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Everglades National Park Camper Van Rentals

Everglades National Park Camper Van Rentals

Spanning across more than 1.5 million acres, Everglades National Park is home to more than 360 species of birds, the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Eastern Hemisphere, and the largest sawgrass prairie in North America. Southern Florida’s diverse landscape offers plenty to see across its vast wetland environment.

Everglades National Park is located in Southern Florida, a 4-hour drive from Escape Camper Vans Orlando pickup location. A 3 – 4 Day Orlando to Everglades National Park road trip is the perfect way to explore the park. Check out that itinerary here. 

Why rent a campervan for a trip to Everglades National Park?

There’s nothing better than a smooth road trip, and Escape Camper Vans makes that possible. From a place to cook, sleep, hang out, and relax, with Escape Camper Vans, you’ll have everything you need for your Everglades National Park camping trip.

A campervan rental is better than an RV because you’ll avoid the struggles of an awkwardly large vehicle. Campervans are far more mobile and compact, so you don’t have to worry about finding RV-friendly campsites with electric and sewer hookups.

Campervans are also great because some vans are made for two travelers while others can house a family of five! An Escape Campervan rental has everything you need, including campervan accessories and extras for rent.

Preparing for an Everglades National Park Camping Trip

It’s important to do a little research and planning so your Everglades National Park camping trip flows smoothly.

Book Your Campsites

If you’re camping in Everglades National Park during the busy season, from November to April, reserve your campsites at least two weeks in advance.

If you plan to visit in the late spring through early fall, it’s easy to acquire a walk-up campsite upon arrival.

Buy Groceries Before Entering the Park

Unlike other large national parks, there are no dining accommodations or grocery stores in Everglades National Park. Plan to cook your meals throughout your trip.

The town of Homestead is about 30 minutes from the park. There are a few chain restaurants and local spots in Homestead if you’re looking to dine out during your Everglades National Park camping trip.

Fuel Up Ahead of Time

There are also no gas stations in Everglades National Park. Enter the park with a full tank of gas. The drive from Homestead to Flamingo, the most western drivable part of the park, is a 50-mile drive one-way.

Check the Everglades Website Before Your Trip

It’s always good to check the most up-to-date conditions before heading out on your trip. The Everglades National Park page has information about current road conditions, closures, and weather updates, including storms and fires. Any notable information is posted as a headline at the top of the park page.

Download Offline Maps

It’s always important to download maps before heading into the park. There is decent cell service throughout Everglades National Park but it sometimes cuts out.

When you reach the park entrance kiosk the ranger will give you a paper map of the park. This is a great reference for local information including park highlights and trails. 

Charge Your Devices

It’s always good to have an extra battery pack in your car to keep your phone and devices charged. You’ll likely take lots of photos on your Everglades camping trip so extra power is always nice.

Must-See Sights and Activities of Everglades National Park

Hike the Gumbo Limbo Trail

The Gumbo Limbo Trail is a short, flat 0.4-mile round-trip trail that passes through a dense forest of Gumbo limbo trees. The Gumbo limbo tree is one of the most wind-tolerant and fastest-growing native trees in Florida. This trail also winds through a jungle-like forest of ferns, air plants, and royal palms.

Walk the Anhinga Trail Boardwalks

The Anhinga Trail is a 0.8-mile round-trip boardwalk trail. Along the way, you’ll walk above the Everglades sawgrass marsh where wildlife prospers. Look out for alligators, turtles, and a variety of birds including anhingas, egrets, and herons. The Anhinga Trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

Hop on the Shark Valley Tram Tour

The Shark Valley Tram Tour is a two-hour narrated tour. Visitors listen as they drive through the 15-mile “River of Grass” while taking in the diverse wildlife ranging from alligators to turtles to a variety of birdlife.

Bike the Shark Valley Loop

If you’d rather explore the Shark Valley Loop on your own, then bike it! Bring your personal bike or rent one for the day at Shark Valley Everglades Bike Rentals. Bikes are available for $25 a day, and can be reserved online or are available on a first come first served from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Stop by the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is the main visitor center in Everglades National Park. It’s located at the Homestead Park entrance.

The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from April through mid-December and from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. mid-December through March. Educational displays and pamphlets are available as well as items available for purchase in the bookstore. Many popular trails start a short drive from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.

Go Bird Watching

Home to over 300 bird species, many trails throughout Everglades National Park offer spectacular opportunities for bird watching. Some popular spots include the Anhinga Trail, Paurotis Pond, Nine Mile Pond, and Snake Bight Trail.

It’s best to stop by a visitor center for the most up-to-date information about recent bird sightings.

Go Kayaking or Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are great ways to explore Everglades National Park. With islands, marshes, and mangrove forests making up the landscape and housing abundant wildlife, getting on the water is a great way to spend your time while camping in Everglades National Park.

Either pack your own kayak or canoe or rent one from a local outfitter like Flamingo Canoe and Kayak Rentals. Some outfitters, such as Everglades Adventures Kayak & Eco Tours in Everglade City, offer guided tours.

Go Fishing

Fishing is another one of the most popular activities on an Everglades National Park camping trip. Both the saltwater and freshwater offer ample fishing opportunities.

