Everglades National Park
Guide

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Introduction

Everglades National Park is a place teeming with native Floridian wildlife, making it a scenic and exciting place to visit with your RV. If you’re lucky, during your visit, you’ll get to see alligators, crocodiles, turtles, herons, and maybe even manatees and dolphins.
The park has so much landmass that there are three entrances, all located in different parts of Florida. At one of the entrances, located in Homestead, Florida, two campgrounds 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. While you are in the area, take time to visit nearby Long Key State Park and Curry Hammock State Park. Whatever time of year that you decide to visit, you will find something to see or do that's incredible.

Park Alerts (3)

[Information] Trails in the Flamingo Area Not Being Maintained

Caution: The following trails in the Flamingo area are not being maintained and may be in poor condition; Snake Bight, Rowdy Bend, Bear Lake, Christian Point, Bayshore Loop, and Coastal Prairie. Check at park visitor centers for updates.

[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.

[Information] New Concessioner At EVER's Gulf Coast [+ Info]

The National Park Service has awarded a 1-year temporary concessions contract to provide interpretive boat tours and equipment rentals at Everglades National Park's Gulf Coast. Boat tours will begin July 1st. Click the link below for more info.

RV Rentals in Everglades National Park

Transportation in Everglades National Park

Driving

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 Center. You can also enter the park from Everglade City, which will take you to the Gulf Coast area and Visitor Center. Driving is the most convenient and preferred method of travel when visiting the Everglades.

Parking

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. Coming to the park 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.

Public Transport

There is no public transportation inside Everglades National Park, but you can discover different areas of the park in a variety of ways by hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, and even taking a tram. Many of these places are only explorable by choosing one of these alternate modes of transportation.

Campgrounds and parking in Everglades National Park

Campsites in Everglades National Park

Reservations camping

Hollywood KOA

Stay in a vacation bungalow or an attractive 50-amp, 65-foot pull-through site close to the beaches and attractions of Miami and Fort Lauderdale during your stay at the Hollywood KOA. Restrooms and laundry facilities are on-site, along with firewood available for purchase. There’s no better place to relax along the Atlantic coast than at the Hollywood KOA. During the day, slap on the sunblock and bask in the warm rays of sunshine at a nearby beach. End your day underneath the stars by the warmth of the campfire.

Davie / Ft. Lauderdale KOA

There aren’t many spots that give you a better mix of relaxation and adventure than this beautiful KOA in Davie, Florida. Whether you want to head out west to see the majesty of the Everglades or east to explore the beautiful beaches of Florida, you’re in the perfect place. You can even head down south to Miami if you really want to party. A stay at Davie / Ft. Lauderdale KOA is a true choose-your-own-adventure trip. Plus, you get great amenities like Wi-Fi, 50-amp hookups, a pool, and sites for RVs up to 50 feet.

First-come first-served

Long Pine Campground

Long Pine Key Campground, near the Homestead Park Entrance, is a first-come, first-served campground. This campground has 108 RV sites to choose from, and it stays open from November 15 to April 15 for individual site camping, and from November 15 to April 30 for group camping. There is one group campsite that operates on a first-come, first-served basis. All sites are near restrooms, showers, a freshwater fill station. There is a sewer dump station, but no hookups.

Flamingo Campground

Flamingo Campground offers hookups at all 41 of its RV sites. During the off-season months between April 16 and November 19, Flamingo Campground is a first-come, first-served campground. Keep in mind that flooding is frequent in this area during the off-season, so be sure to check the weather and make a well-informed decision before securing your spot for the night.

Alternate camping

Backcountry Camping

If you’re looking to get a more wild and adventurous experience, leave the RV behind and go backcountry camping at Everglades National Park. All you have to do is get a permit before you go and be sure to head out prepared! To access some of the sites, you may need a boat, kayak, or canoe. 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 a great way to experience everything that makes the Everglades so incredible.

Private Campgrounds

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 in Miami. By staying at a full-amenity RV park, you’ll be sure to get full hookups, showers, flushable restrooms, 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 National Park has to offer.

Seasonal activities in Everglades National Park

Spring

Air Boat Tours

If you’ve never ridden in an airboat—or maybe you just want to ride in one again—you have the option to do so here at Everglades National Park. Three different companies offer airboat tours in Everglades National Park. An airboat excursion takes visitors across the water, quickly, traversing a large portion of the park. Whichever company you choose to take a tour with, you’ll be guaranteed a great time.

Ranger Activities at Flamingo Entrance

Every area of the park holds ranger-led activities, but in the Flamingo area, you have the chance to learn more about the park wildlife, crazy weather, and you can get up close and personal with some of the most popular animals that live in Everglades National Park. Bring your camera and look out for animals like birds, manatees, alligators, crocodiles, and many more.

