Everglades National Park offers one of the best camping and hiking spaces in the country. The close proximity to wildlife makes it essential to plan your camping trip well.
Everglades National Park is open year-round for visitors and campers. But it is best to avoid going camping from June to November as it rains during these months. December to February is the best time to go camping due to the pleasant weather.
The national park has two clusters of campsites. The front country and the backcountry are the two clusters. The front country is closer to the city, while the backcountry is marshy coast leading to the Gulf of Mexico.
The front country has two campsites- Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. These campsites are drive-in sites so you can take an RV as well. You need to make prior reservations when going camping in the front country since it tends to get filled up during the holiday seasons and weekends.
There are many camping grounds in the backcountry. Few grounds have a functioning and maintained restrooms. You need to obtain permits, which grant a 14 day stay, from the Gulf Coast Visitor Contact Station or the Flamingo Visitor Center, if you wish to go to the backcountry. The backcountry is for the campers who are looking to leave the city life far behind and embrace the wilderness. You need to be well equipped and careful when in the Backcountry since you might get lost or encounter aggressive wildlife.
Scope the Area
Before you start your camping journey, you should get a bird’s eye view of the national park. You can charter a helicopter and fly over the Everglades. By taking the flight over the campgrounds and various spots you want to go hiking, you can make a mental map that can help you when you go camping.
To be ready for camping in the front country- you can take your RV, pack up sufficient food, store enough water and carry some insect repellents. But if you want to camp with a tent in the front country, you will need to get your own equipment since they do not sell any camping supplies in the national park.
When camping in the backcountry, you must carry
- A map of the park
- Equipment to set up your tent
- Tent and accessories
- Sleeping bag and camping pillow
- Flashlight or headlamps with extra batteries
- Lanterns (with extra fuel or batteries depending on the type of lantern)
- Matches or lighter or Firestarter
- Extra Cords
- Duct tape
- Camping ax or saw
- Water bottles with water
- Cooking utensil (knife, chopping board, frying pan)
- Cutlery (plates, forks, and spoons)
- Food (packaged and pre-prepped)
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer or biodegradable soap
These are the basics that one must pack when going camping, you can pack more things depending on what you feel are essential.
When you go camping in a place where wildlife is very close you need to be cautious. Do not leave food outside as they attract wildlife. No matter how cute the wildlife looks, do not feed them. Try to return to camp by nightfall. If you stray far from camp, head back well in advance as it might get dark very fast. Go camping in groups to ensure that you are not stuck in the wilderness alone. Have valid permits when you go camping, or you might have to worry about jail instead of alligators.
Plan your camping trip to the Everglades National Park carefully and enjoy a unique camping experience.