The Homestead National Parks Trolley's second season has come to a close, boasting record-breaking ridership and expanded service. Over 14,000 people came from all over Florida, America, and the world to enjoy the free transportation, free parking, free guided tour, and waived entrance fees that are part of this exciting and successful public service. The innovative project, a partnership between the City of Homestead and Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, is the only public transportation available to these South Florida National Parks. It will return in November 2015.
The Trolley, an effort spearheaded by Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley, offers free weekend service from Downtown Homestead to Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, and Homestead Bayfront Park from November through April. Recently expanded to include more tour times and a longer season, the Trolley provides visitors with an educational guided tour. They learn about the history and ecosystems of our national parks and how these relate to the history of Homestead and Miami-Dade County.
The City of Homestead, recently designated as the “Gateway to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks," created this pioneer program as part of an effort to attract tourism to Downtown Homestead. With the popularity of the unique service growing, the City of Homestead and the National Park Service have been exploring a complementary water trolley service in Biscayne National Park. This would offer a free or low-cost option for residents and visitors to explore the natural wonder of Biscayne Bay.
“The Trolley’s second season was absolutely a success. With more residents and visitors coming out to enjoy the parks, more tours, and a special Holiday Trolley, we couldn’t have asked for more in the second year of the program,” said Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley. “I hope that next year, we’ll have even more people getting out in nature to explore these natural treasures.”
From November through April, the Homestead National Parks Trolley departs every Saturday and Sunday from picturesque Historic Downtown Homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can enjoy local area restaurants, take in Homestead’s beautiful historic architecture, or visit the free Old Town Hall Museum before or after their visit to the parks. The Homestead National Parks Trolley can be picked up at Losner Park in Historic Downtown Homestead at 104 N. Krome Avenue. The trolley connects to bus routes from Miami-Dade County public transportation. There is also plenty of free parking adjacent to the trolley stop.
The Homestead National Parks Trolley is the result of efforts lead by Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley, in collaboration with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), National Park Service and the City of Homestead. NPCA is America’s voice for national parks and works to protect and enhance America’s National Park System for current and future generation.
For more information on the Homestead National Parks Trolley schedule and routes as well as ranger-guided walks at the National Parks and other activities, please visit: www.cityofhomestead.com/gateway