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.

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The road to Everglades National Park.

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

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

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

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

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

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A rare passage of open water.

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

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Our neighbors caught their dinner.

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

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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.

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

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

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Exploring at sunset.

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

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

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Hiding from the bugs in the tent.

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

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