The Everglades National Park provides information relating to travel and camping throughout the entire Park
area, including two pamphlets. One pamphlet is a colorful map of the Everglades, and the other contains tips, rules, mileage
between sites and campsite characteristics.
To contact the National Park Service or a Ranger Station, call
Everglades City Ranger Station: (941) 695-3311
Flamingo Ranger Station: (941) 695-2945
Overnight camping permit:
For overnight camping at specified sites in the Everglades backcountry, visitors need to obtain a backcountry
permit from a Ranger Station the day of the trip or the day before.
Map for navigation:
In my view, a waterproof chart, which can be purchased by mail at map stores and marine supply stores, is
essential for travel by water in the Everglades (the "waterway" or western Everglades).
There are four (4) charts which together cover the entire Everglades National Park area. You may need only
one, depending on your trip. Expect to pay about $20 per chart. The charts show the necessary detail, including depth, markers
and even (lately) GPS readings--all things which the Park Service pamphlets do not show. The charts themselves need updating
since they were produced long ago.
Campsites in the Everglades National Park are sometimes classified as chickees, ground sites and beach sites.
But I would divide the campsites in the western Everglades into four (4) types, as follows:
* Ground Sites in the backcountry
* Beach campsites (Florida Bay and the Gulf Coast)
* Chickees located on water (30 yards out)
* Chickees attached to land/mangroves
It is problematic to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of site, because there are so
many exceptional considerations. Personally, I will camp anywhere year around. There are ways to defend against the occasional
irritations in the outdoors. If night visitors such as racoons and flying friends such as mosquitos are an issue, one's choice
of a campsite is important. Yet, even in the summertime, contrary to established opinion, any site can be surprisingly free
of nature's assualts, depending on weather, time-of-day and luck.
Points of entry:
---Chokoloskee Island boat ramps
---Everglades City boat ramps
---Flamingo boat ramps
---Hell's Bay Canoe Trail near Flamingo (no motor boats)
Individual campsites and routes are described (see link) in order of navigational common sense, although
there are many routes to almost any campsite. For the sake of dicussion, I prefer viewing Everglades waterway navigation
in terms of the following classifications:
***The "inside" (the 99 mile Wilderness Waterway and nearby locations, described in William G. Truesdell's
publication, A Guide To The Wilderness Waterway Of The Everglades National Park, revised in 1985)
***The "outside" (the Gulf Coast, Ten Thousand Islands and Florida Bay)
***Hell's Bay Canoe Trail (from Ingraham Highway approaching Flamingo) to other "inside" sites
See "www.noaa.gov" or use a marine radio for the weather forecast. "Marine" weather forecasts give important
information, particularly the wind factor, which are not given necessarily on commercial radio and TV. For travel on the
water, weather is not a minor, last minute detail!
The tides impact greatly on travel, with or without a motor. Travel is usually best on high tide and preferably,
of course, in the direction of the water and the wind. Boat ramps, particularly in Chokoloskee, are nearly empty of boaters
at low tide.
"Saltwatertides.com" gives tides information for almost any location.
"Florida Sportsman" magazine publishes Florida tides in considerable detail. Its tidal information and
other information on the back pages of the magazine are helpful for waterway travel and fishing throughout Florida. Become
familiar with the tidal and fishing information of Florida Sportsman.
In addition to the tidal "corrections" in Florida Sportsman, the corrections issued by the Park Service
will help you plan your trip.
Flamingo tide corrections are given for the following locations by the Park Service:
Buoy Key High + 2:00 Low + 1:20
Snake Bight High + 1:15 Low + 0:45
East Cape Sable High - 1:39 Low - 2:45
Lostman's River High - 2:13 Low - 2:44
Chatham River High - 2:13 Low - 2:49