Visitors can explore Florida Bay, Whitewater Bay, and the Ten Thousand Islands area by boat, kayak, or canoe. Each area has its own unique characteristics and habitats to explore.
Boating in the waters of the Everglades is a task for the skilled. Treacherous passes cut through long banks of mud and seagrass, separating the basins of our shallow coast in Florida Bay. Other areas, expecially in the Ten Thousand Islands, have many oyster reefs and sandbars. Safely exploring this region requires the ability to "read the water", as shallow areas are not always marked, especially in the area between Flamingo and Everglades City. Knowing the draft (depth) and limits of your boat is critical, as is the ability to read and utilize nautical charts.
Boating in the Florida Bay is a task for the skilled. Treacherous passes cut through long banks of mud and seagrass that separate the shallow basins that make up Florida Bay. Safe boating requires the ability to "read the water" as well as a chart. Shallow areas are not always marked, so polarized sunglasses are key to reading the water. Visitors should also know the limits of their boat. On average, the bay is less than the 3 feet deep so knowing the draft (depth) of your boat is important.
Whitewater Bay is a large, open body of water that can prove challenging for some boaters. Strong winds and long distances can make this an arduous paddle for canoes and kayaks. Navigation can by tricky thanks to the monotony of the mangrove shoreline.
Ten Thousand Islands
The Ten Thousand Islands are a labyrinth of water and mangroves. The islands harbor an abundance of life, and the shallows serve as nursery grounds for countless marine species. Boaters should be mindful of the depth of the water, as shallows are common. Finding your way through this area of the park can be difficult, and it is strongly recommended that visitors study the according map.
Everglades National Park offers wonderful camping opportunities in both the frontcountry and backcountry. While camping is available year-round, persons visiting during the wet season should be aware of potentially difficult and uncomfortable conditions. Visitors should also be well-prepared as camping equipment is not available for rent or purchase in the park.
Two drive-in campgrounds are located within the park. The Long Pine Key Campground is located six miles from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center. The Flamingo Campground is located near the Flamingo Visitor Center on the shores of Florida Bay.
Backcountry camp sites provide the perfect opportunity to experience the vast wilderness of the Everglades. Visitors can select between a variety of ground sites, beach sites and elevated camping platforms (sometimes called chickees). Most sites are accessible by canoe, kayak or motorboat, though a few may be reached by hikers. Visitors should be aware that none of the park's backcountry sites are available by car.
A backcountry permit is required for all wilderness campsites.
Trips into the backcountry require more preparation than most. Visitors should be careful about the season in which they choose to visit. Campers should be able to navigate properly and should be prepared for inclement weater and biting insects.
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