The Best Camping Near Everglades National Park, Florida

The Best Camping Near Everglades National Park, Florida

Hike, bike, hop on a wildlife tour, or stargaze from campgrounds near Everglades National Park. With over 1.5 million acres of wetlands, there are countless wonders to take in, both on land and in the water.

Everglades National Park, Florida
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About Camping Near Everglades National Park

If your definition of a successful day outdoors involves seeing unique wildlife, head to campgrounds near Everglades National Park. Take a hike on Bayshore Loop Trail or Rowdy Bend Trail, always keeping an eye out for turtles and alligators, or hop on a boat tour for the chance to see dolphins, ospreys, manatees and more. Bring your bike along on your Everglades National Park camping trip to enjoy the 15-mile paved path through Shark Valley, and be sure to stop and enjoy the scenery at the observation tower or the Otter Cave Hammock Trail!

Top Campgrounds Near Everglades National Park, Florida

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Everglades National Park Camping FAQs

Practically the entire tip of Florida’s peninsula is covered in the vast wetlands known as the Everglades. With over a million acres of marshes, cyprus forests, prairies, and marine ecosystems, Everglades National Park is a bucket list achievement for camping enthusiasts. Most think of the Everglades as a swamp, but this area is actually a complicated mixture of estuaries and prairie that is flooded by the mighty Lake Okeechobee. Hundreds of species call this fragile wilderness home and form the unique ecosphere that makes Everglades National Park one of the crown jewels of biodiversity.

Camping in the Everglades might seem a bit daunting, but you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable sights. From colonies of birds in the thousands, to the clash of alligators and crocodiles, to delicate orchids pollinated by endangered butterflies, there’s no shortage of natural miracles to uncover in this bewitching wilderness. Here are your questions answered about camping in Everglades National Park.

What’s the best time of year to go camping in Everglades National Park?

The Everglades see two seasons a year, wet and dry. Winter, or the dry season, is the best time of year to camp in and around Everglades National Park. Temperatures typically range from mid-50s to 80° and rainfall is low, although each month still sees at least 1.5 inches.

The summer is an undesirable and sometimes dangerous time to camp in the Everglades. Hurricane and tropical storm season ramps up, rainfall is extremely high, and the sun is sweltering. You also just might be carried away by the clouds of mosquitoes. The shoulder months of March, April, and October can also be a good time to plan a trip as rainfall remains relatively low and temperatures aren’t quite as boiling as mid-summer.

Weather patterns vary vastly from year to year. Always be sure to check the conditions of the park before planning a trip, and talk to a park ranger upon arrival if you’re unsure about something. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

What should I pack for camping near Everglades National Park?

The Everglades see humid, tropical weather and frequent rain, an average of over six inches in the summer months. You’ll need to prepare for camping near Everglades National Park with waterproof gear, as well as sun and bug protection. Here are some items to pack for camping in Everglades National Park, and a few suggestions to keep in mind.

  • Dry bags
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved pants
  • Bug spray
  • Head net
  • Water
  • Electrolyte replacement
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunshirt
  • Hat
  • Headlamps or flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Map
  • Waterproof matches
  • Multi-tool
  • Biodegradable wet wipes
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Binoculars

Bug Protection

The Everglades are home to lots of mosquitoes. Bug spray containing DEET, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and even a head net are all great ways to protect yourself from the thirsty devils. Mosquito bites aren’t just itchy and annoying, they can be harmful too. More and more mosquitoes are carrying dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus. Try to keep covered as much as possible.

Sun Protection

The blistering Florida sun is stronger than ever in Everglades National Park. Bring a high SPF sunscreen, a moisture-wicking sun shirt, neck gaiter, wide-brimmed sun hat, and sunglasses to keep burns at bay. Heat stroke is a contender every summer. Drink plenty of water and replenish electrolytes throughout the day.


One way or another, whether trudging through the swamp or being baptized by thunderstorm, you’re going to come in contact with water in the Everglades, and lots of it. Get ready by packing your rain gear like ponchos, rain jackets, waterproof sandals, and umbrellas. Dry bags are essential for keeping important electronics and papers dry, while canopies are a great way to shelter from the storm if you’re tent camping in Everglades National Park.

What are the top outdoor activities near Everglades National Park?

