everglades camping

Everglades National Park Camping | Your Guide to Everglades Camping

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Everglades National Park Camping | Your Guide to Everglades Camping

Adventurers get ready because we are going Everglades camping at the southern tip of Florida. The Everglade National Park spreads 1.5 million acres! Yes, I said MILLION! Home of hundreds of animal and plant species, the area is known for its marshes, Flatwoods, and mangroves, and the wetlands resemble a slow-moving river filled with abundant plant life giving it its nickname ”River of Grass.” Come see the eclectic birds, manatees, alligators, American Crocodiles, or even the endangered Leatherback Turtle, all while being only an hour from the city of Miami.

Everglades National Park camping offers two popular campgrounds in the park and then 43 backcountry campsites, some of which are only accessible by boat. Navigate through the Everglades to one of the park’s chickees, a raised platform campsite that is literally surrounded by water with no land around for miles. Or, pop a tent on the beach and experience the peaceful waves with a beautiful sunset backdrop all while sitting in the white sand.

Explore Everglades Camping –

Journey with me as we explore the ins and outs of Everglades camping and provide you with essential information about the two campgrounds on site as well as showcasing some favorite backcountry sites. Hang around after for popular things to do which will add even more excitement to your Everglades National Park camping experience.

Our first two stops are at the two developed Everglade National Park campgrounds: The Flamingo Campground and The Long Pine Key Campground. If you are new to the Everglades and want some of the amenities of regular camping, then one of these campgrounds would be a great way to get your toes wet with Everglades camping. And, unlike a lot of the backcountry sites, you can get to these campgrounds with your good old fashioned vehicle.

Keep in mind that in addition to the camping fees for these two campgrounds, you also have to pay the parking fee, which is another $25 per week for cars and $20 for motorcycles. If you plan on going Everglade National Park camping more than a week or more than once a year, then the annual $40 pass would make sense for you. And if you are in your golden years of age 62 or older, you can obtain a lifetime Everglades park pass for only $10! You earned it! Enough with the logistics (although incredibly important), let’s journey to our first campground: The Flamingo Campground.

Flamingo Campground–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to hipcamp.com

  • Open: Year round
  • Cost: Campsites starting at $20
  • 298 tent and RV site
  • Address: 1 Flamingo Lodge Hwy
    Flamingo  FL 33034
  • Reserve here

If you want a comfortable but basic campground in the Everglades where you can bring a tent, RV, and vehicle, then visit the Flamingo Campground that connects to the 99-mile wilderness waterway. You can view more animal species in this one place, than you can imagine..Plus, this is one of the few Everglades camping experiences that you will have with electricity, and you also have your own picnic table and fire ring on site.

Walk Or Drive –

Walk in or drive into this Everglades campground and take advantage of wonderful kayaking, hiking, and views of alligators and the Florida Bay. However, if you are looking for a resort campground, Flamingo Campground is not your place. Instead of loads of amenities, Flamingo Campground focuses more on the basic essentials of camping while having the ability to explore the surrounding natural views.

Flamingo has flush toilets, an amphitheatre, and handicap accessible sites. Make sure you pack the bug spray because mosquitoes are prevalent in this area- but worth the sacrifice as you kick back and experience one of the most magnificent ecosystems on the planet.

Long Pine Key Campground–Everglades National Park Camping 

  • Open: November 15 – May 31
  • Cost: Campsites starting at $20
  • 108 tent and RV site
  • Address: Homestead, FL 33034 –Phone: (305) 242-7873
  • Reservations are first come first serve

If you want to stay in the other developed campground in the Everglades and would enjoy pitching a tent under the shady palms and pines, then venture to Long Pine Key Campground. Here you will revel in rustic Everglades camping with your choice of 108 large, private, drive-up sites near the Homestead entrance within the Everglades National Park.

You’ll have access to well-maintained wash houses, but bring a basin because there are no showers. And if you plan to get some business calls in during your stay, you won’t because of the non-existent cell service. .

But if you love outdoor adventures, hiking, biking, or exploring the wild then don’t miss the Pine Key Trail that stretches 7 miles. Or explore the Anhinga trail with views of sunbathing alligators during the day and creepy eyes at night as you cruise along a sawgrass marsh.

Everglades National Park camping at Long Pine Key Campground is a blast for wilderness lovers.

Midway Campground–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to ravenandchickadee.com

  • Open: Year round
  • Cost: Campsites starting at $24 or $12 with Senior Access Pass
  • 26 RV and 10 tent sites
  • Address: 52870 Tamiami Trail East
    Ochopee, Florida 34141
  • Make a reservation here

Located on the Big Cypress Preserve which protects 729000 acres of swamplands that neighbors the Everglades, the Midway Campground still provides an Everglades camping experience with a basic, but developed campground that has more amenities than the sites in the backcountry. Midway offers a dump station, restrooms, drinking water, day-use area, 26 RV and 10 tent sites. RV sites offer full electric hookup.

