast Visitor Center year-round.
Accessible facilities and trails may be found throughout
the park. All of the park's visitor centers, most interpretive
trails, some of the Flamingo boat tours, and the Shark Valley
tram tours are wheelchair accessible. There are accessible
campsites at all three campgrounds in the park, and one primitive
backcountry campsite, at Pearl Bay, is accessible to people
with mobility impairments. Audio programs and captioned movies
are available at most visitor centers.
Everglades National Park is the third largest park in the
United States, outside Alaska. Plan on staying at least one
day and perhaps several to get a good feel for what the park
CLIMATE AND RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
The Everglades is mild and pleasant from December through
April, though rare cold fronts may create near freezing conditions.
Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures around 90 degrees
(32°C) and humidity over 90%. Afternoon thunderstorms are
common and mosquitoes are abundant. Wear comfortable sportswear
in winter; loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and
insect repellent, are recommended in the summer.
For a 24-hour weather service recording out of Miami, call
305-661-5065, or get the current forecast for Miami, Homestead,
SUN AND MOSQUITOES:
Visitors are advised to bring drinking water and snacks since
these items are sparsely located. (However, snacks are not
permitted on interpretive trails.) Since sun and insects are
likely to be abundant, sun screen, protective clothing and
insect repellent are advised. Insects can make a visit unbearable
during the summer months if you are not prepared. Information
on mosquito levels during the summer is available at (305)
242-7700 (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST).
RESERVATIONS AND PERMITS:
Reservations may be made at the Long Pine Key and Flamingo
Campgrounds. Permits are required for backcountry camping.
Film permits and special use permits are handled on an individual
basis; call 305-242-7700. For research and collection permits,
Visitors to the main park entrance and Flamingo, coming from
the Miami area and points north, may take the Florida Turnpike
(Route 821) south to the Florida City exit. Turn right at
the first traffic light onto Palm Drive and follow the signs
to the park. Visitors driving north from the Florida Keys
should turn left on Palm Drive (344th Street) in Florida City
and follow the signs to the park.
Visitors to Shark Valley may take the Florida Turnpike to
the exit for SW 8th Street (also known as U.S. 41 and Tamiami
Trail). Travel 25 miles west on U.S. 41 to signs marked Shark
Valley. From the Naples area, take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail)
east to signs marked Shark Valley.
Visitors to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center should take U.S.
41 west from the Miami area to the intersection of U.S. 29,
then take U.S. 29 south three miles into Everglades City and
follow the signs to the park visitor center. From the Naples
area, take U.S. 41 east and turn south on U.S. 29.
Visitors to Chekika should take Krome Avenue (S.W. 177th
Ave.) north from Homestead or south from U.S. 41. Go west
on SW 168th Street and follow the signs to the park.
OPERATING HOURS AND SEASONS:
- Main entrance (near Homestead and Florida City): Open
daily, 24 hours a day.
- The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is open from 8:00 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m. daily.
- The Royal Palm Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00
a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
- The Flamingo Visitor Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. November through April.
- Chekika: Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,
and weekends 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Gates are locked at
closing. Campers are allowed access in and out of the campground
after closing, but need to register before 5:00 p.m. to
obtain the gate combination from a ranger or camp host.
- Shark Valley: Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Visitor
Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
- Gulf Coast Visitor Center (in Everglades City): Open daily,
November to April 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and May to November
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Everglades National Park
4000l State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733
(305) 242-7700 (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST)
Write: Information, Everglades National Park, 40001 State
Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034-6733.... Or call: 305-242-7700,
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.
To explore recent research related to the Everglades, visit
the Everglades Information Network (http://everglades.fiu.edu)
at Florida International University.
For more information, visit our expanded web pages (http://www.nps.gov/ever/home.htm)!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I take an airboat ride?
Airboats are not permitted in Everglades National Park, but
you may take an airboat ride outside park boundaries along
the Tamiami Trail, at Everglades City, and between Homestead
and the Ernest Coe Visitor Center off route 9336. Deeper water
boat tours and tram tours are offered at several locations
within the park.
Should I be concerned about venomous snakes? Alligators? Toxic plants?
Four species of venomous snakes - the Eastern Diamondback
Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), Dusky pigmy rattlesnake
(Sistrurus miliarius), Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus),
and Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius) - live in south Florida.
Snakes usually shy away from people. If you see a snake, and
you are unsure what kind it is, give it a wide berth and it
will not bother you. Never pick up a snake.
Despite their fearsome appearance, alligators are normally
wary of people; unprovoked attacks on humans are rare. Those
habituated to people as a source of food, however, may be
more aggressive. As with all wild animals, it is necessary
to keep a safe distance.
Certain local plants, some found nowhere else in the U.S.,
contain toxins which can cause skin reactions if contacted.
If you plan to leave the trails, learn how to identify poison
ivy, poisonwood, manchineel, and other poisonous plants.
Was Everglades National Park affected by Hurricane Andrew?
Some areas were badly damaged by the storm, which struck
on August 24, 1992. Extensive damage to forests and facilities
occurred near the Main Visitor Center. Virtually all facilities
have been repaired or replaced. The Main Visitor Center, now
called the "Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center," was rebuilt and
was dedicated on December 6, 1996.
What areas are good for wildlife viewing?
Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail (at Royal Palm), and Eco
Pond (one mile past the Flamingo Visitor Center) are good
for viewing alligators, wading birds, and other freshwater
wildlife. Canoeists can paddle into Snake Bight (near Flamingo)
and Chokoloskee Bay (Gulf Coast) before low tide to witness
large numbers of water birds feeding in the shallows and on
mud flats. A productive freshwater canoeing area is Nine Mile
Pond and adjacent borrow pits (11 miles, or 18 km, up the
road from Flamingo).
Should I be especially aware of certain regulations?
- When observing animals, especially on major highways,
pull completely off the road.
- Rangers use radar to clock speeders. Obey speed limits.
- It is dangerous and illegal to feed or harass any wildlife.
- Weapons are not permitted in Everglades National Park.
- Skateboards, rollerskates, and personal watercraft, such
as Jet Skis®, are prohibited in Everglades National Park.
- Pets are allowed on a 6-foot (2 m) leash in parking lots
and campgrounds, but not on trails or in wilderness areas.
What should I do about insects?
Even though insect infestations aren't usually as severe
during the drier, cooler winter months, one should always
be prepared for encounters with bugs, especially mosquitoes.
In addition to using repellents, several actions can be taken
to avoid insects:
- Cover up! Wear long-sleeved clothing.
- Avoid grassy areas where mosquitoes can hide.
- Close doors quickly.
- Seek open, breezy areas and avoid shady places.