Admission is $30 per car to Everglades National Park, but if you take a free trolley from Homestead on weekends this winter, you get in free.
The trolley system in Homestead links visitors with Homestead’s two national parks – Everglades and Biscayne National Park – as well as to Homestead Bayfront Park, which features a natural atoll pool for swimming.
In the 2021-2022 season, the trolley will operate every weekend from Jan. 22 to April 3, 2022, plus every day during the holiday Dec. 26-31, 2021.
Visitors can use the free parking in Homestead and then use the trolley to visit either or both parks.
The trolley has been offered for several years, but in recent years, each park has added activities, according to Homestead Public Information Officer Zachery Good.
Biscayne National Park offers additional boat tours, including snorkeling tours. (Florida Rambler’s story on the Biscayne National Park boat tours.) You also can rent kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards there.
The trolley to Everglades National Park stops makes a 20-minute stop at the delightful Robert is Here fruit stand, then at the excellent Coe Visitor Center (worth a visit) and then goes to Royal Palm, home of the Anhinga Trail, the most reliable place to see alligators and wading birds up close. There is a second hike leaving from there – the Gumbo Limbo Trail – and there are often ranger talks there too. It’s easy to spend several hours at this location.
From there, visitors take the trolley back to the visitor center and then on to Homestead.
There is no additional public transportation into the rest of the large park this year.
If you catch the 9 a.m. tour to either national park, it is possible to visit both parks in one day, Good said. “I’ve done it, and it is a pretty long exhausting day, but it’s possible.”
It is possible to reach the park from Miami all on Miami-Dade County Public Transportation. The trolley site recommends you use the Miami-Dade Transit Trip Planner at MiamiDade.gov for a step-by-step guide on catching bus 38 to Losner Park, 104 N. Krome Ave., where the trolley stops.
Please confirm this information with the trolley website or by calling, as schedules can change.
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.