Everglades National Park is a place teeming with native Floridian wildlife, making it a great place to visit with your RV. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see alligators, crocodiles, turtles, herons, and maybe even manatees and dolphins, if you look to the right places.
This park is so big that there are three entrances, all located in different parts of Florida. At one of the entrances, located in Homestead, Florida, there are two campgrounds that welcome RVs.
The best time to visit is during the dry season, which usually lasts from about December to mid-May. During this time, the temperature tends to stay between the low 50s and high 70s. You also won’t have to worry as much about dealing with humidity and rain, which can be a plus. If you visit during the wet season, you’ll find that it’s much hotter and more humid, but you also might get to see more nature in action, and get to experience the tropical thunderstorms. The wet season lasts from mid-May to November, and the temperature tends to stay in the 90s.
Whenever you decide to visit, you can be guaranteed that you’ll find or see something incredible. All of the biodiversity and natural beauty of this park is sure to make your RV camping experience incredible.
Park Alerts (2)
[Caution] Numerous Aids to Navigation throughout Everglades National Park remain missing or damaged
Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting park waters. Repairs to ATONS and removal of submerged debris/uncharted wrecks will not be completed until Fall of 2019.
Boat tours and canoe rentals in Everglades City are unavailable until further notice. The National Park Service is working to resume interpretive boat tours later this year. Click the link below for other tours in the park.
There are three entrances to the park, all in different cities. You’ll find the main entrance in Homestead, Florida, right off of US. 1. This entrance will take you to the Flamingo Visitor Center. If you enter from Miami, it’ll take you to the Shark Valley area and visitor’s center. You can also enter from Everglade City, which will take you to the Gulf Coast area and visitor’s center. Driving is the most convenient and preferred method of travel when visiting the Everglades.
Traveling by car is the best way to get around. There are plenty of parking options at each entrance to the park. During the popular dry season though, you may have a hard time finding a spot to park due to so many visitors coming at a time. Coming here early in the day can help you to beat the crowd. Unless you’re headed to Long Pine Key Campground or Flamingo Campground at the Homestead Entrance, it may be best to leave the trailer or RV behind due to limited parking space.
There is no public transportation inside Everglades National Park, but different areas can be discovered in different ways by hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, and even taking a tram. Many of these places can only be explored by taking one of these alternate modes of transportation. You still have to take a vehicle to get there first though.
Campgrounds and parking in Everglades National Park
Campsites in Everglades National Park
If you’re bringing your RV to the Everglades, the best place to park it is at the Flamingo Campground just inside the main park entrance. This park is open to taking reservations, and you may want to do so because this is the one that everyone wants to get into. They have 41 RV sites to choose from, all with electric hookups. During the busiest time of the year, these spots can go pretty fast. The busy season lasts from November 20th to April 15th, so you can plan accordingly. If you’re bringing a whole group, you’ll definitely need to make reservations. In fact, it’s required that you do during the busy season. You can bring up to 15 people with you when you go.
Long Pine Campground
There are other options at the park as well, if you don’t want to prepare so far ahead of time. Long Pine Key Campground near the Homestead park entrance is a first-come, first-served campground. They have 108 sites to choose from when you take an RV, and they stay open from November 15 to April 15 for individual site camping, and from November 15 to April 30 for group camping. There is only one site for group camping here and it’s first-come, first-served as well. All sites are near restrooms, showers, a fresh water fill, and a sewer dump station, but they have no hookups.
Flamingo Campground offers hookups at all 41 of their RV sites. During the off-season months between April 16 and November 19, Flamingo Campground is also first-come, first-served. Keep in mind that flooding is common in this area during the off-season, so be sure to check the weather and make a well-informed decision.
If you’re looking for more of a refined experience, you can stay at a local RV resort less than an hour out from the Shark Valley entrance to the park in Miami. At a place like this, you’ll be sure to get full hookups, showers, bathroom, laundry facilities, and a wide array of entertainment and activities to choose from. Enjoy all the comforts while still being close enough to take in what Everglades has to offer.
If you’re looking to get a more wild and adventurous experience, leave the RV behind and go backcountry camping at the park. All you have to do is get a permit before you go and be sure to come prepared! For some of the sites, you may need a boat, kayak, or canoe to get to the spot that you want. Be sure to also stay safe by sealing all food tightly, not feeding any of the wildlife, and bringing plenty of water and bug spray. Backcountry camping is definitely a great way to experience everything that makes the Everglades so incredible.
Seasonal activities in Everglades National Park
Manatees are a pretty popular attraction in the Everglades. They graze in deeper waters and can be seen if you take a boat out to the Gulf Coast or the Flamingo areas. You can take a guided boat tour, or you can take your own boat. Be careful if you’re taking your own - boating can be fairly treacherous in some areas.
Here in the Everglades, there are so many great places to go birdwatching, and even more different species to try and spot. Some popular places to go for birding are the Anhinga Trail, Eco Pond, Mrazek Pond, Nine Mile Pond and Paurotis Pond. There are far too many types of birds to name them all, but be assured they’re all exciting and unique.
