Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
If you are looking for guidance on how to spend your time in the Everglades, the staff at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center are knowledgeable and happy to direct you to appropriate trails, boat tours, and kayak/canoe rentals. They can also answer any wildlife questions. Stick around for one of the ranger-led programs, such as a guided walk or lecture, or allot some time to watch a 15-minute film that provides a comprehensive orientation of the park.
Things to know before you go
- Public restrooms are available as well as a small bookstore and gift shop.
- There is no cafe on-site so bring plenty of snacks and water.
- Two popular and easy walking trails are located up the road towards Royal Palm Visitor Center.
- Insect repellent is essential for a comfortable visit; it can be purchased in the gift shop.
How to get there
When driving from Miami or north of Homestead, take the Florida Turnpike south until it merges with U.S. 1 at Florida City. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Palm Drive before following the signs to the park. Due to its remote location, it is advised that you not use any ride-share apps to reach the Everglades or visitor center as it can be challenging to access a ride back.
When to get there
The visitor center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm from mid-April through mid-December, and from 8 am to 5 pm mid-December through mid-April. Peak season is typically during the park’s dry season (November through April) due to mild temperatures, low humidity, clear skies, and fewer mosquitoes.
Royal Palm State Park
Considered to be the nucleus of the Everglades, Royal Palm State Park is home to 4,000 acres of biodiverse ecosystems and habitats. It is a great option for visitors with a limited timeframe. You can access the two most popular trails, Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo, from its adjacent visitor center.