If you are a Senior, you can camp your RV here for only $15 a night or $12 for your tent with the Senior Access Pass. The RV sites surround a gorgeous lake, and during your stay, you will see many different trees bordering the premises. But be aware that most sites are in the open and offer little shade.

Activities –

Recreational activities are abundant here, and visitors can enjoy campfire programs, hunting, fishing, and even off-roading on some back vehicle trails. If you’ve never been off-roading, it’s a blast and will make you feel like a bouncing daredevil – so worth it! You also can enjoy the nearby hiking and biking trails that will have you staying fit during your stay. And don’t forget to check out the covered picnic tables located by the lake if you want to escape your site for a while.

Campers should be aware that during January to the end of April, you can only stay for a maximum of 10 days and during May to the end of December you can stay a maximum of 14 nights, so plan accordingly.

The Midway Campground even has cell service and electric for the RV sites, which is rare for Everglades camping, so if you want a more developed campground on an awesome, natural preserve, reserve a site here and have a comfortable stay!

Backcountry Camping: Things to Know Before You Go–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to nps.gov

Many outdoor enthusiasts are attracted to Everglades camping because of the unique backcountry style camping. Here is a great map that shows you where all of these 43 sites are located. There are backcountry sites on the beach, in the middle of the water, and in secluded portions of the Everglades. If you choose this style of Everglades National Park camping, make sure that you come prepared, and you buy the necessary permit.

We’re here to help you make sure you know how to make your backcountry camping experience successful. If you are planning a backcountry Everglades camping trip between November and April, you need a $15 permit and $2 daily camping fee, which you must obtain from the Flamingo or Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Both centers are open 8-4:30. From May to October sites are free, but you are still required to self-register at one of the visitor centers mentioned above and obtain a camper’s permit. You can call 239-695-2945 for more information.

Backcountry Tips –

Keep in mind that some backcountry sites are basic tenting sites on the ground in wooded, private areas, others are right on the sandy beach, and others are in chickees – very cool platforms that are located miles out in the middle of the water and are only accessible by boat. They are roofed wooden structures that you can also pitch your tent, all while providing you with an awesome Everglades National Park camping experience. Some adventurers choose to venture to some of these chickees by kayak, just make sure you obtain the precise location and pay attention to the weather radar, then stay in one of these Seminole-inspired structures with an incomparable view of a gorgeous sunset.

Don’t know where to start? Or which backcountry Everglades National Park camping site is for you? Fear not, for we’ve got a list of the top backcountry sites below. Check them out, and use this new found info to make an informed decision about how and where you want to go Everglades camping.

Shark Point Chickee–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to TripAdvisor

This first Chickee offers campers a spectacular view of the Florida Bay and can be reached most conveniently from the Flamingo boat launch. Although it was not kayaker friendly when the chickee first appeared in 2010, recent modifications have made this chickee easily accessible for kayakers.

Love birds? This chickee is known for being a resting place for all sorts of them including pelicans, cormorants, terns, and more. You are able to put kayaks on the platform and are even provided with a broom and scraper to keep your chickee clean and free of bird poo. This chickee has a taller ceiling than the nearby Johnson Key Chickee. Check it out now for some fantastic Everglades camping.

Johnson Key Chickee–Everglades National Park Camping 

Credit to kayakfari.wordpress.com

This next chickee also resides on the Florida Bay and offers the same improved kayak access as the Shark Point chickee. Be aware that getting to this chickee from Flamingo requires an experienced boater or kayaker for the waters are deep, and the tides can be intense. Also, make sure that if you choose to go Everglade camping on a chickee, that you pack accordingly. The weather can be unpredictable and small, valuable belongings like keys could fall between the chickee’s cracks. Although the views and uniqueness of the Johnson Key chickee is one not to be reckoned with, it requires your planning and knowledge of the area. It’s advised that adventurers read the wilderness trip planner that has loads of useful information.

Sleeping Arrangements –

Both chickees can sleep six people, but if you decide to take the trip alone, be safe, and do not forget to check in at the visitor’s center and let someone else know where and how long you will be staying. The Johnson Key chickee offers an unforgettable Everglades National Park camping experience, but remember, you will be surrounded by water, and you need to paddle six miles to get there, so respect mother nature and be mindful of the weather and tides when planning your trip.

Picnic Key–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to TripAdvisor

Want to stay on the Gulf and have access to a latrine? Then paddle your way 7 miles from Everglade City to Picnic Key by launching off the Barron River Resort boat ramp. After your journey, you will find yourself on a beach with white sand, stones, and seashells. This is a perfect place to get a tan, run along the waves, or fish. If you love the movie “Castaway” and want a secluded Everglades camping experience, then kayak to this remote beach, pitch a tent, and enjoy a breathtaking sunset in solitude at Picnic Key.

Highland Beach–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to paulsedwick.com

Located near Broad River, Highland Beach offers ground and platform sites to pitch your tent. If you are a marine animal and beach lover, then this is your place. Catch a glimpse of a jumping dolphin or whale while lying in your hammock under the palm trees. This site offers the relaxation and calming views that many only dream about. Sink your feet into the white sand, and read a book while listening to the breeze. You will escape away from the hustle and bustle of modern life by camping here. You won’t want to ever go home.