As common as alligators are to the area, you might find it difficult to not see at least one of these guys at some point during your trip. You’re more likely to see them in places where the sun shines brightly in the open, and maybe on the surface of the waters. If you take the proper precautions, you can safely observe and enjoy watching everything here in the Everglades.
Ranger Activities at Flamingo Entrance
There are lots of programs with rangers at every entrance of the park. With this entrance in particular, you have the chance to learn more about the park wildlife and crazy weather, and get up close and personal with some of the most popular and interesting animals here. The list of animals that you might get to see includes birds, manatees, alligators, crocodiles, and many more.
Air Boat Tours
If you’ve never ridden in an airboat - or maybe you just want to do it again - you have the option to do so here at Everglades National Park. There are three different companies that offer airboat tours through the everglades. Whichever you choose, you’ll be guaranteed a great time.
Just like alligators, crocodiles are very common to the area, and can be spotted laying out in the sun or wading at the surface of the water. Maybe you can test your skills at trying to spot the difference between an alligator and crocodile. Here’s a hint - crocodile’s heads are more V-shaped.
The Shark Valley Tram Tour is a fun way to really get to know the freshwater parts of the Everglades. This way, you’ll be guided through and get to learn while you get to see everything. Taking a tram tour is an incredible experience, and you might be surprised at all of the wildlife you’ll get to see out in the water.
There are many great places to go picnicking throughout the park. Just be sure not to feed any of the wildlife for your sake and their sake. If you go picnicking during the wet season, be sure to bring plenty of bug spray - bugs can be a real problem anytime, but especially in hot, humid conditions.
Ranger Activities at Shark Valley Entrance
There are many options for activities to do with rangers in this area of the park. Get to learn about all the plants, wildlife, water, and even the history of the Everglades. Go on walks, go biking, and even get to experience the Everglades at night all with guided tours.
The are all kinds of fun and exciting tours available for you to join in on here at this park. Take a tour in a canoe or kayak, learn how to fish, do an eco tour, participate in a photography tour, and much more. The possibilities are endless, and so are all the good times you’ll be having.
Canoeing & Kayaking
You can rent kayaks or canoes from Everglades Guest Services in the Flamingo area or the Everglades National Park Boat Tours in the Gulf Coast area. When you do, you can choose short kayaking trips that are only a few hours or long trips that are days long. You can also choose to go backcountry canoeing/kayaking, or take one of the more popular and easier trails such as the Nine Mile Pond or Hell’s Bay.
Boating can be a great way to get some peace and quiet while getting up close to the wildlife. Many places in the Everglades though have proven to be treacherous due to the inability to judge how deep or shallow the water is in some places. If you’re considering boating, be sure to take extra precautions.
What other place can you visit where you can go freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing only a short distance from each other? Bass, snapper, bluegill, redfish, and sea trout are all very common and abundant fish here. Be sure that you have the right permit when you go - freshwater and saltwater fishing require separate permits.
Ranger Activities at Gulf Coast Entrance
The possibilities are endless with the park ranger activities in this area of the park. Listen to them teach you all about everything that surrounds you, and get to experience it all hands-on. You can also be guided through saltwater fishing, help conduct research on native birds, and visit an island by paddling to it together as a group.
Gulf Coast Boat Tours
If you’re not sure how to go about exploring all that the Everglades has to offer, a boat tour is a fantastic place to start. There are different kinds of boat tours too, not just one. You can find these boat tours, along with all the information you’ll need on them, at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.
There are many options for camping in the Everglades. Camp at one of the many campground sites - in a tent or an RV - or go backcountry camping for a more wild feel. The choice is yours. When you go in the winter, you won’t have to worry about the heat, humidity, or bugs nearly as much as during the wet season.
The options for trails to try here are nearly endless and range from leisurely walks to strenuous treks. The Flamingo area of the park has the most trails to choose from, with Pine Island area following right behind it. Look into Anhinga Trail, Gumbo Limbo Trail, or Pahayokee Overlook when trying to decide which one to try out first.
Many of the trails are also great for biking. In the Shark Valley area, you can bike the Scenic Loop, which totals 15 miles round trip and takes 2 to 3 hours on a bicycle. You can also check out the Flamingo and Pineland area bike trails. Be sure that you’re prepared when you go - mosquitoes can be a nuisance and alligators are common to the area.
Ranger Activities at Royal Palm Entrance
Some of the ranger programs at the Royal Palm entrance are very unique. One of the nature tours, the Anhinga Amble, is even offered in German. You can take a tour to see the Nike Missile Site A/2/52, an important piece of history from the Cold War. You can also discover the Everglades at night with a starlight walk.
Centennial Triathlon Challenge
If you really think you have what it takes, you can take on the Centennial Triathlon Challenge. This triathlon consists of 100 total miles where you’ll be hiking, biking, and paddling. This challenge is readily available for anyone willing, any time of the year, and this national park is on the list of places where the challenge is available to you.
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