Royal Palm Visitor Center
If you have a finite amount of time to visit the Everglades National Park, then stop at the Royal Palm Visitor Center and State Park to experience two out of nine distinct Everglade ecosystems, as well as access two of the most popular trails in the park.
Considered to be the nucleus of the Everglades, Royal Palm State Park was established in 1916 after it was set aside to be saved from development. It practically doubled in size (to 4,000 acres) a short while after and was officially named a protected state park in 1921.
Guests to the visitor center can park in the parking lot, grab a guide brochure, and walk the raised boardwalks of the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails. Stay on the lookout for all manner of creatures including alligators, great blue herons, and anhinga—a water bird with a long, snake-like neck, and the trail’s namesake. Consider sticking around for a ranger-led tour down one of the trails to learn more about the Everglades and Royal Palm State Park.
Things to know before you go
- Public restrooms are available at the visitor center.
- There is no on-site cafe, however vending machines and a gift shop are on-site.
- If you decide to take a self-guided tour of the park, consider purchasing a wildlife viewing guide from the center’s gift shop for more information and a kind of nature treasure hunt. *The boardwalks for both Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails are wheelchair-accessible.
How to get there
The Royal Palm Visitor Center is located 4 miles (6 kilometers) into the park from the Homestead entrance. From Florida’s Turnpike south, take exit 1 before turning right at the first light on Palm Drive. Continue on Palm Drive and then turn left at the four-way-stop onto Tower Road. Follow Tower Road before turning right at the four-way stop onto S.W. 376th Street. Take 376th Street all the way into the park and then follow signs for the Royal Palm area, which is the first left after you enter the park.
When to get there
The visitor center is open throughout the year. Peak season is typically during the park’s dry season (November through April) due to mild temperatures, low humidity, clear skies, and fewer mosquitoes.
- Things to do in Florida
- Things to do in Miami
- Things to do in Key West
- Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
- Things to do in Naples
- Things to do in Boca Raton
- Things to do in Fort Myers
- Things to do in West Palm Beach
- Things to do in Freeport
- Things to do in Sarasota
- Things to do in St Petersburg
- Things to do in Tampa
- Things to do in Cocoa Beach
- Things to do in Grand Bahama Island
- Things to do in New Providence Island