The Everglades are a celebration of wetlands in all their swampy glory. You might be wondering what outdoor activities you can do in this notoriously boggy environment and we’ve put together a list of some memorable pursuits. Here are the top outdoor activities near Everglades National Park.


Everglades City is the premier jumping-off point for the most famous of Everglades outdoor activities, airboat tours. Glide over the water as your guide takes you deep into the park and uncover alligator nests, flocks of wading birds, and sweeping vistas. Sawgrass Recreation Park is another area that’s perfect for hopping on an airboat and learning about the wetlands.


From pretty pink roseate spoonbills to stark white snowy egrets, birdwatching in Everglades National Park is one of the most fascinating ways to get in touch with your natural surroundings and witness incredible wildlife.


Slogging is an outdoor activity that’s relatively unique to Everglades National Park and the surrounding areas. Join a park ranger and pull on your waterproof shoes, you’re going wading through the swamp! This is perhaps the best way to see Everglades wildlife up close and really get under the skin of the national park. Make your way through the wetlands with your guide, who will help you discover the magic of Everglades National Park.


The Ten Thousand Islands area is one of the premier locations for kayaking or canoeing in the Everglades, although there are endless places to go by watercraft. Glide through the flooded prairies and seek places you never could on foot. Several different vendors offer kayak and canoe rentals near the edge of the park.


You might picture hiking in the Everglades as tromping through swampwater, and while that can be true, it’s not always the case. Elevated platforms will help you make your way over the water on trails like the Mahogany Hammock Trail and the Bobcat Boardwalk Trail. Discover to your heart’s delight without getting your feet wet.

What major sights should I see in Everglades National Park?

The Everglades is a massive national park with well over a million acres stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to just outside Miami’s metropolitan area. With so much ground to cover, here are some of the best sights to see and places to be in Everglades National Park.

Shark Valley

The star of the show in Shark Valley is the Shark Valley Tram Tour, winding around the 15-mile loop, through the heart of the park. You can also hike up to the observation tower near the Shark Valley Visitor Center to get a bird’s-eye view of the wilderness below.

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

As the park’s main visitor center and headquarters, Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is a great place to get your bearings, learn about the environment, and talk to a park ranger if you have any questions.

Ten Thousand Islands

Ten Thousand Islands is a unique geographical feature of the park on the Gulf Coast, littered with keys. As the crown jewel of kayaking in the Everglades, this is one of the best ways to adventure through these diverse estuaries. Pitching your tent in the sand on one of these islands is a grand finale to camping in Everglades National Park.

Are there any national parks or state parks near Everglades National Park?

South Florida is a haven for protected wilderness and coastline. Whether you want to have a tropical island all to yourself, snorkel over a kaleidoscope of coral, or glide through a flooded cypress forest, it’s all at your fingertips. Round out your trip with these national and state parks near Everglades National Park.

Royal Palm State Park

Named for a beautiful grove of royal palms, the designation of this state park was just the beginning of the appreciation for the Everglades and subsequent delegation as a national park. Come here for the engaging history and unique island of palms in the middle of the Everglades.

Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve might be the Everglades’ little brother, but it’s just as ecologically important and a vital part of the ecosystem in South Florida. Although smaller in acreage than Everglades National Park, Big Cypress is a concentrated collection of the best things in the swamp. Don your waders or grab your kayak and explore the nooks and crannies of the swamp!

Dry Tortugas National Park

Ever dreamt of living on a deserted island? Now’s your chance! Dry Tortugas National Park is on an island at the far southern tip of the Florida Keys. With only 11 campsites, you’ll be one of a few visitors who have the chance to spend the night. Wait out the day trippers by snorkeling and exploring the historic fort before having the island all to yourself as the sun sets into the sea.

Biscayne National Park

Tropical paradise awaits just 20 miles offshore from Miami. From searching for lobster to snorkeling over a vibrant reef, Biscayne National Park is your ticket to utter bliss. The campsites in Biscayne are particularly scenic with lush palms and cerulean water just waiting for you to take a dip.

Where are the best places to eat near Everglades National Park?

Dining options are few and far between within Everglades National Park. The best watering hole nearby is Everglades City, on the park’s doorstep. Try fried gator and fresh seafood, plucked right from the water.

