Canoe Camping in the Florida Everglades

December 13, 2016 6:48 am

KP and I just got got back from a long weekend canoe camping in the mangrove swamps of the Florida Everglades. We rented a canoe and set out on the Hells Bay Canoe trail for three nights. You can’t go on land in this part of the Everglades, so the park has built a handful of docks for camping called chickees.

In case you’d like to do a similar trip, we put our canoe in the water here.

The road to Everglades National Park.

We arrived on Thursday evening and spent the night at the Long Pine Key drive-up campground near the entrance to the park.

On Friday morning we drove to the appropriately painted Flamingo Visitor Center to pick up our canoe and permits.

Our three day canoe trip started here, at the Hell's Bay boat launch. On the first day we paddled to Pearl Bay.

The first few hours of this paddle go through an incredibly confusing and narrow maze of mangroves.

It took a little while to get the hang of it.

A rare passage of open water.

The Pearl Bay chickee, where we slept on the first night.

Our neighbors caught their dinner.

This guy swam right up to us. We also saw a few dolphins and lots of birds.

On Saturday we paddled from Pearl Bay to Lane Bay. Here we are taking a little break at the chickee in Hells Bay. The wind was pretty strong and the trail from here to Lane Bay is not marked at all.

Our setup at Lane Bay. This chickee only has space for one tent so we were all by ourselves.

For the last night we retraced our steps to Hells Bay and stayed on the chickee there. 

Exploring at sunset.

The Hells Bay chickee which we shared with a couple of fishermen.

There was no breeze on this night and the mosquitoes were fierce. This guy was braver than we were.

Hiding from the bugs in the tent.

We got up before sunrise on Monday to paddle back to the boat launch.

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