Everglades National Park: Shark Valley Entrance

The Everglades National Park is one of three national parks in Florida. The Everglades spans a whopping 1.5 MILLION acres and resides in three different counties; Monroe, Miami-Dade and Collier.

There are three separate and unconnected entrances into this expansive park, you have the Flamingo Area of the park which is in Homestead off State Road 9336; Shark Valley Entrance, off of U.S. 41 Tamiami Trail in Miami; and the Gulf Coast Entrance in Everglades City, on Oyster Bar Lane. Again none of these entrances will connect inside the park.

Fun Fact: the Main Entrance in Homestead is open year round all day and all night, you will NEVER get locked in at the Homestead entrance! Shark Valley however has open to close hours, and the trail is only open from 8:30 am to 6pm daily.

It costs $30.00 for a standard entrance fee, and that pass is then good for 7 days. The park also does NOT keep a database of passes, so if you have an annual, senior or volunteer pass and you forget it you will have to pay to enter the park.

There IS parking at the Everglades National Park! Long Pine Campground is near Homestead’s Entrance and Flamingo Campground is also just south of the Homestead entrance. Check out the Park’s website for links and information on camping!

Shark Valley, is a part of the park that I have visited during November. It is absolutely breathtaking! The trails are expansive, and paved which makes biking through the park much easier. The park offers bicycle rentals should you not have your own, which is a huge plus; because at the time, I did not have a bicycle of my own. We took the Tram Road to the Observation tower, which is a 15 mile trail to the tower and back. The observation tower is quite the tower as well, giving you the ability to see for miles in any
direction because of it’s height!

The ride to and from the observation tower was smooth sailing and absolutely beautiful. The amount of wildlife you can see as you ride along the path is awe inspiring! Birds, alligators, snakes, and a myriad of other wildlife can all be observed along this 15 mile trail. Visiting this park is a must when you are in Miami. There is so much beauty in this subtropical wetlands. It is a great place to recharge while staying in the hustle and bustle city of Miami. You can go from the loud, busy and hustle of Miami, to the calm and serene peacefulness of nature in a matter of minutes. The Everglades will let you reconnect with nature through the silence and captivating beauty that is the wetlands. Let the birds serenade you as you walk or bike through this expansive park.