Deep Lake is a natural lake in the Big Cypress National Preserve in southern Florida. The preserve spans several different counties; however, Deep Lake is in Collier County. The lake was formed as a natural sinkhole, making it one of the deepest lakes in all of Florida. It’s also one of the deepest lakes south of Lake Okeechobee. Deep Lake is about 98 feet deep in most parts.
Deep Lake was also the name of the town that popped up around the lake. In 1900, John Roach and Walter Langford acquired the land to build a grapefruit grove. They cleared the land and built railroads for their enterprise. The town was connected to the Everglades via longer rail lines. The town also featured a prison. Eventually, it was depopulated. The rail lines were abandoned in the 1960s, and the prison was abandoned in 2002.
RV enthusiasts looking for wilderness can definitely find interesting hiking opportunities around Deep Lake. Some of the original tram lines still exist, as do some of the old structures of the ghost town. From Deep Lake, RVers can drive a rental RV to Naples, FL in about 45 minutes. Ft. Lauderdale is about an hour away, and Miami is about 90 minutes away.
As one of the deepest lakes in Florida and a fairly uncultivated area, Deep Lake offers several different outdoors opportunities. Fishing is one of the main attractions for many people camping with an RV in south Florida. Anglers fishing Deep Lake have caught gar, Nothern Pike, trout, sunfish, perch, different species of bass, and bluegill. Fish can be caught with fly fishing rigs, spinning rigs, or baitcasting rigs.
Deep Lake is about seven miles into the wilderness, which means that hiking enthusiasts can find some very interesting trails to travel. The tram lines are still largely in place, providing single-track and double-track hiking opportunities. The forest features cypresses, bromeliads, ferns, orchids, mangroves, and other flora native to the wetlands.
RV campers who enjoy birdwatching will find many species as they hike around the lake and the ghost town. Birdwatchers have spotted sandhill cranes, bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks, turkeys, owls, ducks, and much more.
Lastly, history buffs might enjoy just exploring the ghost town. The town still features a few concrete walls leftover from town buildings and, of course, the abandoned prison.
Camping at Deep Lake
Located at the edge of Big Cypress National Preserve, Deep Lake offers many camping opportunities within the preserve. Midway Campground, a campground within the preserve, offers access for big rigs as well as electric hookups. Campers can fish and hike near their campsites as well. Many of the lots are asphalt, and a few are gravel.
Everglades Isle is in Everglades City, which is very close to the nature preserve. The park offers full hookups, a laundry facility, and a restroom facility with showers. Big rig RV campers should be able to fit their RV rental in these campsites. Several of the sites are pull-through parking sites. The park also features a marina and a swimming pool.
Trail Lakes Campground in Ochopee offers electric and water hookups. Travelers camping with an RV can pull through at several of the parking sites. The park allows dumping sewage at a centrally-located dump station.
Outdoor Resorts of Chokoloskee in Chokoloskee offers water, sewer, and 50-amp electric. Campers can also access wifi and cable TV. Waterfront sites are available, and several can accommodate a big rig.
Exploring the Area
Deep Lake is located in the heart of the Florida Everglades; as such, many of the attractions focus on the unique nature and history of the region. The Museum of the Everglades is one such example. Located in Everglades City, the museum explores the history of Everglades City and the Everglades as a whole. The museum itself was opened in 1927 as a laundry facility. It has been since restored to its original appearance. Should you be a history enthusiast search for an RV in Collier County, FL, and keep this museum in mind.
Skunk Ape Research Center in Ochopee is an interesting stop for history and cryptozoology enthusiasts. The skunk ape is a bigfoot-like creature said to live in the swampy parts of the Deep South. The research center features supposed sightings of the skunk ape, footprints, and other stories about the myth. There are also some exhibits about real wildlife in the Everglades.
The Collier Museum at Government Center in Naples offers the history of Collier County and south Florida as a whole. The museum details the history of the area from the original Native American inhabitants through the conquistadors and into the present. Traveling exhibits often come through the museum, so the exact layout is sometimes subject to change.
Travelers who book an RV near Deep Lake can access truck stops, gas stations, and several restaurants near Big Cypress National Preserve. Interstate 75 near Deep Lake connects many of the major cities of South Florida, which means that it is well-stocked with travel necessities and amazing outdoor destinations.
Deep Lake, FL is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Deep Lake. Outdoorsy's Deep Lake RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.