Florida fishing licenses are required to fish or possess any water species. Make sure you follow national park and Florida fishing regulations.

Join a Ranger-Led Program

Everglades National Park offers ranger-led programs year-round. Stop by a park visitor center to learn more about current programs or check the calendar online. Activities range from educational talks, sightseeing walks, boat programs, paddling trips, and slogging.

Camping in Everglades National Park

Camping in Everglades National Park is a must on your campervan road trip. There are two front country campervan-friendly campgrounds in Everglades National Park. The remaining campgrounds are wilderness campsites accessible by canoe, kayak, motorboat, or hiking.

There are also a few RV-friendly campgrounds located in Homestead, just outside the main entrance to Everglades National Park.

Where to Camp in Everglades National Park

Flamingo Campground

Flamingo Campground is a year-round campground in Everglades National Park. It’s accessible at the Homestead Park entrance. Flamingo Campground has 274 sites, cell reception, potable water, flushing toilets, and free hot showers. It has a camp store with on-site staff where they sell ice and firewood.

A non-electric campground costs $33.00 a night Monday – Thursday and $38.50 a night Friday – Sunday.

Reservations are highly recommended during the busy season from December through April. Flamingo Campground reservations can be made here.

Lone Pine Key Campground

Lone Pine Campground is a seasonal campground in Everglades National Park also accessible from the Homestead entrance. It’s open from November through May. Lone Pine Campground has 108 sites with potable water, cell phone reception, flushing toilets, and free hot showers. 

A non-electric campground costs $33.00 a night Monday – Thursday and $38.50 a night Friday – Sunday.

It’s best to make a reservation, especially during the busy season. The remaining sites are first come, first served.

Everglades National Park Camping Tips

Follow Leave No Trace Principles

An Everglades National Park camping trip is going to be fun, but it’s important to minimize your impact in the park to protect the environment and wildlife. The 7 principles of Leave No Trace provide a guideline while recreating in the park.

  • When camping in Everglades National Park, use toilets and trash cans to properly dispose of personal and human waste.
  • Fires are only permitted in grills at campsites. Always attend to fires. Only collect dead, down wood, or buy local firewood at the campground store.
  • Properly dispose of all trash and scraps in trash bins. It’s tempting to throw organic food waste into the grasses but your food is not natural to the area. Proper waste disposal helps protect wildlife so they don’t come into campsites to eat food scraps.
  • Be considerate of other campers. Drive the speed limit, keep music to a minimum, park in proper campsites, and obey quiet hours from 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Respect wildlife. Don’t feed any wildlife and give animals their space.

Prepare for Bugs

Mosquitos frequent the Everglades year round but are the worst during the summer. Make sure you reserve the Escape Camper Vans BugSoc to throw over your windows. In warm temperatures, you’ll want the windows open at night, and these easy-to-install BugSocs will keep you safe from the bugs!

Don’t forget to pack some bug spray too.

Backcountry Camping

If you plan to camp outside of the two front-country campgrounds you’ll need to reserve your backcountry campsites and obtain your wilderness permits at recreation.gov. Reservations are available 3 months out.

When is the best time to visit Everglades National Park?

Everglades National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The park has 3 separate entrances in different cities. The entrances are not interconnected so a campervan is a great way to explore Everglades National Park.

The park entrances at Homestead and Everglades City are always open. The Shark Valley Entrance at the north of the park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Best Time to Camp in Everglades National Park

While Everglades National Park is open year-round, summers are hot and humid. The best time of year to visit Everglades National Park is during the dry season in the winter when temperatures are cooler and humidity is low.

Winter

Winter is the most popular time to visit Everglades National Park. Humidity is low, it’s the dry season, and temperatures are comfortable with highs averaging in the 70s and lows in the upper 50s.

Bugs are less of a concern and wildlife sightings are popular as temperatures cool. However, while rare, it’s possible for strong cold fronts to pass through in the winter causing below-freezing temperatures.

Spring

The spring months from March through May start to heat up. High temperatures average in the 80s, lows in the 60s. Visit in the early spring for better weather and if it gets too hot, head south to Key West to relax at the beach.

Summer

Summer is the least crowded season in Everglades National Park, however, it’s also the hottest. From June to September expect highs in the 90s to 100s and lows in the upper 70s. Summer is the rainy season, so expect about 15 days of rain a month. This means more mosquitoes and humidity over 90%.

Plan hikes early to avoid the intense heat and wear mosquito nets and bug jackets to protect yourself from the insects.

Despite the challenges of summer, the rain brings much-needed water to the environment meaning a lush landscape and turtle nesting season. 

Fall

Fall temperatures start to drop with nights averaging in the 80s and lows in the upper 60s to low 70s. Following the rainy season, fall offers a more lush landscape than winter and slightly fewer crowds than the winter.

Reserve with Escape Camper Vans for your trip to Everglades National Park

Well, now you know everything you need to plan an Everglades National Park camping trip. There’s no better way to explore Everglades National Park than in a campervan. With limited amenities in Southern Florida, an Escape Campervan has everything you need to cook, chill, and explore. So book your flight into Orlando and pick up your Escape Campervan today!

Book You Everglades National Park Road Trip!

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