Everglades National Park Overview
Did you know the Everglades National Park is the 3rd largest National Park in the lower 48 states? The park was established for its abundance of diverse plant and animal species rather than its scenic views. We actually grew up not far from the park, but this was the first time we ever visited, and it’s not what you would expect. While it doesn’t have breathtaking peaks, rivers, and valleys, Everglades National Park offers visitors a lot.
Everglades National Park Campgrounds
There are two campgrounds located within the park. Both campgrounds can accommodate tents and RVs. A limited number of group sites are also available.
Long Pine Key Campground is located six miles from the Main Visitor Center. Sites are available in the Long Pine Key Campground on a first-come, first-serve basis only. There are no electric or water hookups at the sites, but the campground has a dump and potable water station. There are modern restrooms with flush toilets, a dishwashing station, and solar-powered hot-water showers. (We stayed here)
Flamingo Campground is located much further into the park near the Flamingo Visitor Center, about a 45-minute drive southwest of Long Pine Key Campground. This campground does take reservations (via Reserve America) and run by a contracted company for NPS. They offer a wide range of services, rentals, and accommodations. You can check the current offerings on this website.
Everglades National Park is home to many threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Some of the best known are the Florida Panther, American Crocodile, American Alligator, and the West Indian Manatee. If you look closely, you see a lot of wildlife. Careful with small children and pets as gators are very common along the road.
Everglades NP has a very active event schedule. The park is open every day of the year, with ranger-led and self-led programs available all year. Visit the events calendar here.
Is that smoke in the background of our photo? Yes! Don’t be alarmed if you see large plumes of smoke lingering over the park. In “most cases,” these are persecuted burns managed by NPS. Everglades NP has one of the most extensive prescribed burn programs in the NPS.
Biscayne National Park
If you’re on a journey to visit all National Parks (like us), what better to get a two-for-one deal on visits. Biscayne’s NP Visitor Center is about 20 miles from Everglades NP Visitor Center. This is a great day trip from Everglades NP. Be sure to check out our article on Biscayne National Park.
Nike Missile Base
The Nike Missile Site HM-69 is a former Nike-Hercules missile base west of Homestead, Florida, now designated as a historic site. It’s on Long Pine Key Lane and has static displays you can see. Check here for the schedule.
Robert is Here Fruit Stand
This is a family-run fruit stand in Homestead, Florida. They specialize in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables, which are mostly grown at their farms. Although it began as a simple fruit stand on the road’s side, Robert is Here has developed into a full-fledged tourist destination with an Animal Farm, Play Area, and picnic tables. The smoothies are the best!
Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue
The facility takes hurt and injured wildlife, rehabilitates it, and releases it back to the wild when possible. Most of the animals at the Everglades Outpost have been confiscated from illegal, traumatic, and abusive situations. You can get pretty up close and personal with the animals at this park if you desire.
For many years (as somewhat locals), we overlooked Everglades National Park as a must-see destination. The park is not all swamplands and mosquitos but an exciting place to learn about Florida’s unique wildlife and ecosystem. We were able to see more wildlife at this park compared to several other National Parks combined. It’s an excellent destination for RV’ers in the wintertime as temperatures are manageable, and it’s outside of hurricane season for the area. We spent a week in our spot and managed well with our generators and would go back without hesitation. Be sure to add Everglades to your must-see list if in the area.