Willy Willy–Everglades National Park Camping 

everglades camping

Credit to mobilerving.com

In spite of the name, this campsite has nothing to do with Willy Wonka and chocolate bars, but it is two miles away from the Wilderness Waterway.  It’s reserved for serious outdoors people who have to trek almost 35 miles from Chokoloskee Island using a marine chart to navigate their way. The last two miles up Rocky Creek are somewhat unmarked but lead to a wonderfully remote and shaded campsite. Stow away your kayak, pitch a tent, and get cozy around the portable grill – no fires are allowed at the ground sites. But you can enjoy the luxuries of a dock on site and toilet, just be prepared for the possibility of some serious rain.

Enjoy some Everglades National Park camping at this remote site, but you should have strong navigational skills to get there, or else you will literally be up the creek!

Broad River– Everglades National Park Camping

everglades camping

Credit to Steve Ojeda

Similarly to Willy Willy, Broad River features three ground sites that can accommodate up to ten people. Be aware that these ground sites tend to have a few more bugs, so don’t forget to pack that spray and mosquito net. You can boat or hike to these sites and pitch a tent, but leave the car and RV at home for this is primitive Everglade National Park camping at its finest. Bring some eco-friendly toilet paper and use the woods as your bathroom as you rough it and put your outdoor skills to use. Located less than 4 miles from the Backcountry Highland Beach, you can explore some great land and water wildlife during your stay .Experience some wonderful sunsets and camp under the extravagant moonlight at this down-to-earth (literally) Everglades camping site.

Things to Do – Everglades National Park Camping

When you are Everglades camping, you shouldn’t miss out on some awesome attractions like charter boat fishing, exploring swamps, and awesome views from an observatory tour. Also, don’t forget about the alligators! See a bunch of them at an alligator farm and take an airboat ride as well. So what are you waiting for? Venture with me to some top Florida attractions that will enrich your Everglade National Park camping trip.

Things to Do – Everglades National Park Camping

Soak in the Knowledge and Fish on Captain Mike Merrit’s Native Guide Service – Everglades National Park

everglades camping

Credit to everglade-angler.com

Camping

If you are into fishing and want a top-ranked charter boat to take your for a swirl, look no further than Mike Merritt’s Native Guide Service. He will shed light on how to reel in a Snook or Redfish all while offering you facts about the 10,000 Islands. He also has top-notch equipment and a 20-foot Pathfinder boat. If you want to expand your knowledge and catch some fish, then go with Captain Mike. There are only positive reviews about this fabulous outing, so he won’t disappoint you.

Walk a Boardwalk and Explore the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary – Everglades National Park Camping

everglades camping

Credit to marcoislandliving.com

  • Open: Year round
  • Cost: Adults $14,students with ID $6, Children 6 and under free
  • Address: 375 Sanctuary Road, Naples, Florida 34120, phone: (239) 348-9151

Visit the western portion of the Everglades by taking a 2.5-mile stroll on a boardwalk that allows visitors to explore the protected marsh, prairie, and Pine Flatwoods. And don’t miss the shady Cypress Trees, some of which are 500 years old! From the safety of the boardwalk that swerves through the dense wilderness, you can observe alligators, otters, deer, and many different species of birds.

Your admission fees will not go to waste as they help preserve this magnificent habitat. The sanctuary continues to expand and offer educational activities since beginning to protect the birds here in 1905. If you want to explore nature while supporting a cause, don’t hesitate to check out the Corkscrew Sanctuary which remains open every day of the year.

Get Rowdy and Visit The Everglades Alligator Farm – Everglades National Park Camping

everglades camping

Credit to everglades.com

  • Open: Year round
  • Cost: Adults $27, Child $20 Check out some coupons here
  • Address: 40351 SW 192 Avenue Homestead, FL 33034 Phone: 305-247-2628 Fax: 305-248-9711

Conveniently located near the entrance of The Everglades National Park, the Everglades Alligator Farm remains the oldest one in South Florida. And don’t be limited because of the name; this attraction also includes an airboat tour and snake show. You can watch the gators bask in the sun or feed at one of the daily feeding shows. Want a more personal experience? Then you and your party can even book a custom tour here. This alligator farm will add even more to your Everglades National Park camping vacation. Take advantage of it now!

Reminders –

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, adventurer, survivalist, or wildlife lover, then go Everglades National Park camping and be amazed by one of the most fabulous preserved ecosystems in the world.

Want some basic comforts and company? Then camp at one of the slightly more developed – but still primitive –  Flamingo, Midway, or Long Pine Key Campgrounds.

Feeling like a kayaking rock star? Well, then venture to one of the chickees amid open water for a unique camping trip you will not forget.

Want a blend of land and water? Then hike and/or paddle to one of the beach or ground sites where you can explore local wildlife and hiking trails nearby.

You will not find a shortage of camping options for any soul at The Everglades National Park. It’s time to get your adventure on and experience some Everglades National Park camping. So get packing, the Gators need some new scenery and await your exploration.