Summer Everglades National Park RV Vacation

Though this may sound like an inopportune time to visit the Everglades, there are several advantages to exploring this vast wetlands National Park in summer.

Everglades Wet Season – June – November

With plenty of room to explore without crowds, the Everglades are the perfect adventure during the wet season, when frequent rains and heat scare many people off. If you come prepared with sunscreen and a hat, you’re likely to see scores of alligators going about their business, making the Everglades thrilling for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers looking for the perfect picture. Transition periods – like late April to early May are always a busy time. Tours are popular on Memorial Day weekend. Plus, alligators experience an active mating period in the spring, and with summer months just ahead, the wetland is preparing to create new habitat for wildlife to thrive. In late August, you can actually hear the cries of new baby alligators getting ready to roam. In the Everglades, water levels change dramatically from month to month, creating unique differences between the wet and dry seasons.

Alligator in the Everglades

Alligator in the Everglades

Facts about the Everglades:

The Everglades is a natural environment that is truly unique to South Florida. Here are some interesting facts about it:

  • The Everglades is located on more than eight million acres in Florida, originating near Orlando and following the Kissimmee River down to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state.
  • The Everglades is the single-largest subtropical wetland ecosystem on the continent and is home to 36 threatened or protected species including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee, and supports 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles.(Wikipedia).
  • Often thought of as a large swamp, the Everglades is actually a complex mix of landscapes including rivers, marshes, forests and marine environments.
  • More than seven million people – or one-third of the state – depend on the Everglades for their water supply.
  • The park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere.

Park Entrances

Everglades National Park has three entrances in Homestead, Miami, and Everglades City. Please note, these entrances do NOT interconnect.

Homestead Entrances

  • Main Entrance: This entrance connects visitors to the Royal Palm and Flamingo areas of the park. It is open 24 hours a day. There is an entrance fee collected. If you are interested in taking a boat tour or renting a canoe, kayak or other boat at Flamingo, a separate fee applies.

Miami Entrance

  • Shark Valley Area: Open daily from 8:30AM to 6:00PM. There is an entrance fee collected at the gate. Separate fees apply for tram tours and bike rentals. The park remains open 24 hours, but vehicles do not have access after 6:00PM.

Everglades City / Naples Entrance

  • Gulf Coast Area: Open 24 hours a day. There is no entrance fee collected at this entrance; however there are fees for boat tours and canoe rentals.

The above are all National Park locations. In addition, there is another attraction west of Ft. Lauderdale at Griffin Rd and US 27. Everglades Holiday Park features gator shows, airboat rides and fantastic bird watching. In this park, you also see creatures in their natural habitat. The park is a working rescue operation and an educational park that is raising awareness of the importance of conserving natural wetlands.

Places to Camp in the Everglades:

Long Pine Key Campground, near Florida City near the Homestead entrance to the Everglades. It features 108 individual drive-up sites for tents and RVs available first-come, first-serve for $20/night. Reservations are not accepted for individual sites. However, they are closed during the wet season so save this one for November through April.

Flamingo Campground: Camping on the edge of Florida Bay offers spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Camping is available year-round!  No reservations are needed during off-season months between April 16 – Nov.19. During the summer wet season, portions of the campgrounds may be closed due to flooding.

RV Sites: Camping fees at the 41 sites in T-Loop in Flamingo with electrical hookup are $30.00 a night per site or $15.00 per site for Senior and Access pass holders. (This fee applies to anyone using these sites, regardless of whether they use electric or not.)

Amenities and Activities:
Flamingo campground is in a big open field with few trees and strong breezes can be felt from winds coming from Florida Bay. The campground features solar-heated showers, two dump stations, picnic tables, grills, and an amphitheater for winter programs.

Flamingo has several hiking trails and canoe trails, and opportunities for saltwater fishing are plentiful. More than 300 species of birds spend the winter in Everglades National Park, and there is ample opportunity to see crocodiles and manatees in the marina area where you can find services, boat rentals, tour boats and the Buttonwood Café.

Bring your kayak or canoe to explore backcountry trails, and small motorboats (5 HP and under) are allowed in many areas.

Flamingo Campground is located 38 miles south after entering the main park entrance in Homestead.

If you prefer to camp outside the park grounds, there are several other RV campgrounds nearby in Homestead and Florida City.

Check out Miami while you’re here:

Driving north from the Everglades, you are only about an hour away from Miami where you will want to take advantage of some extensive sightseeing. Visit Monkey Jungle, where humans are caged and monkeys run wild. Or if you are in the humor for more culture, tour Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (an Italian palace said to have been constructed using real, imported Italian marble) take a walking tour to plenty of art museums. Dine along South Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove and spend the day where Crockett and Tubbs made Miami famous.

And, El Monte RV’s Miami location is right nearby, about 10 miles south of Coral Gables, if you need to rent an RV for your Everglades adventure!

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