HavAnnA Cafe

A hidden gem on Chokoloskee Island, HavAnnA Cafe brings Cuban cuisine to the Everglades. With favorites like guava pastelitos, huevos rancheros, and a Cuban sandwich, this might just be the best place to dine near Everglades National Park. Sit outside in their tropical courtyard and enjoy their Caribbean eats.

Camellia Street Grill

Stone crab is Camellia Street Grill’s specialty. Serving other fresh seafood like blackened mahi and shrimp tacos, this restaurant is an institution in Everglades City. Situated on the Barron River, this joint also offers frequent live music and a beer to go with it.

Nely’s Corner

Traditional American diner meets shrimp shack, Nely’s Corner is an homage to classic yet elevated Glades fare and serves a delicious breakfast and lunch. Chow down on frog legs and fried gator for a real taste of the swamp!

What are some camping mistakes to avoid when camping near Everglades National Park?

Camping near Everglades National Park means you’ll be deep in the wilderness, surrounded by lush forest and intoxicating wetlands and their wildlife. Here are a few camping mistakes to avoid on a trip to the Everglades.

Dangerous Wildlife

As in many wilderness areas, Everglades National Park sees a myriad of dangerous wildlife. From burmese pythons to alligators and crocodiles, there are quite a few menacing animals to contend with.

While they may be beautiful, wild animals need to be respected, and you should always keep a safe distance for your protection and theirs. Never approach an alligator or crocodile, or any animal for that matter. Many times these prehistoric creatures are waiting just below the surface of the water. Keep small children and pets close.

Hurricane Season

The hurricane season peaks during Everglades National Park’s wet season. There’s a risk of a hurricane or tropical storm raining on your parade from June to November. Always be sure to check the weather and look at the storm risk in particular during this season.

Leave No Trace

One of the most important rules of a camping trip is to leave no trace. That means packing out any and all garbage and waste before you leave your campsite and while recreating in the national park. Even if something seems biodegradable, like apple cores, it can cause harm to the natural environment and wildlife. The Everglades is a pristine natural resource and wilderness that we all need to do our part to protect.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in Everglades National Park?

The Everglades are one of the most biodiverse wetlands on the planet and home to endangered species and bizarre creatures alike. Distinct mammals like the Florida panther and Florida black bear are found in these woodlands, as well as otters, manatees, armadillos, and dolphins. Bird life is one of the spectacles of Everglades National Park. Some particularly beautiful species include roseate spoonbills, bald eagles, wood storks, white ibis, and snowy egrets.

The American alligator and American crocodile coexist in the park’s swamps, the only place on Earth where they do so. Other reptiles that lurk in these waters include coral snakes, kingsnakes, geckos, iguanas, skinks, and even rattlesnakes. Endangered insects like the Bartram’s scrub hairstreak and Florida leafwing flutter about the orchids and water lilies.

Unfortunately, burmese pythons have made their way into the waterways due to careless humans who released their pets and are now considered an invasive species. These massive constrictors can grow to be over 10 feet long and can be found in the Everglades’ murky waters.

What kind of camping is available in Everglades National Park?

Camping in Everglades National Park is divided into frontcountry and backcountry options. There are only two frontcountry campground options, Flamingo Campground and Long Pine Key Campground.

Permits are required before camping in the backcountry and can be obtained from visitor centers or online. The backcountry campsites in the Everglades are the true star of the show and offer beach spots and camping in “chickees” or raised platforms. You might have to kayak or slog to get there, but you’ll be rewarded with the most scenic camping in Everglades National Park.

What are some benefits to camping outside of Everglades National Park in a private campground?

Camping near Everglades National Park in a private campground has its obvious benefits, like beautiful pools and well-manicured facilities, and benefits that are more of a happy surprise like overwater bungalows and waterfront lots.

You can expect private campgrounds to offer much more in the way of amenities than those within the national park. Laundry services, boat launches, clubhouses, restaurants, and private beaches can all be found in campgrounds like Key Largo Kampground and Sun Outdoors Islamorada. Camp in a private campground to give your camping trip near the Everglades that extra pizzazz to make it truly special.

Is there free camping in the Everglades?

All primitive backcountry sites require a permit while camping in the Everglades National Park. This means that there are no free camping sites, although the permit fee is minimal.

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