Alligator Viewing

Alligators are easy to spot in the Everglades, and most people will have the opportunity to see more than one alligator at some point during their trip. You’re more likely to see these reptiles in the places where the sun shines brightly. Alligators tend to sun themselves on the surface of the water or in open spaces. If you take the proper precautions, you can safely observe alligators from a distance here in the Everglades.

Bird Watching

In the Everglades, there are so many great places to go birdwatching, and even more bird 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. Before heading to the park, pick up an Everglades bird guide to help facilitate your birdwatching adventure.

Manatee Viewing

Looking for manatees is a popular activity in the Everglades. Manatees, or sea cows, graze in the deeper waters and can often be seen if you take a boat out to either the Gulf Coast or the Flamingo areas. You can take a guided boat tour, or you can take your own boat. Be cautious as waters in the area can be quite treacherous.

Summer

Ranger Activities at Shark Valley Entrance

There are many options for ranger-led activities in the Shark Valley area of the park. When you attend a ranger-led class, you get the opportunity to learn about all the plants, wildlife, water, and the history of the Everglades. If you prefer a more active experience, consider signing up to take a guided walk or guided bike ride with the rangers, and learn about the park while you work up a little sweat.

Picnicking

Everglades National Park's beautiful landscape has numerous locations for outdoor picnics. When you plan a picnic, be sure not to feed any of the wildlife for both the safety of the animals as well as your own. 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. No one likes a mosquito sandwich!

Tram Tours

The Shark Valley Tram Tour is a fun way to really get to know the freshwater sections of the Everglades. On a Tram Tour, you get to relax and learn at the same time. 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.

Guided Tours

There are a variety of fun and exciting tours available for you to join in on at Everglades National Park. Take a tour in a canoe or kayak, learn how to fish, take an eco-tour, or participate in a photography tour. Because the park is so large, and it is a popular tourist destination, the park staff and the private tour companies aim to create tours for almost every interest.

Crocodile Viewing

Just like alligators, crocodiles are common species in the Everglades. Crocodiles can be spotted lying out in the sun or wading near the surface of the water. When you see a quick-moving reptile, test your skills at trying to spot the difference between an alligator and crocodile. Here’s a hint: Crocodiles' heads are more V-shaped than an alligator's head.

Fall

Canoeing and Kayaking

Do you like to paddle? If you want a fun water activity, you can rent kayaks or canoes from Everglades Guest Services in the Flamingo area or also rent boats from 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 you can take longer trips that are days long. You can also choose to go backcountry canoeing and kayaking, or you can take one of the more popular and less strenuous trails such as the Nine Mile Pond or Hell’s Bay routes.

Ranger Activities at Gulf Coast Entrance

The possibilities are endless with the park ranger-led activities in the Gulf Coast area of the park. You can listen to the rangers teach about the natural ecosystem that surrounds the park, while you get to experience this unique eco-system 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.

Boat Touring

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 many different kinds of boat tours to choose from, depending on the length and type of tour you prefer. You can find these boat tours, along with all the information you’ll need, at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

Fishing

Anglers, rejoice! Everglades National Park is a fishing paradise because you can participate in both freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing only a short distance apart from one another. Bass, snapper, bluegill, redfish, and sea trout are all very common and abundant in the park. Before you head to the water, ensure that you have the correct fishing permit. Prepare yourself by understanding the regulations for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, as they have separate licenses and rules.

Boating

Boating can be a great way to get some peace and quiet while simultaneously getting up close, but not too close, to the wildlife in Everglades National Park. Guests are reminded to be cautious boating because several places in the Everglades are treacherous because of a boater's inability to judge the depth of the water. If you’re considering boating, be sure to take extra precautions by mapping out your boating route and keeping a safe distance from the wildlife.

Winter

Camping

There are many options for camping in Everglades National Park. 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. Choose your Everglades adventure—you never know where your camping adventures will take you.

Hiking

The options for hiking at Everglades National Park 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 the Pine Island area following right behind the Flamingo area with the second most traversable trails in the park. If you are staying in the Pine Island area, look into Anhinga Trail, Gumbo Limbo Trail, or Pahayokee Overlook.

Bicycling

Many of the trails in Everglades National Park are great for biking. In the Shark Valley area, you can bike the Scenic Loop, which totals 15 miles round trip and takes two to three hours on a bicycle. You can also check out the Flamingo and Pineland area bike trails. Be sure that you’re prepared for anything when you go. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance and alligators are common to the area.

Centennial Triathlon Challenge

If you 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 on your own. 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. Triathletes, what are you waiting for? Make your RV trip one to remember by completing a triathlon during your vacation.

Ranger Activities at Royal Palm Entrance

Some of the ranger-led programs at the Royal Palm area of the park are unique. One of the nature tours, the Anhinga Amble, is a wildlife presentation given in both English and 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 ranger-led starlight walk.

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